Went and took another look. No word about payment for the stories. The only payment is "pro rata" (?) each time someone purchases a book. Doesn't sound as though they have distribution beyond people ordering from their web site.
Look, it's brand new. Still in beta. Best case, they will up their royalty rates as the site catches on and more people start ordering books. Worst case, they will turn out to be a bunch of cheapskate bastards and still only pay those nominal royalties even if the site is a hit. And if the site goes belly up, then it goes belly up. But you have to admit it looks like an interesting experiment.
It does look interesting. It doesn't look like there's any "distribution" past people ordering the books on the site, but that's okay, that's one of the new business models.
Some of this goes back to Cory Doctorow and his idea of the book being different from the content. Some of the stories at this site have appeared in places like Shred of Evidence and Spinetingler. You could read the stories for free online and then collect your favourites into your own personal anthology. Throw in a few classics....
Think I'll follow it for awhile and then decide what to do. It looks intriguing, and it would certainly help get an author more exposure if it took off. But would it end up being a positive thing? Too early to tell right now.
I've been to this site before and it looks very sharp. Essentially they have a library of short stories for sale. You choose the ones you want to by and the service compiles them into a printed anthology and sends it to you. So each anthology is customized to the user.
As for the pro rata royalties, I think that means that the book costs roughly the same but not all books have the same number of stories. So if there is $10 royalties to divide and there are 10 stories, each may get $1. If there are 12 stories, each would get $.85.
I don't know the formula they are using to pro-rate, it may be word count or some other metric.
I had a similar idea once and didn't do a damn thing with it. Thank God not everybody is as lazy as I am.