The ebook bundling start-up BitLit adds Macmillan to its list of publishing partners in a deal that brings just under 3,000 titles to BitLit’s offering.
The majority of those are published by Tor, a science-fiction and fantasy imprint well-known for its digital rights management (DRM)—free ebooks. Macmillan also includes select Farrar, Straus & Giroux and St. Martin’s Press titles in its BitLit offering as well.
By taking a “shelfie” (a photo of one’s physical bookshelf), BitLit users can find out how many of the print titles they own are eligible to be matched with free or deeply discounted ebook editions. BitLit Founder and CEO Peter Hudson says that to date about 10–15% of the titles found in customers’ shelfies are from the company’s publishing partners.
Macmillan is the second Big Five publisher to sign with BitLit. The first, HarperCollins, recently expanded its offering from a limited pilot of just a handful of titles to about 10,000.
Since adding Wiley in January, BitLit has grown its title count by an additional 20,000 to a current total of just under 100,000 titles, and its roster of participating publishers has risen from approximately to 280 to 350 over the same period.
Hudson says BitLit is on track to hit 250,000 titles later this year and confirms the company is in talks with all of the Big Five. Hudson acknowledges “a degree of coincidence” when it comes to how quickly BitLit has added content and partners recently. “This quarter was good timing when a few big publishers decided to move,” he says, considering that the start-up has been “working on all those agreements for years.”
According to Hudson, Tor made a natural fit for BitLit because it doesn’t need to pay for DRM on the sci-fi publisher’s titles, which otherwise “makes it hard to make money when we’re selling under standard terms.”
Print and digital book “bundling is especially germane if you publish narrative nonfiction or non-narrative nonfiction,” Hudson says. But “as an industry, publishing doesn’t know where [the model] is going to really resonate….It’s too early in the market.” Partly to that end, BitLit plans to focus on developing consumer awareness over the course of this year.
In the meantime, Hudson concedes that “digital in support of print [is] starting to become more and more understood” as a baseline reality—at least for now. He adds, “Digital is not going to eat the world.”
Related: Five Questions for Peter Hudson
BITLIT PARTNERS WITH MACMILLAN TO OFFER EBOOK BUNDLES
Leading New York publisher partners with Vancouver start-up to offer ebook bundles to readers.
May 4th, 2015 (Vancouver, BC) – Today, BitLit announces a new partnership with New York-based publisher, Macmillan, to offer ebook bundles. Readers who own Tor/Forge books, as well as select titles from other Macmillan imprints, will now be able to use the BitLit app to download ebooks of their print books for only $2.99. The offer includes bestsellers like Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card, Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson, and Lock In by John Scalzi.
BitLit is a free app that allows readers to digitize their print library. By taking a photo of their bookshelf (a “shelfie”), readers can identify a list of books that are eligible for digital bundles. Readers can download an ebook by using the app to snap a photo of their book’s copyright page marked with a bookplate, ex libris stamp or their handwritten name.
BitLit’s CEO, Peter Hudson said, “We’re delighted to make Tor/Forge books available to our community of readers. Many of them, like me, are devoted sci-fi and fantasy fans and Tor/Forge books are some of BitLit’s most requested titles.”
Macmillan joins over 330 publishers who offer bundling through BitLit. Major publishing partners include HarperCollins, Wiley, Elsevier, Baker Publishing Group, Andrews McMeel and Verso Books.
BitLit is free and can be downloaded for iPhone and Android.
BitLit is a free app that allows publishers to connect with readers by offering them free or highly discounted ebooks of books they own in print. Founded in 2013, BitLit is headquartered in Vancouver, BC, Canada. www.bitlit.com
Mary Alice Elcock