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Fatbrain Launches Consumer-Oriented Online Publishing Firm

Business bookstore and secure digital publishing company Fatbrain.com launched a subsidiary called MightyWords to address mass market opportunities created by its eMatter digital publishing initiative.

The new company separates Fatbrain's consumer digital publishing initiative from its core B2B operation, where the company said it plans to sharpen its focus. B2B operations account for a majority percentage of Fatbrain revenues.

Fatbrain.com will continue to leverage eMatter to deliver document publishing services for its corporate customers. The company said it is currently seeking private equity funding for MightyWords, which will be operated as a subsidiary.

Chris MacAskill, chief executive officer of Fatbrain.com, also will serve as chief executive officer of the new MightyWords subsidiary.

"We're aggressively building on our business-to-business offering to capitalize on the expanding market for outsourced document management services," MacAskill said. "At the same time, it became immediately apparent when we introduced the eMatter digital publishing initiative last fall that we had hit on another exciting business opportunity. The creation of the MightyWords subsidiary allows us to take advantage of both."

The MightyWords marketplace site is designed to let authors, professionals, academics and enthusiasts publish and sell their works to the world, earning at least 50 percent royalties on every copy sold.

Works from more than 5,000 authors are available at launch, including Arthur C. Clarke and Toni Morrison. Once a reader has identified the work they wish to purchase, the reader pays with a credit card; the eMatter document is delivered digitally in PDF format to the reader's computer, where it may be read on screen or easily printed.

MightyWords' digital rights technology securely matches the document to the reader's computer, rendering it inaccessible on any other machine. If the reader e-mails eMatter to a colleague as an attachment, the colleague will be unable to open the attachment until paying for the eMatter document.

Fatbrain provides businesses with a Web-based solution for information exchange by combining its professional bookstore with print-on-demand capabilities and eMatter, a customized implementation of its secure digital publishing solution.