March 26, 2008, 12:00 AM

Barnes & Noble site sorts information into ‘how-to’ guides

Consumers seeking guidance on activities from playing poker to investing can turn to Quamut.com, an informational web site from Barnes & Noble that aims to provide clear-eyed directions in the form of a chart. The site will be supported by display ads.

Mark Brohan

Research Director

Barnes & Noble Inc. has launched Quamut.com, a how-to web site that presents information in the form of printable guides that offer what the company terms credible information in a concise format. Consumers seeking guidance on activities ranging from playing poker to investing can turn to Quamut.com (pronounced “KWAH-mut”) for directions in chart form. The name is derived from Latin, says Barnes & Noble, No. 33 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide.

The guides are commissioned by Quamut editors, written by subject matter experts, fact-checked, edited, enhanced with illustrations and photographs, and produced in a format designed for easy reading, the company says. The guides, which number more than 1,000 to date, are available free online in HTML format, for sale in chart form online as PDF files for $2.95, and in laminated printed format at Barnes & Noble stores for $5.95.

While Barnes & Noble intends to distinguish the site from other online sources of information that are buried within ad content, the site will be supported by display advertising and Google AdSense, in addition to revenue from the PDF and laminated files. “The advertising-driven business model allows us to give content away for free online,” says Dan Weiss, publisher and managing director of Quamut.com. “Quamut.com positions Barnes & Noble as a leader in digital how-to publishing.”

Quamuts are classified under the following five categories: house & home; hobbies & leisure; money & business; computers & technology; and mind & body.

A sister site, called Q-Wiki, at wiki.quamut.com, enables members of the community to contribute content through a wiki platform.

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