Visit Amazon today, and you’ll see something new: “Kindle Singles.” In its Kindle Store, Amazon is now offering what are basically shorter ebooks — somewhere between 5,000 and 30,000 words. In a press release today, Amazon argued that before Kindle Singles, “Writers often had to choose between making their work short enough for a magazine article or long enough to deliver the ‘heft’ required for book marketing and distribution.” Their hope is that each Kindle Single will “allow a single killer idea…to be expressed at its natural length.”
Throughout today a link to “Kindle Singles” appeared on the front page of Amazon.com — and when you’re using your Kindle, it’s at the very top of the Kindle Store’s front page. There’s currently only 22 titles, but Amazon hopes the selection will grow. Among the “Kindle Single” titles are the first ever books from the popular TED conferences (whose motto is “Ideas Worth Spreading.”) And in their “Kindle Daily Post” blog, Amazon also described some of the other interesting new titles.
For example, they write, “Nowhere else will you find a Hollywood memoir which manages to merge sex clubs, murder, and Mary Tyler Moore.” It’s got a great title — “How to Not Succeed in Show Business By Really Trying” — and it’s already Amazon’s #1 best-seling book in their Business Humor subection. And Amazon’s Kindle blog also talks up The Real Lebowski — “an intimate profile of the Hollhywood icon and Coen brothers inspiration by Vanity Fair contributing editor, Rich Cohen.” Even at $2.99, it’s already one of the top-300 items in the entire Kindle store — and in the Kindle Single store, it’s the #5 best-selling item!)
So who is the real Lebowski? “He wrote the first draft of Apocalypse Now,” Amazon teases on the Kindle Store’s front page. “He discovered Arnold Scharzenegger. He wrote Clint Eastwood’s ‘Go ahead, make my day.’ The Vanity Fair writer and author of Sweet and Low trails tough-guy screenwriter/director John Milius as he fights to find his place in a transformed and unwelcoming movie business.” If you’re interested in Hollywood, it sounds very intriguing. But it also gives a hint about what knd of new, personal perspectives we’ll start seeing with Kindle Singles
I’ve always said ebooks would let more people get their thoughts published, but this new format could give writers yet-another tempting choice. Writer Ian Ayres said the new “Single” format “lets me more quickly and directly speak to the reader unhindered by page numbers or ad space.” And of course, writers want an easy way to tap into the growing market of Kindle owners. (“I love the reach of the Kindle platform,” Ayres says in Amazon’s press release. “Nowadays just about anyone can read a Kindle book on their phone or their laptop, or, of course, just on a Kindle.” )
If you’re using your web browser, the URL is amazon.com/kindlesingles. And if you believe Amazon’s Vice President of Content, you just might discover some exciting new perspectives, according to Amazon’s Vice President of Content. “We think customers will be riveted by these stories that can take them to a Swedish bank heist or to the Mexican border town of Juarez, or to consider a new way to think about happiness. ” And of course, the store also offers an equally riveting opportunity for any new aspiring author.
“The thieves had a handpicked crew, a stolen helicopter, a cache of explosives, and a plan to rob a $150-million cash repository.” That’s a line from Lifted — the “Swedish bank heist” story that he’s alluding to. But do you have your own a Single-sized idea to express? If so, Amazon apparently wants to hear what you’ve got to offer!
“The call remains open for serious writers, thinkers, scientists, business leaders, historians, politicians and publishers to submit works for Kindle Singles,” they announced at the end of their press release. “To be considered for Kindle Singles, interested parties should contact firstname.lastname@example.org.”
Who knows? Maybe you can be the 23rd person to publish a “Single” in Amazon’s Kindle store…