This was a diverse panel: Wim Van Der Stelt of Springer, an academic publisher that has gone heavily digital; Susan Danziger, CEO of DailyLit, which sends excerpts of stories and books via email; Andy Hunter and Scott Lindenbaum, founders and editors of Electric Literature, an all-digital literary magazine; and Neelan Choksi, CEO of Stanza. Despite their diverse backgrounds, all the panelists spoke to the necessity of taking advantage of, rather than being threatened by, new media.
Wim Van Der Stelt of Springer urged trade publishers to learn from the academic world: “13 years ago the academic world was on the same threshold the trade world is now.” His company publishes 6,500 books per year and has all its books online, which he says is essentially to Springerâ€™s success. He also said “it’s very, very important to keep monetizing what youâ€™re doing.”
Danziger explained the genesis of DialyLit: With a job and family, she had no time to read, so she thought sheâ€™d break books up, delivered to inbox, short installments that can be read in less than five minutes. She also said that DailyLit switched last week to an all-free model: their content is free, but is sponsored by various companies. The company is looking into new business models, including “pay-what-you-want” a-la RadioHead.
Electric Literature is a new literary journal that is all digital, but not online. The journal is distributed to eReaders and can be ordered in print POD. By saving money on print production, they are able to pay writers $1000 per story, an almost unthinkable amount for a small literary journal.
Neelan Choksi, CEO of Stanza, offered a video preview of Stanza 2.0, which is about to be available in the Apple App store. The app has 2.8 million users worldwide. Choksi noted that “coming from open source software world, weâ€™re used to working with communities,” so Stanza, which was acquired by Amazon, has been able to have things like translations of its app into other language done for free.
If these panelists are any indicator, there are indeed very viable ways of making money from digital.