Books By E-mail and RSS: Q&A With the Creator of DailyLit.com
DailyLit.com, a Web site based in New York that currently offers a free service allowing users to read entire books via e-mail and RSS installments, recently announced plans for aggressive growth. DailyLit currently allows visitors to sign up to receive more than 370 classic and contemporary titles, free of charge, in installments designed to be read in less than five minutes.
The contemporary titles used are available via Creative Commons, a non-profit that offers an alternative to full copyright, built within current copyright law, that allows you to share your creations with others and use music, movies, images and text online that’s been marked with a Creative Commons license.
The company has recently introduced copyrighted works licensed from publishers and authors.
Susan Danziger is the publisher and co-founder of DailyLit with her husband, Albert Wenger.
Danziger’s bio includes positions as the head of business affairs for the corporate development group and children’s media divisions at Random House Inc. She says she also joined a team to spearhead Random House’s corporate electronic book program. She founded and continues to run her own media company, Fox Meadow Media, which represents international authors and publishers in the acquisition and licensing of publishing and media rights.
Book Business Extra spoke with Danziger about her insights behind the creation of DailyLit.com, advantages of digital books, the future of digital and more.
EXTRA: What inspired the creation of DailyLit?
DANZIGER: We got the idea for DailyLit after The New York Times serialized several classic books in special supplements a few summers ago. We read books we had always meant to read because each chapter became part of our daily routine of reading the newspaper. The only thing we do more consistently than read the paper is read e-mail. And voila! We put together a first version and began reading the classics via e-mail installments.
EXTRA: What advantages do you feel digital books and installments of digital books have over traditional print books?
DANZIGER: Installments via DailyLit are readable on PDAs, Blackberries, Treos and anywhere you receive e-mail. You don’t need to remember to bring a book. Since you always carry your phone and spend most of the day on the computer, installments are only a click away.
EXTRA: Many in the industry think that e-books and the e-book revolution are still a few years off. Do you agree and do you feel that the industry will see a shift toward more digital acceptance?
DANZIGER: The key is customization. If you give busy readers easy-to-achieve milestones of reading (e.g., under five-minute installments), you can create a successful digital program. DailyLit allows readers to set the days of the week, time of day and method of receiving the installments. For instance, a commuter could receive e-mail installments every weekday at 7:00 a.m. – or a publishing executive could receive installments at noon everyday via an RSS feed to be read during lunch.
EXTRA: In addition to offering classic and unlicensed contemporary titles via Creative Commons, you are now partnering with book publishers and licensing their material. Will you continue to offer the content for free or will there be a fee for that licensed content?
DANZIGER: Classic and contemporary works (available via Creative Commons at CreativeCommons.org) will continue to be free of charge. Copyrighted content from publishers and authors will require a small payment that can be made via credit cards or PayPal.
EXTRA: Are advertisements placed within the digital copy you send out, and if not how does your site make a profit?
DANZIGER: At this point, we do not include advertising in the installments (except for a link to Amazon). In the future, publishers may be able cross-market their other titles within each installment, and we plan to open a certain number of limited slots on the site to publishers where they can feature their titles. The site’s revenue will come from modest payments that readers will need to make for copyrighted content.