Tim Waterstone is the founder of Waterstones, a retailer of print books and other items in the UK. Waterstone is looking to launch a new digital book business that hopes to become something akin to music service Spotify only for books. The project is called Read Petite.
Read Petite will specialize in short stories and serialized content. Serialized content was big in the 19th century with novelists like Charles Dickens and others publishing novels chapter by chapter in newspapers and magazines. The problem for authors today is that short stories are hard to sell in physical formats.
However, Waterstone believes that short stories and serialized content would be well-suited to people who commute or don't have time for a full-size novel. Read Petite will only publish content from authors that were already publishing with traditional book publishers. However, the material offered via the Read Petite service might be previously unpublished.
The Read Petite service is expected to launch towards the end of 2013. The service will carry a monthly fee of somewhere in the area of £5 and £12 per month. Waterstone will act as chairman of Read Petite, which was cofounded with three other people including Peter Cox, Neill Denny, and Martyn Daniels. The venture is currently seeking additional investors.