Reading is dead. Books are dead. Publishing is dead. News is dead. Everything is dead (or dying). At least, that’s what the elegiac headlines say, often.

Was there ever a good time to be this industry? Perhaps in the good old days when Leonard and Virginia Woolf still ran The Hogarth Press and hand-printed books, or when we used to write with feather quill pens, but everything has gone downhill since.

Yes, there have been changes in the media and publishing landscape. Yes, traditional outlets are struggling to adapt, but it’s probably not as bad as commonly assumed.

For instance, Europe will be the largest e-book market in the world by 2017, worth an estimated $19 billion, according to a Forrester published last year.

ALSO READ: World of words: 10 European startups that aim to improve your e-reading experience

Meanwhile, publishing giant Hearst recently claimed record-breaking ad sales for its September issues, and a crop of new digital media startups are sprouting up across the globe… including in Europe.

Here’s 10 startups tackling the digital media and/or publishing industries to keep an eye out for:

1) Piano Media

Piano MediaHeadquarters: Vienna, Austria

Gist: Founded four years ago in Slovakia, Piano Media is a company helping news organizations and publishers set up digital paywalls. In September 2014, Piano Media – which is headquartered in Vienna with offices in New York, Slovakia, Slovenia and Poland – acquired its larger, American competitor Press+.

2) Blendle

BlendleHeadquarters: Utrecht, The Netherlands

Gist: Blendle wants to bring the iTunes model to journalism by letting readers buy individual articles (for €0.10 to €0.30 a pop) from various newspapers and publishers. Six months after its launch earlier this year, the startup secured €3 million in Series A funding from Axel Springer and The New York Times Company.

3) PressPad

PressPadHeadquarters: Krakow, Poland

Gist: Polish startup PressPad, established in 2011, aims to be a mobile app and marketing platform for magazine publishers. PressPad – which offers tiered pricing plans for clients – has raised a little over $260,000 in funding, according to CrunchBase.

4) Sellfy

SellfyHeadquarters: Riga, Latvia

Gist: Whether you’re a writer, designer or any other digital content producer, Sellfy wants to help you distribute and sell your content in a few clicks. The platform for self-publishers, which was founded in 2011, is backed by Skype co-founder Toivo Annus.

5) Ghost

GhostHeadquarters: London, UK

Gist: With the aim to “revolutionise the world of online publishing”, Ghost first pitched its open source blogging platform on Kickstarter last year. Since raising close to £200,000 through the campaign – surpassing its goal of £25,000 – Ghost has released a number of updates to its elegantly designed platform.

6) Movellas

MovellasHeadquarters: Copenhagen, Denmark / London, UK

Gist: Launched in 2010, Movellas is a publishing platform that lets users write and publish their stories as well as receive feedback from the community. The idea behind Movella is based on the Japanese concept of “Keitai Shousetsu“, meaning ‘mobile phone novel’, which became a popular literary genre.

7) ShareWall

SHarewallHeadquarters: London, UK

Gist: Founded in March of this year, ShareWall wants to offer a new model for publishers by introducing ‘social currency’, which involves users getting access to content based on how many times they share an article with their social network. The startup has raised a seed round of £150,000 so far.

8) ReadWave

ReadWaveHeadquarters: London, UK

Gist: Owned and operated by online writing community Circalit, ReadWave is “a place for sharing 3-minute stories”. The publishing platform, which has a 800-word limit, hopes to build a community for aspiring journalists to upload articles on certain themes and receive feedback.

9) Liberio

LiberioHeadquarters: Berlin, Germany

Gist: Founded in 2013, Liberio is an eBook publishing platform that rolled out its Google Drive-based service in July of this year. The aim? To simplify the process of creating, publishing and distributing eBook projects – and all for free.

10) Reedsy

ReedsyHeadquarters: London, UK

Gist: Reedsy, founded this year, is startup that wants to help connect publishing professionals (authors with editors, book designers, etc.) via its marketplace as well as provide tools for project collaboration. The UK startup has received €30,000 from Seedcamp and Scottish publishing company D. C. Thomson.

Featured image credit: Karen Horton / Flickr

  • Thanks for featuring PressPad on the list. Appreciate this. Congrats to all other participants. Cheers!

  • Robin de Jongh

    Hi Charmaine. Thanks for surfacing these innovative services. I’d not come across most of them before! I suspect the amount of investment funding is a poor measure of whether these will catch on or make any money. Perhaps a better measure would be the number of users/subscribers or even Alexa rank? Thanks!

  • Thanks for including Ghost in the list! We’re excited to be pushing the boundaries from this side of the proverbial pond :) Looking forward to seeing what everyone in this list does over the next 12 months.

    • Hey John, congrats for Ghost’s powerful launch and appearance on this list.

  • Thanks for including Liberio in the list! It’s great to be in amazing company with 9 other startups contributing to the shift of such a legacy industry. Excited to see how everyone grows and makes a difference in publishing!