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Quarterly launches PageHabit to give book lovers a peek into the writing process

14 June 2017

From TechCrunch:

Quarterly started in 2011 as a highbrow subscription box service, with boxes (delivered every three months, as its name suggests) curated by celebrities like Neil deGrasse Tyson, Pharrell Williams, and Gretchen Rubin. Now the company wants to take its brand philosophy further with a new literary subscription service called PageHabit. Every month, PageHabit’s subscribers will get a new hardcover release with annotations by its author and other book-related items.

Quarterly, which has sent boxes to more than 100,000 subscribers, recently acquired book subscription club BooklyBox to build PageHabit, and will first offer the service in six genres: literary fiction, young adult, fantasy, romance, historical fiction, and mystery.

CEO James Hicks said Quarterly’s team realized over the past five years that celebrity-curated boxes are challenging to scale up because it is hard to continue adding new celebrities and managing relationships. After launching a literary-themed box about a year and a half ago, however, they saw that giving readers a behind-the-scenes peek into the writing process resonated with subscribers, so Quarterly decided to use that as a starting point for its next step.

To create an immersive experience, PageHabit asks authors to prepare a handwritten letter and about 20 to 30 annotations on Post-It notes, which it reproduces and sticks inside books for an immersive experience. Subscribers also get access to digital content, like streaming author interviews. A portion of the $29.99 monthly subscription fee will be donated to Books for Africa, which supports literacy programs and libraries in African countries.

Even though digital books were supposed to herald the demise of physical books, paper continues to hold a strong allure, with sales of physical books growing in the U.S. and the U.K. even as sales of e-readers and digital books fell dramatically last year. This is partly due to reader preference, but also because books have become a status symbol: a physical book or shelf packed with volumes is much more visually appealing than a Kindle.

Link to the rest at TechCrunch


11 Comments to “Quarterly launches PageHabit to give book lovers a peek into the writing process”

  1. I like the idea, except for the celebrities and the hardcovers, which is why I occasionally visit storybundle to see what they are offering. Are there any other curative aggregators that are worth visiting?

  2. And like law and sausages, some things are better enjoyed if you don’t know how they’re made.

    More ‘proof’ about how well they represent things are their ‘paper is back!’ bit … (and it only costs the writers $30 a month to join/play? Ouch.

    • No, it costs the readers/subscribers $30 a month. The books are chosen from publishers’ catalogs, according to the article. Which means naturally no indie books but just whatever the big five are pushing that month. And that $30 only gives you one book, plus some bookmarks or whatever other cheap swag they want to send you.

      Honestly, I like the idea of book boxes, but when you end up paying far more than retail for a book that’s just whatever a big five publisher wants to push on people (which, these days, is almost never a book I want to read), I just don’t see the point.

      • Oops, my bad on who is paying through the nose for this privilege, but too much for too little in any case.

        (My mother once signed up for ‘a puzzle a month’ type service. Most of them were ones we guessed they couldn’t get rid of any other way …)

  3. What does the paragraph about declining sales of e-readers and digital books have to do with the rest of the piece? That’s poor writing. (Also incorrect.)

  4. YUCK! I can’t imagine wanting to participate in such a distracting, intrusive exercise. When I’m writing, the rest of the Universe goes away, and I’m in my own little world. And I don’t want to share that little world with nosey, snooping interlopers. Absolutely no welcome mat. MYOB. Go away!

    When I’m finished and have published my writing (in whatever form I’ve chosen), then that is the time to share the final product, not during construction.

    • It looks like all they’re asking the writers to do is write some annotations for a finished and published book. How is that intruding on their writing process?

      • It’s taking the focus away from what has been written and the process of writing it. I have no interest in annotating what I do and what I’ve done. My writing is ding an sich and stands on its own; I’m finished with it. No looking back.

        • A lot of writers do enjoy talking/writing about the process they went through in writing something, and a lot of readers enjoy hearing about it. No one’s forcing people to do this. I’m sure writers who aren’t interested just decline.

  5. How about a personal phone call from the writer to discuss current literary trends? $100/month.

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