Reflections by award-winning maritime historian Joan Druett, author of many books about the sea
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Wednesday, October 13, 2010
MEDIUM-LENGTH HISTORY ON YOUR KINDLE?
It could be the answer for thousands of frustrated historians who write readable, well-crafted prose, just to see their papers languish in scarcely read academic journals. It could also solve the problem of the fascinating topic that is too long for a single paper, and too short for a proper book.
A news release issued today (12 October 2010) by Amazon begins: "Less than 10,000 words or more than 50,000: that is the choice writers have generally faced for more than a century -- works either had to be short enough for a magazine article or long enough to deliver the 'heft' required to book marketing and distribution."
Now, they say, they have the answer to this untapped store of novella-length nonfiction -- "Kindle Singles." These are books that are twice the length of a New Yorker feature, or about the same length as a few chapters of a regular book. Naturally, they will be priced to match their length -- a bargain for researchers, who want more than is available in books, but haven't the resources to search all the relevant journals..
The announcement is aimed at "serious writers, thinkers, scientisits, business leaders, historians, politicians and publishers," who are invited to "join Amazon in making such works available to readers around the world."
How much money would there be in it? Not much, at a guess. But it certainly promises an outlet for work that is both too brief and too long to be considered by the publishing world, both trade and academic.