It kind of involves owning a bookstore again. Sort of.
Waterstone talked about his new venture, Read Petite, with The Guardian this week. It will be officially announced to the public at the London Book Fair next week. Read Petite is a digital imprint for short-form e-books. It will include fiction and non-fiction titles, according to The Guardian.
The site will use a monthly subscription format and have unlimited access to all the work, which will be about 9,000 words or fewer.
A lot of the best short fiction has never been properly exposed, because publishers don’t find it commercially comfortable. Even with a collection, how do you package it? It’s difficult in print: traditionally, money was used up on production and distribution, and not enough was left for promotion. In the digital world, production costs are virtually nil, and distribution costs don’t exist, so you’re left with a much cleaner sheet.
The authors involved with Read Petite will be established writers, Waterstone said. “The whole point is to avoid a slush-pile of material. What we’ll guarantee is quality writing.”
Neill Denny, a former editor for The Bookseller, a UK-based publication, will take part in this venture, according to The Guardian. There will also be a focus on serialized fiction, harkening back to the days where stories were published in magazines or digests through several editions.
The duo’s website is up and running but in a very basic form. Currently, readers can go and sign up for updates. Right now, the website describes Read Petite as, “a rich reading experience for time-poor readers.”