The Atavist: New Publisher/E-Reading Platform to Launch Soon

In What's the Buzz by Hannah Johnson

The Atavist app

By Hannah Johnson

What can you do with a 7,000-word article or essay? Magazines typically won’t run something that long; blog readers won’t take the time to read something that long, and book buyers won’t pay for something that short.

Enter The Atavist, a new e-reading startup founded by two journalists with a lot to say and not enough space to say it. Freelance journalist Evan Ratliff and New Yorker senior editor Nick Thompson founded the company and will launch The Atavist apps for iPhone and iPad on January 26th (Kindle, Nook and Android coming soon), reports Fast Company. The apps will be free to download, then users can purchase each story for $2.99.

But wait, there’s more! The Atavist is not just a platform for e-reading, it’s a new kind of publishing company that combines elements of journalism and book publishing. As in journalism, the stories will be fact-checked, include photos and videos, and can be easily updated through a web editor (instead of uploading a new, corrected file). Like a book publisher, The Atavist will curate the best writing, take care of the technical aspects of publishing the stories, and split the revenue with its authors.

From The Atavist website:

The Atavist is a boutique publishing house producing original nonfiction stories for digital, mobile reading devices. We like to think of Atavist pieces as a new genre of nonfiction, a digital form that lies in the space between long narrative magazine articles and traditional books and e-books. Publishing them digitally and offering them individually — a bit like music singles in iTunes — allows us to present stories longer and in more depth than typical magazines, less expensive and more dynamic than traditional books.

Read more: Designing the Atavist, an App That Rescues Long-form Journalism

About the Author

Hannah Johnson


Hannah Johnson is the publisher of international book industry magazine Publishing Perspectives, which provides daily information and news about book markets around the world. In addition to building partnerships with international cultural and trade organizations, she works with the Frankfurt Book Fair to organize and support a number of its overseas initiatives. Hannah has also worked as the managing editor for an online media company, The Hooch Life, focused on craft distillers and cocktail experts. Prior to that, she worked as a project manager for the Frankfurt Book Fair’s New York office, managing various business and marketing activities.