Waterstones founder to launch Read Petite, Spotify-style online book service

Tim Waterstone, the founder of high street book retailer Waterstones, has revealed his new venture: Read Petite, effectively the Spotify for books.

Like the music-streaming service, Read Petite will offer access to content for a flat-rate monthly fee. However, in this case it will be short stories and serialisations to be read online. It is designed for those who don't have time or the inclination to read longer novels, possibly because they get the chance to do so only while travelling on short journeys, such as to work.

The serialisation method was popular in newspapers and journals in the time of Dickens, who often released his books chapter by chapter.

Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, Waterstone explained that while some of the works may be short, they are still important in literary terms. "It worked for Dickens and it worked for us. If you are going to read on a laptop, or a smartphone or a tablet, [a short story] is about as much as you want," he said. "This is not slush pile publishing. There is an absolutely staggering treasure trove [of material] available."

Works published on Read Petite will be from recognised authors, such as Graham Greene and Aldous Huxley. The service will launch at the end of the year and is expected to charge cost £5 and £12 a month.

It is not known if you will be able to download the titles on recognised eBook readers, such as the Amazon Kindle, or if it will use generic eBook formats or a web-based model.

Pic: (cc) dr_tr