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The Future of Free Books

speaker_susandanziger_100x100.jpgIn the an afternoon session at mediabistro.com’s eBook Summit yesterday, three new media literary pioneers debated the recent trend of offering free content online.

Electric Lit founders Scott Lindenbaum and Andy Hunter spoke about eBook lessons. Earlier this year, they gained 10,000 followers and grew traffic by 300 percent while serializing a Rick Moody story on Twitter–they now have more than 60,700 followers. Using a print-on-demand print schedule, they can pay authors $1,000 for a story. Nevertheless, they noted that they have only raised enough money (so far) to publish for a year.

Susan Danziger (pictured), founder and CEO of the newly free DailyLit, a company that serializes books and stories in daily newsletters. “We had a number of pay titles that didn’t have a lot of traction,” she said, explaining why they switched to a new free model. However, with the site’s new free model, they will experiment with “pay what you want” model and a donation model patterned after Kickstarter. “Our subscribers are amazingly affluent,” she said, “but they like free content.” She also announced that popular novelist and blogger Cory Doctorow will launch a science fiction channel for the site.

Follow all the summit action on Twitter: @galleycat and @eBookNewser and @RonHogan; also, check the hashtag #ebooksummit for even more 140-character wisdom.

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