New York Times launches ebook programs with Byliner and Vook

The New York Times (s nyt)is launching an ebook publishing program with the e-singles startup Byliner, and will also publish curated article selections called “TimesFiles” with publishing platform Vook. The new partnerships mark the paper’s first real foray into ebook publishing.

Through the partnership with Byliner, the NYT “will co-publish up to a dozen New York Times/Byliner Originals in the next year featuring narratives in areas in which The Times has reporting expertise including culture, sports, business, science and health.” They will be available for sale at Byliner, through ebook retailers and at NYTStore.com. The first is “Snow Fall: The Avalanche at Tunnel Creek” by John Branch, which expands on an article that will run in the newspaper on Monday, December 17. The e-single will cost $2.99. Upcoming e-singles will be written by the NYT’s Washington bureau chief David Leonhardt and “Common Sense” columnist James B. Stewart.

The Rise of AppleThrough the partnership with Vook, the New York Times will publish “TimesFiles” — “curated selections of articles” from the paper’s archives “assembled into compelling narratives about a particular topic or event.” 25 of them will be available on December 17 through Kindle (s AMZN), Nook (s BKS), the iBookstore (s AAPL) and NYTStore.com. They start at $1.99 and include “The Rise of Apple” (left), “The Fall of the Berlin Wall” and “The Life and Films of John Hughes.”

Byliner and Vook have both had a busy few weeks. Byliner announced Wednesday that Ingram will distribute its books in print. It also recently launched an experimental subscription program and a partnership with Esquire. Vook, meanwhile, has launched partnerships with Newsweek/Daily Beast and the Wall Street Journal (s NWS).

While many other newspapers have started publishing original ebooks — including the Washington Post (s WAPO) (through a partnership with Diversion Books), the Boston Globe and, as of Monday, USA Today, the NYT has been slower. This year, though, e-singles focused on longform journalism like the ones that the NYT will publish with Byliner have begun hitting the NYT’s own ebook bestseller list. In August, for example, the Minneapolis Star Tribune published “In the Footsteps of Little Crow,” a narrative of the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862, and it hit #13 on the NYT’s ebook nonfiction list. And a couple of Byliner titles, including “Lifeboat No. 8” by Elizabeth Kaye “After Friday Night Lights” by Buzz Bissinger, also made the ebook nonfiction list at the same time in April, at spots #1 and #3. As the format has become more popular, the NYT has clearly decided that the time is right to enter the market.