The Future of the Ebook

Barry Diller and Scott Rubin Buddy up with the Atavist on Ebooks

But will there be synergy with About.com?
 Barry Diller and Scott Rubin Buddy up with the Atavist on Ebooks

Killer Diller. (Photo: flickr.com/techcrunch, by Dave Getzschman)

Apparently not content to disrupt the television business, Barry Diller is up to yet another new project. The New York Times reports that Mr. Diller is partnering with producer Scott Rubin and publishing vet Frances Coady to launch Brightline, a new venture–in the publishing business.

So more more like an adventure, really. 

The Times reports that the fledging imprint will focus first on ebooks, then expand (at some point, somehow; the details are scant) into print distribution. But rather than starting from square one, Brightline will be partnering with Brooklyn-baked ebook startup The Atavist, which has already worked through headache-inducing details like the content management system and the marketing basics.

The Atavist, meanwhile, gets the benefit of proximity to Misters Diller and Rubin, and heaven knows such a halo effect is not to be underestimated when recruiting big-name authors.

The partnership is a savvy move for both parties, as it’s pretty much going to take an armored convoy to get through the Amazon-controlled waters of the ebook market. The ecommerce juggernaut boasts, according to the Times‘ numbers, around 65 percent of ebook sales.

Besides the partnership, though, there’s still a lot of unknowns on the matter of Brightline. The company is open to hefty advances, but how the revenue share afterward works is unclear. The Times doesn’t reveal any hints about editorial direction, either.

However, Mr. Rubin wanted to make one thing clear, namely that this is not an expensive way to secretly source new movie ideas so don’t expect an automatic lucrative movie deal:

No author has yet been signed by Brightline, and Mr. Rudin asserted that the new enterprise was not an attempt to get an early look at books he might make into films.

“I already have access to all the books I need.”

Can we hold out hope for a line of Diller Thrillers?

Follow Kelly Faircloth on Twitter or via RSS. kfaircloth@observer.com

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