The MP3 format has frightened the music industry, but one publisher is hoping it has a more sanguine effect on book publishing.
In a venture separate from his Incommunicado Press business, micropublisher Gary Hustwit has launched MP3Lit.com. A free service for both author and publisher, MP3Lit posts audio samples of readings from authors such as A.M. Homes, Martha McPhee, Henry Rollins and Jonathan Lethem. It's essentially a promotional tool--three-minute segments that are intended to sell the book, in audio or print form. (Hustwit said he has no plans to sell full-length audiobooks.) The samples can be downloaded using the MP3 format or streamed (i.e., listened to in real time) using RealAudio.
Many of the 60 authors currently featured come directly from Hustwit's own recording studio. Publishers are encouraged to submit tracks, as Hustwit hopes to have an "endless" number of postings. He'll also attend readings around New York, for recording and posting purposes--with the publishers' permission, of course. Postings are not limited to published writers; under Hustwit's Loudmouth program, anyone can submit work.
Though MP3Lit is a B&N.com affiliate, Hustwit hopes that indies will link to him as well. To find out more, e-mail Hustwit at email@example.com.