Random House is hoping to capitalize on the success of teen writing communities with the recent purchase of Figment. The site launched in early 2010 and boasts 750,000 stories by 300,000 registered users.
Figment was started by Jacob Lewis, a former editor at the New Yorker and now on staff at Random House; Dana Goodyear is a poet and and does freelance work at the New Yorker. Goodyear was inspired to launch the site after a trip to Japan, during which she became fascinated with cellphone novels being written mostly by young women for young women. Figment was an idea of how those ideas of collaboration and sharing might play out with American teens.
Random House is thought to have purchased Figment to talk directly to their readers, something they used to rely on booksellers exclusively for. The publisher is now in a position to scout young new talent and leverage their social media connections to purchase their published books. Random House when signing new talent always looks at how strong of a following a young author has, because they know there are guaranteed sales.
Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and Verge.