After a year of research and development, we are launching the first wave of ReadTheSpirit 3.0 with new online features that will grow our readership dramatically. Founded in 2007 and extensively redesigned in 2010, this third expansion of RTS makes use of cutting-edge publishing principles. There’s so much to enjoy (and further waves of 3.0 are coming in November) that this news article will introduce you to just a few of our new features.
For the first time in our five-year history, ReadTheSpirit (RTS) is launching our own online bookstore. The first thing you will notice is that we are only featuring RTS-published authors in the launch of the bookstore. We will add more authors and their recommended books in our ongoing expansion of the bookstore into 2013. We have several features coming by early 2013 to help you and your small group make smart choices from books we select and highlight.
At first glance, today, the bookstore’s design looks remarkably simple—intentionally so. However, in the deep background of this bookstore is a sophisticated new Web architecture designed to welcome more readers, subject by subject and author by author. We will tell you more about that behind-the-scenes design next week. For now, simply look around the bookstore and explore its features. Email us with questions or comments at [email protected]
WE ARE CAREGIVERS.COM
For more than a year, regular RTS readers have enjoyed our special emphasis on articles and books to help America’s 65 million caregivers. As our nation ages, keeping caregivers’ spirits healthy is a growing need in every community. In fact, church leaders who are working with RTS tell us that reaching out to caregivers should be the next big “church growth” campaign.
Today, RTS is launching the first of our new “themed portals” called simply: WeAreCaregivers.com These remarkable authors and new books range from coping with grief and fighting the good fight against cancer to combating bullying among the young. Next week, we will point out some of the deeper features in this innovative project. For now, please explore WeAreCaregivers.com on your own. In your visit, please sign up for the new, short, once-a-week Caregivers newsletter. Look at the Godsigns photos that readers are sending us already this morning. And don’t miss Dr. Benjamin Pratt’s new invitations for caregivers to share ideas with us.
RADICAL SIMPLICITY IN REACHING READERS
In research and development, detailed interviews with readers and finally user testing, our design team (headed by RTS Publisher John Hile) focused on radical simplicity in making ReadTheSpirit a distinctive online destination. Overall, we regard our array of websites as a “magazine” and our staffers regard our work as journalism. As journalists, we strive for accuracy, balance and a diverse range of newsy stories. But compare the look and feel of WeAreCaregivers,com with any existing magazine or newspaper website. One word comes to mind: Wow!
In desperately trying to increase advertising revenue, traditional magazines and newspapers have overloaded their websites with so many advertisements that reading a story feels like swatting away a cloud of gnats. RTS supports itself through the sale of books and other digital media. You won’t find annoying advertisements flashing at you from every page. Radical simplicity is key to our entire RTS 3.0 designs. Is this a dangerously narrow business plan? We don’t think so. While traditional magazines and newspapers continue to collapse, we are thriving.
WHERE IS MY FAVORITE READTHESPIRIT STUFF?
Don’t worry! It’s all here! By the end of November, the entire online magazine will move into these 3.0 designs. But nothing is disappearing! Our series of signature author interviews, a beloved feature at RTS since 2007, will resume on October 29 and continue every week, as always. On the horizon: Marcus Borg returns to visit ReadTheSpirit on October 29 and other famous authors will follow.
The OurValues project, produced by University of Michigan scholar Wayne Baker, continues uninterrupted. This week, Dr. Baker reports on some new research he conducted at the request of TIME magazine into American attitudes toward the value of “Fairness.”
The Spiritual Wanderer, Rodney Curtis, continues with his frequent columns. As a cancer survivor, he also is playing a role in the new WeAreCaregivers portal. See his newest column, today, for more on that.
Stephanie Fenton’s very popular Holidays & Festivals column continues with new stories arriving throughout this week.
WHAT CAN YOU DO TO HELP US?
Tell friends! Throughout our new sections, every page has easy social-media sharing links. Click to Facebook when you enjoy a page and tell others. Remember that most of the stories in ReadTheSpirit are licensed so that you can freely share the content with others (as long as you give us credit). So, for example, you can feel free to share materials with your small group to spark a spirited discussion. Or, you can feel free to quote from our columns in your own newsletter, sermon, class lesson or website.
Please be a good friend to the ReadTheSpirit family of authors, journalists, contributing writers and readers. We all are doing our best to bring important, inspiring materials to a world that desperately needs our help—in an era when most magazines and small publishing houses are endangered. You’re doing a good deed in spreading today’s news.
Please help us to reach a wider audience
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Originally published at readthespirit.com, an online magazine covering religion and cultural diversity.