Paragraph, a New York-based startup that provides a range of digital author services like apps, released the first issue of its new weekly short story iPad magazine, Paragraph Shorts, on Thursday.
Paragraph Shorts is a little like a Flipboard for short stories, but rather than an algorithm, it uses humans to find short stories — in text, video and audio formats — across the web (from outlets like The New Yorker, The Paris Review and The Moth), then aggregates them and distributes them through a free iPad app. When a Paragraph Shorts reader flips his or her iPad to landscape mode, social features appear, including the Twitter and Facebook streams of the stories’ authors and the magazines they were published in.
Paragraph Shorts aims to add value through curation, introducing readers to authors and publications they might not have known about otherwise. “By curating the best short stories, and offering them to people who might not have known they existed, Paragraph will create a link between great literary magazines and readers who are eager to kill fifteen minutes in a quality manner,” Lorin Stein, editor of The Paris Review, said in a statement.
Of course, killing fifteen minutes reading a short story through an app doesn’t necessarily extend to a subscription to the publication it came from. But all the stories that Paragraph features are already free online, so the app’s main benefit to the stories’ publishers is to drive traffic to their websites and to increase social media around them. The company is also considering exclusive content at some point.
Paragraph founder Ziv Navoth previously ran marketing and partnerships at AOL. Paragraph is self-funded by Navoth and his partner, Edo Segal, who also run two other businesses: Enhanced ebook and app platform Holopad and ebook distribution platform Convertabook.com.