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Old 04-28-2013, 10:19 PM   #1
Elfwreck
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Amazon eliminating short shorts?

Amazon's sending out emails (well, at least one confirmed, and presumably it's part of a form letter that'll be sent to many authors) saying that 2500 words is now the cutoff length for Kindle Direct:
Quote:
In the best interest of Kindle customers, we remove titles from sale that may create a poor customer experience. Content that is less than 2,500 words is often disappointing to our customers and does not provide an enjoyable reading experience.

We ask that you fix the above book(s), as well as all of your catalog’s affected books, with additional content that is both unique and related to your book. Once you have ensured your book(s) would create a good customer experience, re-submit them for publishing within 5 business days. If your books have not been corrected by that time, they will be removed from sale in the Kindle Store.
No word about whether this is a new official rule (I gather the TOS/instructions for KDP haven't been updated), nor whether it applies to all genres--it'd be ridiculous to apply this to children's books.

To forestall the inevitable "this will just help weed out the low-quality junk" claims:

1) Hemmingway's "A Clean, Well-Lighted Place" was 1140 words long;
2) Forcing authors to add 200-1200 words of baggage to their ebooks is not going to improve anyone's reading experience.

Amazon could fix the "poor customer experience" problem by putting a word count in their ebook listings. I gather they don't want to do that because readers will start noticing that print books don't have them... and they'll start comparing lengths and prices. Amazon could also sort stories by length, or by category (short story, novella, novel, epic-length); I gather they don't want to do that, for perhaps the same reasons.

No hint if this is a new global policy, related to specific complaints, only for some genres, or just whim-of-Amazon caprice, like the books that vanish from search for no reason anyone can get them to admit.

ETA: Apparently debunked. This seems to have been a single incident, rather than a new policy.

I'm leaving this instead of asking the mods to remove it, because a policy of "when we get complaints about length, we tell the author to add more stuff to the book" seems really strange.

Last edited by Elfwreck; 04-28-2013 at 10:31 PM. Reason: Followup info.
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Old 04-28-2013, 10:41 PM   #2
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Since this is not NEWS (now that the story has been proven false), it's being moved to GENERAL DISCUSSION.


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Old 04-29-2013, 10:40 AM   #3
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Stupid rule. As long as the customer knows how long the book is, who cares how many words it has...
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Old 04-29-2013, 01:36 PM   #4
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With paper books, the length of the book is obvious: you can see the book, pick it up, open it up to see how dense the text is. It does seem there are a significant number of people who don't understand book length for e-books. Word count tells you the length, but you need to understand what it means. Part of the problem is that those who complain the loudest about works being too short don't seem to recognize that they need to learn something about how to understand book length.
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Old 04-29-2013, 10:44 PM   #5
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My ereader has a sort of "page count" that is not calculated on the page turns on my ereader but on some sort of calculation on word count.
Doesn't Amazon have something like that?
I wouldn't know as I don't buy books from Amazon, but it seems to me that it would make sense to do something like that.

It would make more sense to people where word count doesn't mean much.
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Old 04-30-2013, 07:05 AM   #6
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When you look at the product page for a normal eBook, Amazon list a page count, either a real one (based on the pBook version), or an estimated one.
They don't seem to do this for Kindle Singles though.
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Old 05-01-2013, 05:55 PM   #7
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Apparently many customers can't be bothered to scroll down to find the page count. (And sometimes, Amazon only lists the filesize, which is meaningless. If there are any pictures inside--like the cover--that makes it impossible to estimate length.)

Amazon doesn't want to mention the length of ebooks; people would likely stop buying the $1 short stories... or stop paying $14.99 for 60k-word mainstream publisher books when they realize how much longer many of the indie books are.

While I think that 1500 words for a salable story is a bit silly, I can certainly understand it for a technical help guide, and I can't see that 1700 words is a reasonable length but 1400 is not.
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Old 05-02-2013, 12:57 PM   #8
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I reached the point where I either must have a page or word count before I purchase a book. I very very rarely would purchase a book that is a short short even for $.99.
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Old 05-02-2013, 01:06 PM   #9
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Some time ago I picked up a book, The Second Mate's Cup of Tea. (currently 0.99 at B&N, and $2.99 at Amazon). When I picked it up, it was labeled a short story. What it is, is a short-short. I wasn't expecting a novella, but I was expecting more than a couple of pages. It's cute, but even 0.99 is probably too much for what it is.

On the other hand, I think expectations for paying for indy books is changing. I have a 25+ page collection of short stories that I want to sell (when I'm finished with them), and I've been told at the writer's corner here that 0.99 may even be seen as over charging for the collection.
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Old 05-02-2013, 01:19 PM   #10
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Lots of people shouldn't be allowed to wear short shorts.
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Old 05-02-2013, 03:01 PM   #11
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Just a hunch, this might have something to do with all the expensive erotica that I've seen on Smashwords. People buy a piece without looking at the word count, and realize that its only 2500 or so.

Although it could also be to encourge authors to anthologize or write an omnibus, instead of publishing each short individually.
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Old 05-02-2013, 03:56 PM   #12
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I was concerned you meant they would no longer be selling short shorts.

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss...t+shorts+women
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Old 05-03-2013, 08:57 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ntsimp View Post
Lots of people shouldn't be allowed to wear short shorts.
Thank god! That elephant in the room was getting bigger by the second!

All I could think of was that old Nair commercial; "We wear short shorts."
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Old 05-03-2013, 06:03 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jersysman View Post
I reached the point where I either must have a page or word count before I purchase a book. I very very rarely would purchase a book that is a short short even for $.99.
Terry Brooks released two short stories for $0.99 recently; they are 35 and 42 pages, when counting 2400 characters as a page. I think that's a nice length for a short story. I seem to remember that a word had an average of 6 letters, so that would be 400 words a page, or about 14-16.500 words for such a story.

A story of 2500 words or even shorter is silly, IMHO. That would come down to around 6.5 paperback pages. That's the length of a high school writing assignment. At least, it would be in the Netherlands.
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