Bill Simmons announced on Wednesday that he is going to be launching the Book of Basketball 2.0 podcast, to function as an audio version of a sequel or addendum to his 2009 New York Times bestselling book. According to Simmons in a Hollywood Reporter story, the pod will feature interviews (with people like Steve Kerr), game film review with former players like Steve Nash, and a re-ranked pyramid. Like many Ringer projects, it's sponsored by State Farm.
It's a solid bet that Simmons will figure out a way to monetize this content twice. It would make a lot of sense to release this audio, then have it transcribed, whittle it down into readable prose, and re-release the Book of Basketball in print. Lewis Kay, head of The Ringer's PR firm Kovert Creative, declined to make Simmons or Ringer President & COO Geoff Chow available to comment on this theory.
Nevertheless, the double-dip is logical given Ringer's foray into the publishing business. In August they announced they were partnering with Grand Central Publishing; Shea Serrano's Movies (And Other Things) was released this month and shot to number 1 on the Times' best-seller list in the Advice, How-To, and Miscellaneous category. Future books include a gambling guide by Cousin Sal and a book about Jeopardy by Claire McNear.
As an aside, The Ringer is in a bit of flux these days. The staff announced unionization in August and has said their first bargaining session is this week. In the last couple months, a number of employees have announced they were leaving the media network: College basketball personalities Tate Frazier and Mark Titus, music writer Lindsay Zoladz, director Stephanie Snowden, and NBA/food writer Danny Chau. They surely all had different individual circumstances, but it's nonetheless a sign that Simmons' site is transitioning.
It's crazy to think about, but in about six or seven months The Ringer will have been around for as long as Simmons steered Grantland. It will be interesting to see how the content and business continue to evolve.