Veterans of the ebook business may recall a modest (at best) initiative from 2005 called “Amazon Shorts,” selling “short-form literature from top authors” including Audrey Niffenegger, Stuart Woods, Robert Rhodes, Robin Cook, James Lee Burke, Danielle Steel, and Ann Beattie at 49 cents each. Amazon officially discontinued the program this June and reverted rights (with a suggestion to move that material to the Kindle platform).
Today Amazon has announced what could be seen as that program’s successor, dropping the length/underwear metaphor for one from the music industry: Kindle Singles. “Singles” are described as pieces running between 10,000 words to 30,000 words–pitched as “twice the length of a New Yorker feature or a few chapters of a typical book.” They say 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.”
They imply that the program is selective, telling people how “to be considered for Kindle Singles.” The new category of works will “have their own section in the Kindle Store and be priced much less than a typical book.”