Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Honey, I Shrunk the E-Book: Amazon Slicing "Singles" for Kindle [UPDATED]

No reason not to do this: Amazon is carving out room on its digital shelves for “Singles”–essentially, mini e-books for its Kindle platform.

Or, if you prefer, you can think of them as very long magazine articles. Here’s the company’s description of the new program:

Today, Amazon is announcing that it will launch “Kindle Singles”—Kindle books that are twice the length of a New Yorker feature or as much as a few chapters of a typical book. Kindle Singles will have their own section in the Kindle Store and be priced much less than a typical book. Today’s announcement is a call to serious writers, thinkers, scientists, business leaders, historians, politicians and publishers to join Amazon in making such works available to readers around the world.

Amazon being Amazon (AMZN), there’s nothing else of substance in its press release, but I have asked the company to answer some basic questions. From my email to Amazon PR:

1) Please provide an anticipated pricing range
2) Please explain how wholesale pricing will work
3) Is this program directed at conventional publishers, or does Amazon anticipate that most of the Singles will be self-published by the authors themselves?

UPDATE: Here’s Amazon’s response. Apologies for not getting these up sooner: Amazon sent them along shortly after I posted my story Tuesday morning, but somehow they were swallowed up in an email vortex–some sort of recurring problem I have with Apple Mail client and Google App email.


1) Prices will be less than a typical book.

2) With any particular publisher, pricing and terms will be consistent with our general terms with that publisher.

3) We expect to work directly with publishers and also for writers themselves to publish Kindle Singles.

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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus