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Old 01-26-2011, 11:25 AM   #1
koland
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Kindle Singles

You've probably heard of Amazon's plans to introduce a new class of ebook, the Single. The description has sounded like it could mean short stories or novellas, but would also encompass non-fiction, which has meant mostly the business short, so far. The problem with all of these categories, though, has been that with ebooks, it's difficult to tell which one they belong to, as even the filesize isn't always a good indicator of a full length novel or a doorstopper, since any images are included. Today, Amazon has released the first entries in their Singles series and we see that there is mostly short non-fiction plus collections of short stories with a single theme (and, so far, a single author) and a longer short story (that is perhaps even novella length). Here's Amazon's description of the category:

Quote:
Each Kindle Single presents a compelling idea--well researched, well argued, and well illustrated--expressed at its natural length. From an elaborate bank heist in Lifted, to Congolese rebel camps in The Invisible Enemy, to Jodi Picoult’s moving portrayal of family in Leaving Home, they offer nuanced journeys of both fact and fiction. This first set of Singles was selected by our team of editors, and includes works by Rich Cohen, Pete Hamill, Darin Strauss, and Ian Ayres. We hope you enjoy reading them as much as we have.
All current prices are under three dollars and the title always has (Kindle Single) at the end, so that you know you are buying a shorter piece. Here are a few of the ones that I thought were interesting:

Darkstar ($2.99), by Christopher R. Howard, whose first novel, Tea of Ulaanbaatar ($9.17 paperback pre-order), "a story about the Peace Corps, Mongol hordes, hallucinogenic tea, and American nightmares", is due to be released in May.

Haunted by a diabolical voice, Sailor is a homeless Irish teen who seeks to reunite with the soulmate he hasn't seen since boyhood, as a cosmic event threatens to extinguish life on Earth. "Darkstar" is a pre-apocalyptic tale of love in the most dire and desperate of realities.


Jodi Picoult's Leaving Home: Short Pieces ($2.99) is an example of the work that many authors have hiding in their office, unpublished due to the perception that there isn't a market for short story collections (and, truthfully, there probably isn't for even mainstream bookstores that specialize in bestsellers, let along discount stores that also carry books).

Leaving Home brings together three, previously published short pieces, each dealing with a variation on the theme of leaving home. The first, “Weights and Measures,” deals with the tragic loss of a child; the second is a non-fiction letter Picoult wrote to her eldest son as he left for college; and, “Ritz” tells the story of a mother who takes the vacation all mothers need sometime.


The $500 Diet: Weight Loss for People Who Are Committed to Change ($2.99), by Ian Ayres, is definitely not your mom's diet book.

Most diet books obsess about what you should put in your mouth. But information is not the problem. You already know that to lose weight you need to eat a bit less or exercise a bit more.

The $500 Diet is a different kind of diet plan, because it doesn’t tell you how much to eat or exercise. You are smart enough—with the help of the Internet and dozens of dieting books—to figure that out. What’s unique about The $500 Diet is that it works on another dimension. It lets you change your own incentives to lose weight. New York Times best-selling author, Ian Ayres, tells you about his own struggles with weight loss, and lays out advice for how you can use commitment contracts to safely lose 10 percent of your body weight. You’ll learn about his seven-step plan to a happier and lighter you. Most important, Ayres tells you what you should do to keep it off. Most diet books are written by physicians and scientists, but Ayres is a contract lawyer and an economist who uses the tools of his crafts to help you change how much you want to eat. If you are serious about losing weight, The $500 Diet provides a simple tool that can help you commit to a healthier life. If you’d rather lose a pound next week instead of losing 500 bucks, then this is the diet for you. This booklet is a companion to the book Carrots and Sticks: Unlock the Power of Incentives to Get Things Done.



Piano Demon: The globetrotting, gin-soaked, too-short life of Teddy Weatherford, the Chicago jazzman who conquered Asia ($1.99), by Brendan I. Koerner

Piano Demon: The globetrotting, gin-soaked, too-short life of Teddy Weatherford, the Chicago jazzman who conquered Asia

At age six, Teddy Weatherford was working in the coal mines of Virginia. By his early twenties he was the toast of Chicago’s jazz scene, rivaling Louis Armstrong and wowing Jelly Roll Morton with his piano talent. But when Weatherford left segregated America for the allures of Shanghai and Bombay, he set out on a adventure he hadn't imagined. The man they called “The Seagull” would become the globetrotting jazz king of Asia in the shadow of World War II, and provide the soundtrack for the last gasp of an empire. The Atavist, a new home for original nonfiction storytelling, presents Brendan I. Koerner's true tale of how a forgotten legend lived the American Dream by leaving it behind—and helped globalize music with a piano and a sharkskin suit.

Brendan I. Koerner is an award-winning journalist and the author of Now the Hell Will Start: One Soldier’s Flight From the Greatest Manhunt of World War II (Penguin, 2008), which was optioned for film by Spike Lee. He is also a contributing editor at Wired, and contributor to Slate.com, The New York Times, and many other publications.



Chinese Dreams ($2.99), by Anand Giridharadas

What does the next generation of Chinese want -- besides economic growth? A report from China on the country's search for meaning, by Anand Giridharadas, columnist for the International Herald Tribune and The New York Times online, and author of "India Calling: An Intimate Portrait of a Nation's Remaking."

Amazon.com Review
When Westerners think about China, they see unbridled authoritarianism, censorship, and propaganda used to control a diverse, dissatisfied population. They see the grow-at-any-cost mentality: corruption, factory sweatshops, pollution, lead-tainted toys, and massive infrastructure projects. But how do Chinese view themselves? Author Anand Giridharadas, who writes on global culture for The New York Times and the International Herald Tribune, ventures to four of the country's largest cities, spending time with people across a range of professions. He discovers that many Chinese feel that the country has grown too quickly--centuries of progress in decades--and lost its roots in a massive money chase. Part narrative, part reporting, Chinese Dreams is contextually intelligent, exploring a country and people adrift between borrowed and inherited cultures. Voyeuristic and deeply nuanced, this well-written piece tells the stories of people trying both to hold on and to let go of their culture. --Paul Diamond



Long Island Shaolin ($1.99), by Darin Strauss

Amazon.com Review
Now he's a New-York-based author of three acclaimed novels, but as a teenager, Darin Strauss was more interested in martial arts than literary arts. In elementary school Strauss was beaten up in a big brawl. At the start of junior high school he began watching Shaolin kung fu movies. When Strauss became a teenager, a kung fu master opens a school in his neighborhood, and so begins this puerile coming-of-age story featuring retributive justice, adrenaline, lots of bruises, and a kung fu master who takes a kick in the groin without wincing or flinching. Strauss brings people to life with captivating physical and psychological descriptions that go straight to the core of the awkward teenage years. His brief, informative history of Shaolin serves to balance the shenanigans of the teenagers, who are always scheming to get each other beaten up by their unremittingly abusive instructor. --Paul Diamond

More Kindle Singles (or visit the Kindle Singles Page)

The Real Lebowski
The Invisible Enemy
They Are Us
Octomom and the Politics of Babies
How To Not Succeed In Show Business By Really Trying
Rescuing Evil
Homo Evolutis
The Happiness Manifesto
Days of Thunder
The Dead Women of Juárez
The Business of Media
Reboot-enanny
Beware Dangerism!
Journey to the Edge of the Light
Pakistan and the Mumbai Attacks
Lifted

Last edited by koland; 01-26-2011 at 12:53 PM.
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Old 01-26-2011, 11:50 AM   #2
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Wow, you'd think I'd murdered somebody.

You didn't put the main Amazon link for people to go to, that's why I put it in. But if you're going to go crazy over it, fine, and since you've changed the OP, I'm deleting my post. Lordy.

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Old 01-26-2011, 12:21 PM   #3
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Is it bad of me to want to begin compiling free links to most of the available Singles?

For instance:

Last edited by thename; 01-26-2011 at 12:41 PM. Reason: Remove affiliation from Amazon link (sorry!)
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Old 01-26-2011, 12:29 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thename View Post
Is it bad of me to want to begin compiling free links to most of the available Singles?
No, that would be GOOD of you. I for one would be interested in your free links compilation!
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Old 01-26-2011, 12:31 PM   #5
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Interesting -- I noticed that the $500 diet had two listings, one as a single and one not, both about the same size and the same publication date, but it's pulled from a larger book. I wonder how many of the non-fiction selections are being published as articles?

Also, note that the program originally announced that there would be a $4.99 upper limit on prices, but all the current listings are $2.99 or less, as I noted in the original post. Also, I included links for all the currently listed titles; like Amazon Encore, no doubt they will add more over time, but these are at least "selected", if not re-edited, so have had a bit more vetting than many of the shorts posted in the Kindle store.
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Old 01-26-2011, 12:33 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arcadata View Post
This is the direct link for the Amazon Kindle Single page so you can see all the included books.
The original post contains all the included books ... but thanks for adding your own affiliate link to the thread (without any work creating a post with content).

moderator - feel free to delete this.
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Old 01-26-2011, 12:46 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by koland View Post
The original post contains all the included books ... but thanks for adding your own affiliate link to the thread (without any work creating a post with content).

moderator - feel free to delete this.
You should add your own link to the "all books" page in your first post... I prefer to browse by thumbnail, and the listings can change between the time I read your initial all-single-spaced-text post and actually click the link. Given the choice, I always click the link that takes me to the all-in page rather than clicking book by book.
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Old 01-26-2011, 12:53 PM   #8
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Your wish, my command, etc....
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Old 01-26-2011, 01:00 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arcadata View Post
No, that would be GOOD of you. I for one would be interested in your free links compilation!
I, of course, spoke much too soon and, after some work have determined this is not as easy as it would seem. I cynically assumed this was another effort at monetizing freely available (e.g., $1.99 a month for Boing Boing)

My apologies to all for putting the cart before the horse.
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Old 01-27-2011, 12:49 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thename View Post
Is it bad of me to want to begin compiling free links to most of the available Singles?

For instance:
Funny that at the bottom of the free version is this:

Quote:
DON'T MISS OUR LATEST STORIES
Kindle Singles from Amazon Features ProPublica Content
Heh. Also, you can download your Instapaper for free by hitting the website with the browser. No need for Calibre, nor any need to pay conversion costs if you're still on a good old K1 or K2.
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