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Books in bite-sized portions

Work & Lifestyle

It’s a well-known fact that people today read far fewer books than they used to, drawn instead by other media that promise more interaction and immediate gratification. DailyLit aims to combine the best of both worlds by delivering great books in bite-sized chunks via email and RSS. Launched in May, DailyLit offers more than 500 classic and contemporary works free of charge along with a smaller assortment of Pay-Per-Read titles, most of which are priced below USD 5. Books are sent by email or RSS in individual instalments on the days and times selected by the reader—for example: every weekday at 7:45 a.m.—and each instalment is small enough to be read in less than 5 minutes. Enthusiastic readers who finish an instalment and want to continue reading (imagine yourself on the slow train to work) can get the next one or more immediately. DailyLit’s books can be read anywhere a reader receives email, including on a PDA, Blackberry or iPhone, and discussion forums are available. DailyLit is now adding titles in German, French, Italian and Spanish, and through a partnership with Berlitz, it offers bite-sized Spanish lessons as well. The company uses no advertising, basing its revenue model on fee-sharing instead. By August it had more than 100,000 readers. Susan Danziger, cofounder of Mamaroneck, N.Y.-based DailyLit, explains: “We got the idea for DailyLit after the New York Times serialized several classic books in special supplements a few summers ago. We read books that we had always meant to read because each chapter became part of our daily routine of reading the newspaper. The only thing we do more consistently than read the paper is read email. And voila! We put together a first version and began reading the classics.” We’ve already covered books written specifically for mobile phones in Japan, as well as Swedish Bokilur, which offers audiobooks in a similar fashion. Today, of course, there’s also Amazon’s Kindle device, along with Mobifusion‘s content delivery to cell phones and, which sends only the first few chapters of a book as an enticement to get the rest at a library or bookstore. But with its super simple delivery—no tech wizardry involved, no programs to install, no extra gadget to buy and carry—and growing range of content, DailyLit seems to be on to something, and could be well worth emulating or partnering with in niche and local markets. More on serving up products and service in easy-to-digest, easy-to-afford morsels in’s 8 trends for 2008: Snack Culture. Spotted by: Emma Crameri



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