DailyLit announced today that they are moving to a 100% free content model. The site had previously been offering both paid and free serialized book content delivered daily via email or RSS feed to subscribers. Why the move to all free, all the time? Because that’s what their readers wanted. DailyLit’s CEO, Susan Danziger explains:
Given the overwhelming desire of readers for our high quality free books, stories, and installments, those titles available for pay were not getting much uptake. So we listened to our readers and decided to concentrate on giving them more of what they clearly want.
So, it would seem we have yet more proof that as Chris Anderson proposed in his book, Free, consumers are increasingly expecting digital content to be free online. But, free still doesn’t pay for most authors and publishers. Unlike Cory Doctorow, who has famously stated obscurity is a bigger risk to authors than piracy — for most authors and publishers, giving away the whole book for free all at once doesn’t result in big sales of their titles in other formats.
That’s why the DailyLit approach is intriguing. Their sponsored serialization model is one that:
- Gives exposure to books (DailyLit has sent over 25 million book installments to subscribers)
- Earns reader goodwill for publishers and other sponsors (such as HarperStudio, RandomHouse, and Diane Von Furstenberg who sponsored the giving away of her favorite book free through January), and
- Does not give away the farm –the serialization model theoretically both inhibits piracy and prompts purchasing of the whole book.
Kind of sounds like it could be a win/win/win. We’ll be keeping an eye on DailyLit to see how it goes, and encourage readers who love free and love reading to check out what DailyLit has to offer.