SlimBooks Cuts the Fluff with Its Short, Digital Reads
SlimBooks, a digital publisher, distributor, and bookseller, was founded with the motto, "Less is more," firmly in mind. The startup is dedicated to acquiring, marketing, and distributing short, original works that are less than 100 pages. The reason for the limit, says co-founder Casey Bankord, is twofold -- readers want short and engaging reads and many books are needlessly wordy, filled with "fluff" sections. Below Bankord explains why in this increasingly digital era short, creative content is more valuable than ever.
What problem are you solving?
The traditional model of publishing is broken. Books are too long, too expensive, and, therefore, unread by the majority of people. Currently, publishers prod authors to increase their page length to at least 200+ pages (the publishing industry standard) in order to charge a higher price point to the customer. Historically, this worked through mainly print distribution, but now (with the digital revolution) length is no longer a sign of "quality." Yet, the publishing industry remains stuck in its ways. This results in over-fluffed, watered down books that the average reader rarely finishes.
Due to the length of a SlimBook, authors aren't forced to overextend their content and are encouraged to explore topics they might otherwise ignore while readers are actually excited to finish books they buy.
How is Slimbooks working its authors?
With SlimBooks, authors retain 100% of the rights to their content so that if they want to publish a longer book with a traditional publisher after SlimBooks success, they are free to do so. We have optimized our production process to be able to publish a book for less than $1,000 and in less than a month. We front that cost, and then recoup our investment by selling at least 200 SlimBooks for $5 each. After we recoup our costs, we split all revenue with the author 50/50.
How did you come up with this idea?
In 2012, a traditional publisher gave me a book deal. Six months later, I turned in a painfully long manuscript. Thankfully, the publisher loved it and we started moving forward. 3 weeks later, the publisher called me and told me that they wanted to raise the price point of the book from $18 to $22, but in order to do that, I needed to add 10,000 more words to the manuscript. I asked which part of the book was incomplete, and they said "None of it. We just need the book to be thicker."
Apparently, customer research has shown that people subconsciously value a book by how much it weighs and how big it is. Therefore, book publishers push authors to make the book as long as possible, resulting in watered down books that we never finish. Have you ever been halfway through a book and wondered, "Do I need to keep reading?" The answer: Probably not.
We created SlimBooks as a better way to read and write books where the books are the length that writers want to write, and readers want to read.
What important trends are you seeing in the industry?
The world is changing in a way that allows people to consume content in short, digestible bites. People don't sit down to read the newspaper or a good novel like they used to. And, there is no point trying to get them to. Instead, we must start asking, "What will people actually read?"
We have a few projects in the works. We are excited to be expanding our fiction category in order to unleash the short story talent that exists in the world but is currently trapped in compilations. We are actively working with professors at top-notch universities to develop SlimTextbooks. We also have big plans for a mobile application.