Monday, January 31, 2011

Kindle Singles

One of the highlights in last week's digital news was the announcement of Amazon's new "Kindle Singles." The idea is a short work limited to at most 30k words, but well-researched. One of the more interesting aspects is one of the first ever books published by TED -- the site and conference which has the inspiring and thought provoking videos and content.

The concept is an interesting one -- and moves Amazon into a unique content-production business that could be viewed as a first step into new forms of competition for publishers, and begins to change the author-publisher dynamic for certain types of work. I will admit, it is the first real content or development that has made me consider downloading the Kindle app to one of my devices.

To be fair, the concept is not entirely new, though. I see similarities to the "Nooners" and "Spicy Briefs" concepts pioneered more by publishers like Harlequin a couple years ago. That is -- recognizing that there is a niche for short works on a topic or by a favorite author, that can be delivered digitally on demand, and which might be used to drive demand for additional short works, or additional longer works by the same author. It will be interesting to watch where these pieces will go in the future.

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