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'More than just books': Simon & Schuster launches video classes

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(Read caption) Writers David B. Agus and Tosha Silver are two of the authors who will be teaching online classes.

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Did you recently finish a health or finance nonfiction book and want to learn more? Simon & Schuster wants to teach you.

The publisher has started a program titled SimonSays in which authors teach video courses about their topics, according to the New York Times. The three authors kicking off the program are David B. Agus of “The End of Illness,” “Life by the Cup” self-help author Zhena Muzyka, and Tosha Silver, who wrote the book “Outrageous Openness," which focuses on spiritual suggestions. The writers are charging various prices for viewers to enroll in their course and between 12 and 15 more classes will debut this year.

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“Today’s consumers have made it plain that they want and expect more from authors than just books,” Simon & Schuster president and chief executive Carolyn Reidy said in a statement. “This initiative is also another way for us to expand what Simon & Schuster can provide to our authors, building audiences for their books and creating new revenue streams.” 

And Simon & Schuster executive vice president and chief marketing officer Liz Perl told the NYT that the process could even work in reverse. “The videos might lead the way to a book [for the teacher],” she said, with someone who has not yet been published teaching a class.

On the SimonSays website, consumers can now enroll in Agus, Muzyka, and Silver’s classes. The prices range from Agus’s at $25 to Silver’s at $85. Course are also various lengths. Agus’s is listed on the website at 70 minutes, Muzyka’s at 80 minutes, and Silver’s 90 minutes. All offer live question-and-answer sessions with the authors and some supply course workbooks.