Did you catch the article on the front Business Page of Wednesday's New York Times this week? It looks like there's a new player in the digital publishing world with an eye to making a big splash. The new company is called Brightline.
The people involved are entertainment moguls Scott Rudin (film and theater producer), and Barry Diller (IAC/Interactive Corp. Chmn), along with Frances Coady (long-time publishing executive), and Evan Ratliff (one of the founders of Atavist, the company that will provide the online publishing experience and expertise).
As noted in the article, the traditional publishing industry has been in turmoil for some time. The principals of Brightline are seeing an opportunity with their entirely new venture, which they feel will be able to get considerable traction through a combination of high-profile projects without "the legacy costs and practices of traditional publishing."
Brightline has big name connections and possibilities. Scott Rudin often works with Michael Chabon, Jonathan Safran Foer, and Jonathan Franzen, for example, and Brightline "will pay big advances to compete for big-name authors," and "will publish e-books and eventually physical books in a partnership with Atavist."
Brightline and Atavist will remain separate entities for the time being, and lots of questions still haven't been answered about the actual distribution and payment to authors, etc. But as Barry Diller said, when expressing their hopes, "There is a possibility here that if we start with a blank piece of paper that you could hit the opportunity that exists in the book business."
Just one small mention was made in the article about Brightline's possible challenge to Amazon's market share dominance in the digital book market (which it placed at 65% of sales). Intriguing.
This is one to watch.