Amazon's Kindle Singles e-books: One shrewd business move

Amazon's Kindle store is getting more like a music store everyday. Now you can buy the whole book or just a "single"---an e-book that's about twice as long as a New Yorker feature.

Amazon's Kindle store is getting more like a music store everyday. Now you can buy a whole book or just a single---an e-book that's about twice as long as a New Yorker feature.

In a statement, Amazon called on writers, business types and other big thinkers to create Kindle Singles.

This move is a bit of e-commerce brilliance. Why? Amazon is moving to give you the meat of an idea---10,000 to 30,000---while saving you some time and expense. Kindle Singles will have their own section in the Kindle Store and be "priced much less than a typical book." Bottom line: There will be a big audience for Kindle Singles.

Also: The 10 best choices for an e-reader

But there are a bevy of business reasons why Kindle Singles is shrewd. Among the key reasons:

  • By calling on authors directly, Amazon may not have to deal with publishers and their pricing issues. After all, Kindle Singles is really a new category that may not fall under existing publishing contracts. In other words, Amazon can act as a publisher on "singles" without competing with its sometimes grumpy publishing partners.
  • And don't forget the Kindle ecosystem. I have a Kindle for long-form reading---and a screen with no glare---but Kindle Singles are much easier to digest on the Kindle App (on Android, iPhone, iPad, BlackBerry etc.). More than 50,000 words is a bear on an app. But 10,000 words is much better. Kindle Singles will be perfect for Amazon's app ecosystem enabled by its Whispersync platform.
  • If Kindle Singles is a hit, Amazon will have a key differentiator in the e-reader market against Barnes & Noble and Sony.

Overall, Amazon may just be onto something here.

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