Read Petit: A New Serialized Digital Shorts Subscription Service

In What's the Buzz by Dennis Abrams

By Dennis Abrams

Read reports that Tim Waterstone, the original founder of the UK bookstore chain Waterstones, is making preparations to launch a new digital book business that promises “a rich reading experience for time-poor readers.” Called Read Petite, its model resembles that of several other simliar “shorts” publishing programs around the world.

Read Petite will offer subscribers access to content for a small monthly fee (estimated to be somewhere in the area of £5 to £12 per month). The project will, following in the wake of several similar startups, like the Delay App and Plympton, which specialize in short stories and serializations — both literary forms which Waterstone believes will be well-suited to commuters and other time-pressed book lovers.

As he told The Daily Telegraph, “It worked for Dickens and it worked for us. If you are going to read on a laptop, or a smartphone or a tablet, [a short story] is about as much as you want. This is not slush pile publishing. There is an absolutely staggering treasure trove [of material] available.”

Read Petite will only publish works by authors who have already been published by a “traditional” publishing house, although the material itself may not have been published. Waterstone reported that it has already “unearthed” little-known works by such major British writers as Graham Greene and Aldous Huxley.

Plans are for Read Petite to launch by the end of the year.

About the Author

Dennis Abrams

Dennis Abrams is a contributing editor for Publishing Perspectives, responsible for news, children's publishing and media. He's also a restaurant critic, literary blogger, and the author of "The Play's The Thing," a complete YA guide to the plays of William Shakespeare published by Pentian, as well as more than 30 YA biographies and histories for Chelsea House publishers.