The latest entrant in the growing ranks of companies offering book content via mobile devices is DailyLit, a new company formed by husband and wife Albert Wenger and Susan Danziger. Unlike other startups, such as Mobifusion and Moka, which aim to get information to consumers' cellphones, DailyLit is using e-mail and RSS feeds to deliver book installments that can be read in less than five minutes.
The company has been testing the service using public domain titles and books licensed through Creative Commons that were offered for free, but DailyLit has recently struck deals with Berlitz, Baen Books, Chronicle Books and E-Reads to start a fee-based program. According to Danziger, all four agreements are revenue-sharing deals.
Under the DailyLit model, the company will e-mail book installments of about 1,000 words to a customer's device of choice, be it a PDA, Blackberry or other player. Pricing is still being worked out, but Danziger said she would like to keep the cost of receiving a complete book below $5. Customers can receive a feed at the same time every day and can get additional feeds if they want to read more of the book at a particular time. Consumers who order a book through the DailyLit.com site get two free installments before they are required to pay for the full book.
DailyLit has so far relied on blogs to spread the word about its service, but now that it is close to offering a pay service, the company is planning more coordinated viral marketing Web campaigns, including the introduction of its own widget. Danziger, whose background includes working as an agent and in digital media at Random House, also plans to work with print partners to market the site.
Baen publisher Toni Weisskopf said she signed with DailyLit because it's a way to test a new delivery method with little risk. “It's a chance to reach beyond our traditional audience,” Weisskopf explained. Weisskopf said she particularly liked DailyLit's serialization approach since that style has worked well with Baen's own WebScription service, which offers subscribers installments of Baen titles as e-books before they are released as print editions. Baen has given 10 books to DailyLit to start, and, noted Weiskopf, “there's plenty more if it works.”