Random launches digital short story brand

Random House is launching a company-wide, new digital short story brand, called Story-cuts, with more than 150 e-books, comprising 243 stories, by authors including Julian Barnes and Ruth Rendell.

Some of the e-books will contain more than one story, with prices ranging from 99p on the agency model, to £3.99 for numerous stories, though the majority will be around the £1 mark. They will be available through all retail channels, including the Apple store, Amazon and Kobo.  

RH digital editor Dan Franklin said the idea of putting out individual short stories digitally, had been "on the agenda" since he joined the publisher. He said: "It's that principle that is intuitive at the moment, taking short stories and selling them outside of collections."

Authors from across the group, from Transworld, Vintage, Cornerstone and Children's, will be released through the programme, with support coming through Transworld for the design, marketing and publicity. Franklin said the range of stories available, by authors including Alice Munro, Joanne Harris, Louis de Bernières, John Grisham and Susan Hill, meant it was targeted to "a lot of different readership groups". He added: "With this brand, the idea is that we go out with established writers and introduce readers to them. We hope it can be adapted as the definitive story brand, and phase two may be to consider authors outside of the ones we already publish."

Random House has previously released unique short stories from the likes of Karin Slaughter and Lee Child. He said the idea also came from the company's experience in developing the Brain Shots programme of bite-sized non-fiction. He added: "We're keen to use digital in a way to get people reading stories and as a way of inticing people to the form and the author."

Franklin said: "This is the iTunes model, really. It hasn't ever been applied to books yet . . . People can consume things on the hoof so intuitively there will be an audience there."