New York Times takes a step back in time with a print-only extract from new slavery novel

With the newspaper tide flowing relentlessly toward the world of online news and features, the New York Times took a big step in the other direction this week.

Author Colson Whitehead

The Sunday edition included a 12-page print-only section - not available online - with a lengthy excerpt from a new novel by Colson Whitehead, The Underground Railroad.

The hardback novel published this week is” “terrifying and relentless” , said the Times. It tells the story of Cora, a slave fleeing a Georgia plantation.One unusual twist : the Underground Railroad, the network of safe houses and clandestine routes which brought so many slaves to safety, is reimagined as an an actual railroad with “an improbable system” of tunnels. and rails

The broadsheet section in the Times- headed There Was No Other Way - and said to be part of the the New York Times magazine , was accompanied by a publisher’s statement, “We are proud to bring you this important work, the first in what will an occasional series of long excerpts from new and forthcoming books, edited and presented by the New York Times Magazine in the form of special print-only sections.”

This week’s section is an ad-free zone apart from a full-page ad on the back for a new show The Front Page.

The NYT says the section is “a special ink-on-paper product, one not available in digital format.

“it is finite and tactile; to read it you must have gotten your hands on the Sunday paper,” says the Times. So don’t go racing to your computer to read it.

Get The Drum Newsletter

Build your marketing knowledge by choosing from daily news bulletins or a weekly special.