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Old 10-12-2010, 11:47 AM   #1
fjtorres
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Amazon Singles - A new front in the war

Press Release: http://phx.corporate-ir.net/phoenix....538&highlight=

A whole new wing to the Kindle storefront dedicated to stories and articles in the 10,000-30,000 word range. Explains why the $2.99 price floor on their 70/30 ebook program, doesn't it?

In the Science Fiction realm alone the backlist of material should be enormous; there is a long tradition of Novellas and Novelettes dating back to the heydey of the magazines and with anthologies a dying breed...

Their timing is exquisite, too; launching it when they have enough of an installed base to make even low-volume sales profitable and the competition is still disorganized.

This could be big. (Just a wild guess.)
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Old 10-12-2010, 11:50 AM   #2
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Aside from the articles, I wonder how this is different from Amazon Shorts which have been around since K1. The first purchases I made for my K1 were a couple of Amazon Shorts stories (though I haven't looked at that section in almost 2 years).
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Old 10-12-2010, 11:53 AM   #3
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Hmm. I've mixed feelings about this. It's similar in some ways to the effect of mp3 track sales on albums. I also got irritated finding short stories cluttering up my browsing in Fictionwise. It helps if you want to try out a new writer, but free samples already exist for this. Taken to its extreme, authors may find that they sell just their highest rated stories rather than the whole collection.

However, Amazon have proved themselves pretty adept at getting the browsing experience right, and at driving sales of similar products, so perhaps the overall effect will be to bring more readers in. Which can only be a Good Thing.

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Old 10-12-2010, 01:27 PM   #4
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I actually like this idea. Shorter fiction as a whole has become somewhat neglected in recent years (do in large part to the decline of most literary magazines and pulps). Novellas and Novelettes have been particularly neglected (in my opinion). That being said, these intermediate link stories have often been some of the best fiction I have ever read. Long enough to really flesh out a plot and characters, but short enough to force a writer to focus his story... no multi-chapter sub-plots that have only a tangental connection to the main story.

Of course, they already have a place on smashwords, but hey

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Old 10-12-2010, 02:07 PM   #5
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This is pretty cool. I don't have alot of spare time, so more novellas, to me, is a good thing
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Old 10-12-2010, 02:13 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by TotallyEpic View Post
This is pretty cool. I don't have alot of spare time, so more novellas, to me, is a good thing
I was surprised how in the recent poll so many people like really long novels. I much prefer a concise novel, of a length that I finish more books more often - for the variety. I don't mind paying the same price for a short novel as a long one, and I've wondered if editing down these great tomes might make everyone more profit in the long run. Finishing more books, more often, should lead to more sales.

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Old 10-12-2010, 02:21 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Graham View Post
I was surprised how in the recent poll so many people like really long novels. I much prefer a concise novel, of a length that I finish more books more often - for the variety. I don't mind paying the same price for a short novel as a long one, and I've wondered if editing down these great tomes might make everyone more profit in the long run. Finishing more books, more often, should lead to more sales.

Graham
Exactly how I feel. I'm interested in Ken Follet's new novel "Fall of Giants" but it's like, 1100 pages. I don't think I'd have the patience to spend 2-3 weeks reading it. Maybe around Christmas Vacation I might get through it (College Student in Final year, so only time I get is around the holidays).
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Old 10-12-2010, 03:02 PM   #8
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A little digging, it seems Amazon Shorts was discontinued as of June 2010. The Singles program seems to be a revamped souped-up version.

Quote:
Amazon Shorts is an innovative program for readers to access short fiction and nonfiction of about 2,000-10,000 words from a large library of writers. Downloads are available in HTML, PDF or plain text format and are always saved in Your Media Library for future use. In addition, you can print out Amazon Shorts for future reading at your leisure.
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Dear Amazon Shorts Author:

We appreciate your client’s participation in Amazon Shorts. As you know, Amazon Shorts launched prior to the release of the Amazon Kindle and our Digital Text Platform (DTP). Due to these technology changes, we are discontinuing the Shorts program effective June 1, 2010. At that time, all Amazon Shorts will be removed from sale and distribution rights will revert back to the authors. We very much want to continue to offer your client’s Shorts to Amazon Kindle customers. Below you will find the steps for transitioning your client’s Shorts to our Kindle platform so that customers can continue to buy and read this work.
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Old 10-12-2010, 03:12 PM   #9
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The folks at ZDNet make several good points about Singles:
http://www.zdnet.com/blog/btl/amazon...20?tag=nl.e539

The one I find most compelling is that the shorter content would be a good fit for the Kindle apps on smartphones. For commuters.

I've also seen several people suggest we might see the return of serials.

The business case I find most interesting is for back list short fiction. In many (most?) cases authors retain rights on those stories so there's no need to get the BPHs involved. And for a lot of older magazine-published stories even a few hundred copies sold could deliver move revenue to the author than the initial sale. There's a lot of author good will coming Amazon's way if this thing takes off.

As for organization, well at a minimum, Kindle has Collections so setting up a tag for shorts is easy. Or maybe there will be a firmware update that will physically segregrate them the same way news and magazines are.

Any way you look at it this is going to be a relatively high-visibility channel for short-form content which has few if any outlets these days.
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Old 10-12-2010, 03:37 PM   #10
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I love the idea, if done right, to bring back the short form pulp.

If used as "Here's only Chapter 1 - 3 of my $15.99 novel" then I'm going to have an issue.

Kudos to Torres. I wanted to be the first person to post this one, but you beat me to the bunch

As a writer who seems to specialize in the Sub-70 range, I'm all for a return to serailized and short form novellas.

But my idea of serialization may be different from other people's perspective. I want a complete, concise story in the serial. Cliffhanger ending preferred. I don't want Chapter 1 of the Next Great American Novel to read 40 pages of nothing happening until the last page and a half.

If Joe Awesome, the Super Spy goes on an adventure to infiltrate the Russian Space Mine, I want him to infiltrate the Russian Space Mine and get the data he needs to get. We'll worry about getting home in Episode 2.

Last edited by jaxx6166; 10-12-2010 at 03:51 PM.
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Old 10-12-2010, 04:31 PM   #11
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But my idea of serialization may be different from other people's perspective. I want a complete, concise story in the serial. Cliffhanger ending preferred. I don't want Chapter 1 of the Next Great American Novel to read 40 pages of nothing happening until the last page and a half.
No need to fear; the classic SF Serials worked exactly that way.
For that matter, a lot of the great SF of the 40's and 50's was either serials (Lensmen) or Novellas and Novelettes (The Foundation Trilogy was no such thing; it was just a series of short stories and Novellas).

On Singles (not thrilled by the name since the analogy with music albums implies unbundled Anthologies rather than standalones) it is going to be up to Amazon to make sure the content is standalone rather than extracts.
But then, if Amazon doesn't, the community will.

That's what 1-star reviews are for.
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Old 10-12-2010, 05:57 PM   #12
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Hopefully, the price and/or listing will be unique to separate them from the full length material.
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Old 10-12-2010, 06:47 PM   #13
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But in many cases, 10,000 to 30,000 words (roughly 30 to 90 pages) might be the perfect, natural length to lay out a single killer idea, well researched, well argued and well illustrated--whether it's a business lesson, a political point of view, a scientific argument, or a beautifully crafted essay on a current event.
...
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.
I don't see fiction mentioned in there.
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Old 10-12-2010, 07:07 PM   #14
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A brilliant move, in my opinion.

And yet another reason why Amazon is leading this market. Other competitors are focussed on suing other shareholders or figuring out which stores to close or beating down notions like expanding outside the US or why touch screen is obviously much more important than an always connected device.

Kobo does not yet have a clearly defined author's program. I wonder if that's in their future bag of tricks?
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Old 10-12-2010, 08:45 PM   #15
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I dunno, doesn't this ability already exist on Amazon?

One of my favorite living authors, Kristine Kathryn-Rusch has several short novels/long stories up on the Kindle store

For instance

http://www.amazon.com/Recovery-Mans-...6930092&sr=8-2

I think this is just going to have the effect of driving out the lesser known authors and indies, and replacing it with shorter from the same crap that makes up the bestseller list. Stephen King, Sieg Larrson, James Patterson, whatever junk Oprah is pushing.

I mean, face it, people are sheep when it comes to buying stuff, be it music, movies or books. Why give someone new a chance when they can buy the latest piece of claptrap from the authors they are told they are supposed to read?

Price used to be a factor. But now that is out the window, as a $2.99 novella or story from a big name author is now directly competing with a $2.99 novel from others.
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