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Thin (Reading) is In

Thin (Reading) is In

Sitting in a room full of graduate  students on the second floor of Syracuse University’s New York City campus, Howard Polskin, CEO of Thin Reads, is talking about snorkeling.

“Say you’re used to swimming in a barren sandy area, and all you see day after day are the complex ripples in the sand. One day you might see a tire someone has thrown into the water. In a matter of hours you’ll see algae filaments on that tire. A few days later there will be small fish eating the algae. And a few weeks after that you’ll see more plants and animals, and the tire will have sunk a little deeper into the sand. And after a while there will be a thriving community based on the sudden appearance of this new thing in a place that used to be relatively barren. That’s how nature builds a community.”

That inexorable organic growth is Polskin’s strategy to grow the Thin Reads brand.

If you can’t finish it on a flight from NY to LA, it’s not a Thin Read. If you finish it before takeoff it doesn’t qualify either. That very specific experience has grown over the years. According to Digital Book World, e-book singles sales were US$ 995 million in 2012.That same year, Amazon reported selling over 2 million Kindle singles. Polskin is the first person to offer readers a quality guide to the exploding sector through the Thin Reads site.

This is a company built on the notion that technology turns content into experiences, and Polskin has a very clear idea about his product, his market and the experiences they value. launched in April 2013 with Polskin writing reviews, and publishing interviews and profiles of authors writing e-book singles. Given his background

he was able to add a unique perspective on the e-book market. This included a weekly analysis of Amazon’s best-selling e-book singles and an online database with thousands of e-book titles. The ThinReads database has become the go to resource for people looking for content that defines the new form. It includes basic information like title, publication date, publisher, author, length, platform, and a description.

For Polskin, running the Thin Reads business involves weaving together a digital ecosystem that allows quality content to emerge. Whether it’s productively using your time on a flight reading a concise backgrounder on a subject, or just sitting down for an entertaining read, the promise of the platform is that interested people will go beyond a quick Google search to become better informed.

While the form is still relatively new, it has seen explosive growth, and Thin Reads is already developing into a key player in the new ecosystem. As the business matures, Polskin is constantly refining the value proposition. The appearance of e-readers created the space, and while the specialty devices have evolved to include apps like the Kindle reader or Apple’s iBooks, the mobile reading experience is still nascent. That creates the opportunity for veteran content lovers like Polskin to shape a new business, and build a value layer that connects customers—really a community of readers–to experiences.

“I’m in this as much to see where it goes as I am I for the business” he says. “If you’re a person who loves content and reading as much as I do, this is that classic situation where the job is a joy. I do this for love.”

About The Author

Whitman Littlefield

Master of Science in New Media Management


This site celebrates the people places, and culture that make Central New York one of the most vibrant and livable regions in the country. From Auburn to Utica, from Syracuse, to Ithaca, this is LivableCNY.

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