Tim Waterstone is best-well-known for launching one of the UK's few surviving bookstore chains, but in an interview today in The Guardian he announced plans to move beyond his bookstore roots and join the exodus of online readers.
Next week Waterstone plans to announce Read Petite, a subscription reading service that will offer readers access to a smorgasbord of short works, both fiction and non.
It will be different from The Magazine, which offered short works on a monthly schedule, nor will it have much in common with eLinea, which plans to offer access to anything and everything. Instead Read Petite will offer a curated and limited selection of short works averaging about 9,000 words. The service is intending to aim more for quality than quantity.
There aren't all that many details available yet about what types of nonfiction content the service might offer, but the open-ended nature of the subscription plan as well as the lack of a publication schedule suggests that Read Petite will go for less topical and more durable articles - content that will still attract readers months or years down the road rather than articles on current topics.
The service is expected to launch this Fall, and it will be accessible via any web browser. Read Petite is currently pitching the idea to publishers, who will be able to upload content on to the service. There aren't any firm plans to accept submissions, unfortunately, but it is being considered.
Personally, I would like to see a service like this focus on a single genre - SF, for example. It could make for a good alternative to anthologies and the struggling monthly magazines.
image by theseanster93