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Is Byliner About to Close?

screen-shot-2012-11-30-at-8-49-26-am-e1354283904224[1]The self-pub ebook platform Byliner is having a rough time of late. Following only weeks after co-founder Mark Bryant stepped down as editor-in-chief, a newly leaked email reveals that the company might be about to shut down.

This 3-year-old digital publisher launched the the goal of helping blogs and websites monetize their content via ebooks sales, and over the years it had developed a reputation for quality.

The company has worked with fiction writers like Elmore Leonard, Margaret Atwood, Amy Tan, and Jodi Picoult, and it has also helped both independent writers and news organizations like the NYTimes publish longform journalism as short ebooks. The NYTimes, for example, used Byliner to publish original ebooks by David Leonhardt, Amy Harmon, and Adam Liptak, among others. Over the past few years it has experimented with both selling ebooks and offering subscriptions.

I have to say that aside from the occasional news story Byliner rarely crossed my desk, which could be part of the problem. In many ways attention equals market share, and  according to the email from Byliner the business hasn’t grown as fast as they would like. The company is not dead yet, but it is looking for a new way forward.

Dear Byliner author,

In the Spring of 2011 Byliner released its first e-short, and began to invite readers to participate in a new way of discovering and enjoying stories by their favorite authors. We’re proud of the award-winning fiction and nonfiction we published in the three years that followed, and also of the reading experience we created with our site and our apps. Mostly, we’re proud to have been able to provide a bit of reading pleasure to people who love great stories.

As for our own story, it’s undergoing some changes. We’ve struggled to reach the level of growth we’d been hoping for the business, and thus we’ve begun conversations with possible partners about the future of Byliner. We’re working to find a good home for our platform and your stories, and we’ll be in touch shortly with specifics about your titles. If you have immediate questions about your revenue reports and payments, please use [email protected].

Every new venture requires a leap of faith, and we thank you for taking that leap with us. Your enthusiasm, passion, and contributions have been humbling, and for that we will be forever grateful.


The Byliner Team


NYTimes, Pando Daily

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Ed Renehan June 3, 2014 um 8:46 pm

I hope the list will endure in some form. Byliner has done some excellent publishing, but I think the organization has (generally, though not always) relied too heavily on "discovery" (otherwise known as "serendipity") as a marketing tool.

neuse river sailor June 3, 2014 um 9:52 pm

I would have bought some stories but going through the ADE hoops for something I could read in ten minutes put me off. Seriously, what’s the point in DRM in these little $1.99 transactions? For 90% of people, the cost is less than the trouble of pirating it.

Nate Hoffelder June 3, 2014 um 10:13 pm

That would kill my interest as well.

Is Byliner About to Close? | The Passive Voice | A Lawyer's Thoughts on Authors, Self-Publishing and Traditional Publishing June 4, 2014 um 10:01 am

[…] to the rest at The Digital Reader and thanks to Matthew for the […]

@byliner on Twitter June 4, 2014 um 7:37 pm

This news is a surprise, and I don’t wish any ill will. However, I frequently receive notifications from other people who retweeted a mention of @byliner. No, not me; the other

The founder did ask me to surrender the byliner handle I have had since the days of Citizens Band radio (10-4?) and offered to pay me for it — a clear violation of Twitter’s rules. Twitter did not respond to my request for help with this problem, however. The "byliner" handle has been on my e-mail, my Twitter account — even on my license plate.

The California business seems to have served writers well; as a writer and editor since high school, I have no quarrel with that. I do wish I had not been mistaken on Twitter for All of those notifications to me should have gone to

Jamie June 13, 2014 um 11:45 pm

Oh no! I’ve been wondering where my Atwood series has gone from Kindle Singles! 🙁 Her entire Positron series has been taken off Amazon.

I was just getting into Byliner’s stuff and was really admiring their work! I hope that the company perseveres and that we’ll see them bounce back.

Vook Acquires Byliner – The Digital Reader September 11, 2014 um 3:27 pm

[…] The beleagured boutique digital publisher Byliner has found a solution to their money problems. […]

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