Serial Fiction Startup JukePop Democratizes the Editorial Process
Although JukePop does take a 5% cut from some transactions, its leadership aims to monetize JukePop in other ways. "We will never turn to ads as a way to monetize the reader base, but we will monetize it based on things the reader finds important," says Fan, who understands that authors will stop using JukePop if it gates content to readers at sign-up. While JukePop searches to find ways of monetizing its regular readership, it has already developed a profitable pricing scheme by providing content to libraries on a kind of "pay-as-you-go" basis.
"If you think about libraries, they want to get electronic content, but they need to pull in a lot of back end technology," says Fan. One of the most cost–intensive aspects of that back end technology is the digital rights management (DRM) server, which most publishers require in order to license books. The DRM servers track the number of digital checkouts per book, letting publishers charge libraries for each digital copy in circulation.
Fan recognizes this can be a huge constraint for rural libraries or those without a significant IT budget, so he has allowed access to JukePop's catalogue through library websites. "We're not taking the reader away from the library website, so the libraries can still preserve a sense of community, preserve their channel of communication." Libraries then pay for each chapter a user finishes, rather than for simply opening or checking out a serial.
Will JukePop generate the next Great American Novel? Fan is optimistic: "When serialized fiction was really popular in the 1920s, A-list writers were the ones who wrote serial fiction. The B-list writers published directly to books." The next great work of fiction should be relevant to the Harry Potter generation, says Fan. Who better to judge up-and-coming writers than their generational peers?