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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Shorter reading on your kindle

Amazon Launches First Singles List

Back in October, I mused about the advantages of a new Amazon initiative, of issuing shorter works on kindle at a greatly reduced price.

Now, the idea has come into concrete (or digital) reality.

Amazon has posted their first list of just over 20 Kindle Singles.  As promised, they are short nonfiction digital works -- 'typically between 5,000 and 30,000 words,' they say, which covers a lot of territory.  It is rather hard to tell just what you are buying, too, as there are no page counts. Customers' only way of judging is to guess by the price -- currently ranging from 99 cents to $2.99 -- and kilobyte counts to estimate how much wordage they are getting for their money.

Among the titles is a version of Pete Hamill's piece on immmigration, They Are Us.   Originally lbilled last year as a Little Brown 40,000 to 50,000-word digital original, it failed to appear. Hamill had not delivered as intended, it seems, reportedly backing off the project because of his wife's illness.

Priced at 99 cents and running 91 kilobytes, it would appear to be a shorter version.

Other contributing authors include Jodi Picoult (writing on parenting), Darin Strauss, Evan Ratliff, Mark Greif and Jonathan Littell. The site says the first offerings were "selected by our team of editors."

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