Daily Lit – It’s an interesting concept. We each read through a multitude of emails?‚A every day. So, what if you could take some of that email time and read books? That’s what Daily Lit is all about. You choose a book and each day they will email you a portion at the time you specify. They even have some of the classics such as Pride and Prejudice that you can read for free. The reader can control the size of the excerpt they receive from the book each day. So, we tracked down the web site’s founder. Her name is Susan Danziger and this is her interview.
BetaFlow :: Okay, so I have to ask you, have you read any books by email and if so which ones?
Daily Lit :: I’ve read a number of books via DailyLit, including Pride and Prejudice, THE THREE MARTINI PLAYDATE, BEST OF TECHNOLOGY WRITING 2007, and HOW TO LIVE ON 24 HOURS A DAY, a fun 19th century self-help book. I just started Berlitz DailyLit Spanish Lessons.
BetaFlow :: Cool. So, let’s pretend you do not own Daily Lit. Seriously. Let’s say you’re a mom trying to balance your career while taking care of your three kids. Suddenly you have an inkling to read the famous novel Pride and Prejudice. Why would you choose to read it through Daily Lit instead of in print or direct download?
Daily Lit :: Not sure if you knew this, but funnily enough, I AM a Mom with 3 kids trying to balance a career – so no need to imagine that!?‚A In fact, the reason I started DailyLit was that I had absolutely no time to read, running from work to the kids – and at night I was totally exhausted.?‚A Since DailyLit installments come directly into my Inbox (I’m always reading e-mail), I’m able to fit books into my incredibly busy life.?‚A Each installment can be read in about 3 minutes, and if I have a little downtime, I can use the “send me the next installment immediately feature” to keep reading.?‚A Books via direct download would just never get read, and print books are inconvenient and heavy to carry – they’re never there when you have a few extra minutes, and my bag is already too heavy as is.?‚A
BetaFlow :: Well… I obviously had no idea that you have three kids. For all I know you are a tech savvy nun. So, now that we all know betaflow has special powers and is much more than JUST a web site and speaking of nuns let me ask you this… What about devotionals? I know it’s common for Christians and others to read daily devotionals. It seems like that would be perfect for Daily Lit. Is this genre a major part of your client base?
Daily Lit :: Daily devotionals – or rather DailyLit Devotionals! – is a great idea and one we’re currently pursuing.?‚A In fact, we’ve been signing deals with some major publishers to expand our section on religion – not just Christianity but other religions and spirituality in general.?‚A We’ve also serialized in short installments major parts of the Bible http://dailylit.com/search?search=religion and plan to launch a serialized version of the Qur’an and other major religious texts as well.
BetaFlow :: I am curious how and why you get started in this. So, can you fill us in on the history of Daily Lit?
Daily Lit :: We started DailyLit after seeing the New York Times serialize Breakfast at Tiffany’s in special literary supplements to their newspaper (the supplements came every few days, I believe).?‚A It was a great way to read this book since we always brought the newspaper with us while commuting.?‚A ?‚A Then it dawned on us – what do we carry around more than a newspaper but our Blackberries.?‚A ?‚A Albert, my husband, who has a PhD from MIT in Information Technology (he was previously President of Deli.ci.ous that was sold to Yahoo) mocked up the initial DailyLit program.?‚A We started reading classics ourselves and then added books requested by friends, and it all took off from there.
BetaFlow :: Recently I came across a discussion around Steve Jobs’ interview with the New York Times when he commented that more than 40% of Americans didn’t read a single book in the last year. This seems very alarming – what are your thoughts?
Daily Lit :: Assuming that’s true, I think the problem is that traditional books don’t fit into today’s busy lifestyle.?‚A To find a few hours to sit down with a book is nearly impossible these days with family, work, the Internet, TV, and movies.?‚A Books are heavy to carry, and they’re rarely around when you have a little down time.?‚A The great thing about DailyLit is that books are able to integrate into your life.?‚A They come directly into your inbox (or RSS feed) in installments that can be read in under 5 minutes so it gives you that little nudge to read books every day, and with the on-demand component, you can read more if you happen to have a bit more time.
BetaFlow?‚A :: I noticed a section on your site where people can post pics and stories of unique places where they have read book excerpts from Daily Lit. So, what are some of the most memorable?
Daily Lit :: I love the one of my husband reading his DailyLit installment on a blackberry on a ski lift in Utah.?‚A I’m still waiting for the underwater shot or the one of the astronauts reading in space.
BetaFlow :: Final question, if one day the internet dies and with it?‚A Daily Lit?‚A dot com, what will you do?
Daily Lit :: I suppose I’d run a bicycle route to hand out daily installments of books –think of the health club costs I’d save by biking to over a million folks every month!