10 February 2011

Kindles Singles: Novellas, Pamphlets, Essays & Shorts

Amazon have finally opened their Kindle Singles store.

Tall Skinny Kiwi, Andrew Jones, writes,

"I have been talking about this for some time at conferences and this is the sweet spot I have mentioned. Books are too long and too expensive to switch over to digital format without any changes. The size of book for a mobile platform like an i-Pad or Kindle is much better handled in the 10,000 to 50,000 word range - which is the size neglected by paper book publishers for a long time.

Thanks to Amazon for being honest enough to admit it and open a new possibility in publishing that might change the shape of books for mobile platforms.

Did you know that the Gospel of Matthew has about 24,000 words? Luke has 26,000 words. Mark has less. All the gospels are the perfect size of an Amazon Kindle.

Maybe your next book should be also."

Where Kindle ebooks range from $5.00 to $14.99, Singles seem to fall between $1 and $5. Why pay more for more pages that really don't add to the story or necessary explanation of the concept? If the natural size of a book or booklet is less pages than what publishers have traditionally thought normal, must you wade through the extra just to fill out the cover?

Tim Carmody of Wired wrote in October 2010,

"There are print precedents for 10,000-to-30,000-word works — novellas, chapbooks, long pamphlets, extended journal articles, among others — but they’ve usually been either tied to specific genres or downright exceptions to the form. They’ve never been a central part of the publishing model in either fiction or nonfiction.

Kindle Singles is also unusual in calling on publishers to produce stand-alone “born-digital” works that may not ever be traditionally printed. Some publishers may use the form to sell individual sample or advance chapters of longer print books. Individual writers may benefit the most from the program, as it makes it easier for them to self-publish works that precisely for reasons of length can’t find support from traditional publishers."
Charlie Sorrel followed that up last week with,

"Long-form journalism has seen a surprising revival in recent years, with services like Instapaper and Read it Later allowing you to push longer articles off to mobile devices – like the iPad – to read later.

Kindle singles will typically run to between 5,000 and 30,000 words, the no-man’s land between a magazine article and a short book. In the past, there was no way to easily sell work of this length. Magazine’s just aren’t big enough, and book-buyers want to get their money’s worth in terms of page-count. Electronic publishing has no such limits. Indeed, the format seems perfect for tablets and cellphones."

Sorrel finishes with, "It seems ironic that the web, along with cellphones and other portable computers, has saved the very thing we thought it would kill. And short stories may just be next."

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