Amazon.com is betting that an uncommon length of reading material — longer than a magazine article but shorter than a book — will be a popular format in electronic form for its Kindle e-book reader.
The online retailer said Tuesday it is launching Kindle “Singles,” a section of its electronic bookstore dedicated to pieces that are 10,000 to 30,000 words or 30 to 90 pages.
Amazon said that is about twice the length of an article in The New Yorker or several chapters of a book.
And the company said it is soliciting the pieces outside of the publishing industry.
“Today’s announcement is a call to serious writers, thinkers, scientists, business leaders, historians, politicians and publishers to join Amazon in making such works available to readers around the world,” the company said.
It said “interested parties” should contact email@example.com
Amazon did not immediately respond to an inquiry about how much the “Singles” would cost.
The news comes as Amazon’s tries to keep its Kindle reader in the dominant position in the e-reader market.
It faces competition Apple Inc.’s iPad and other similar dedicated reading devices such as Barnes & Noble Inc.’s Nook.
In January, Amazon said it planned to offer do-it-yourself authors and publishers royalties of about 70 percent on their e-books if they use its e-book self-publishing program, the Kindle Digital Text Platform and meet certain criteria.
Amazon shares rose $1.89 to $154.92 during afternoon trading.
Many of us are contemplating the future of print books. Those of us in the industry work with them every day, so it’s often hard to think outside of the box. I’m learning that the most interesting tidbits often come from those outside of the industry.
I was catching up with an old friend of mine last night, a freelance flash developer, who gave me a really interesting insight into how O’Reilly Books have recently changed their business.
O’Reilly specialise in educational, step-by-step, ‘techie’ books (i.e. user manuals for new software). As new versions of software are being released almost once a year, the books become out of date as soon as they hit the shelves. To combat this they have created an online shopping program called ‘Rough Cuts’ that gives readers much more flexibility.
This is what the ‘Rough Cuts’ program provides:
- A Print/Online Bundle: you receive each chapter of the book electronically as it is edited and typeset, and then receive a completed copy of the book once released
- Online Access Only: you receive each chapter of the book electronically as it is edited and typeset only
- Print Book Only: you preorder a copy of the completed book and receive it once it is completed and released only.
I think this system is fantastic! The readers of these books are the people who need to know how to use this software. And they need to know it before that software becomes out of date. It also creates an environment where the print book and ebook are working together, as opposed to one replacing the other - something that every publishing company wants to achieve!
The only problem with a program like this is that it completely cuts out the bookseller. While that may not be big issue for O’Reilly (as their books are specialised and have been available online for a while now) it would be for a trade publisher. Booksellers have played a big part in the success of many trade publishers; they can’t be forgotten.
On a whole, all I have to say is: nice work O’Reilly!
Also, read a little about Tim O’Reilly (founder of O’Reilly Media) here: http://www.inc.com/magazine/20100501/the-oracle-of-silicon-valley_Printer_Friendly.html