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

Summary: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.


Topics: Mobility, Amazon, Hardware


Larry Dignan is Editor in Chief of ZDNet and SmartPlanet as well as Editorial Director of ZDNet's sister site TechRepublic. He was most recently Executive Editor of News and Blogs at ZDNet. Prior to that he was executive news editor at eWeek and news editor at Baseline. He also served as the East Coast news editor and finance editor at CN... Full Bio

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