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The Future of the Ebook

The Future of the Ebook

Plympton Acquires Serial Fiction Pioneer DailyLit

Ms. Lee and Ms. Love. (Photos: Plympton)

Good news for anyone who likes their fiction doled out chapter by chapter, Charles-Dickens style: Today at O’Reilly’s TOC Conference (livestream here for the interested) Plympton, the serial fiction studio cofounded by former New York Times reporter Jennifer 8 Lee and novelist Yael Goldstein Love, announced that they’re “joining forces” with DailyLit, a site founded in 2006 as one of the earliest experiments in digital books. The founders, former Random House exec Susan Danziger and her husband, Union Square Ventures partner Albert Wenger, will continue to advise and invest.

“I realized that DailyLit really needed a good shot in the arm,” said Ms. Danziger, who’d been working on the project herself in the last few years. “At a certain point, there’s only so far you can bring something, and it’s the kind of thing that needs a team that’s really excited about it.”  Read More

The Future of the Ebook

Macmillan Surrenders in Ebook Suit, Leaving Apple to Fight on Alone

Macmillan's HQ. (Photo: flickr.com/-jvl-)

When four of the biggest publishers in the U.S. worked with Apple to create a new model of book sales, one that allowed them to set a minimum price on ebook sales, it was clearly meant to buck Amazon’s stubbon insistence on charging $9.99 even for the newest releases. What wasn’t so clear was the legality of the move. Matters settled into an uneasy truce until April, when the Justice Department accused them all of colluding to fix prices.

Now Macmillan, the last of the book businesses still fighting, has finally caved. As part of the settlement, the company has agreed to let booksellers (i.e. Amazon) resume their previous cost-cutting.

But just because you settle doesn’t mean you have to say you’re sorry. Read More

The Future of the Ebook

Could Amazon Interest You in a Used eBook?

(Photo: flickr.com/justbecause)

Oh boy, the big six are just going to love this: Geekwire reports that Amazon has secured a patent for a “secondary market for digital objects,” meaning anything from ebooks to mp3s.

That means Amazon has hammered out the basics of a system that would, according to the abstract from the patent application, let you transfer the ebooks you don’t want anyone into someone else’s Kindle library. In short, you can sell ‘em. Read More

The Future of the Ebook

Live Fast, Die Young: E-Readers Are On the Decline

Days of yore. (Photo: kodomut

Let’s hope the various e-reader makers gathered their rosebuds while they could, because it seems the heyday of the e-reader is already passing. The Wall Street Journal reports that, according to one market researcher, e-reader shipments dropped 28 percent this year, to 19.9 million from 27.7 million in 2011.

On an anecdotal level, can you think of a single person who requested an e-reader as a holiday gift? Compare that to the number of people who got new phones or tablets. Read More

The Future of the Ebook

O Pioneers! Twitter Launches a Virtual Fiction Festival to Help Storytellers Get Experimental

Awaiting the future of fiction. (Photo: Plympton, via Instagram)

Still more evidence that Twitter means business about its positioning as a media brand: In an event today at the New York Public Library, head of editorial programming Andrew Fitzgeraldannounced a Twitter Fiction Festival, a wholly virtual event that’ll run November 28 to December 2.

The goal, according to Mr. Fitzgerald, is to “push the outward bounds of what people thing of when they think of content on Twitter.” Read More

The Future of the Ebook

Founders Fund Bets on Oyster, a Subscription-Based eBook Business

The cofounders. (Photo: Courtesy Oyster)

An under-the-radar local startup named Oyster has raised a $3 million seed round, GigaOm reports, led by Founders Fund. Other backers include SV Angel, Founder Collective, Shari Redstone’s Advancit Capital, Chris Dixon, Sam Altman and others. But despite the foodie-friendly name, the company has other designs–namely, to feed you books to read on your iPhone.

As cofounder Eric Stromberg explained to Betabeat via email, “Simply put, we are building the best way to read books on your phone, and we think we accomplish that through the subscription model,” he added. Read More

The Future of the Ebook

One Direction Fan Fiction Now the Fastest Route to a Book Deal

(Photo: Penguin)

In the old days, back before single-serving Tumblrs and pithy Twitter accounts, you had to be talented or rich or well-connected to nab a book deal. Now, with the democratization power of the Internet, you need a wifi connection and a slightly unhinged obsession with raunchy BDSM sex or a boy band. Welcome to 2012, you guys. Aren’t you just so proud of how far we’ve come? Read More

The Future of the Ebook

What the Dickens? How Plympton Plans to Revive Serial Fiction

Little Nell, the Bella Swan of her day. (Public domain image via flickr.com/circasassy)

When Amazon flipped the switch on its Serials program last Thursday, it also served as the debut of a new startup: Plympton, founded by journalist Jennifer 8 Lee and novelist Yael Goldstein Love. The company is contributing three of the eight titles inaugurating the initiative: The Many Lives of Lilith Lane, a paranormal YA mystery; Hacker Mom, dubbed a “mom thriller”; and Love Is Strong as Death, a mystery.

Plympton’s founders describe the company as a “literary studio,” functioning a little like a publishing house and a little like a movie studio. Their mission? Nothing less than using new technology to  reinvigorate a storytelling form that publishing left for dead decades ago. (Naturally, there’s a Kickstarter campaign.)

“What we care about is actually just bringing back this format, because we do think it would be good for literature,” Ms. Love told Betabeat. “It’s good for writers, it’s good for readers, it’s good for the state of American literature.” Read More