Scott Rudin, Barry Diller Headline New E-Publishing Venture Brightline

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Producer Scott Rudin, publishing executive Frances Coady, Barry Diller's IAC and epublisher Atavist are joining forces to form Brightline, an all-new multiplatform publishing effort.

Brightline will publish both short and book-length original fiction and non-fiction works, with a mid-2013 launch expected for the first titles.

The company has not yet signed its first author.  The New York Times reported that Brightline is willing to pay "big advances" to attract top talent.

"Nearly every film I've produced has started with a piece of first rate literary material. Nothing tops it. The opportunity to play a role in the publishing and promotion of great work by great authors in this exciting new venture … represents an entirely new way of supporting and encouraging literary excellence," said Rudin in a statement.

Coady, an executive who did stints at Vintage, Random House UK and Picador, among other publishers, will be Brightline's publisher.

Brightline will employ partner Atavist's software for creating and publishing regular and enhanced ebooks across mobile platforms from including personal computers, phones and tablets.  Atavist's non-fiction short e-singles publishing line will remain separate from the new venture.

Concrete details about the company's business model, royalty structure and distribution model remain unclear.

Brightline and Atavist will make cross-investments in each other.  IAC will provide $20 million in start-up capital to Brightline. It will also make a separate investment in Atavist, the New York-based start-up that has developed innovative epublishing software and been a leader in the emergence of the new publishing category of ebook singles.

Singles, usually non-fiction works that are longer than a magazine article but shorter than a book and priced below $2.99, have been a growth category since Amazon introduced them two years ago.

The new partners see publishing as an industry in transition that has been slow to adopt new technologies and develop a digital business model. 

“The book business has a concentrated number of players and is unquestionably in transition,” Diller told The New York Times. “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 now.”

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