By Mark Long
|October 12, 2010 2:00PM
Amazon.com’s new Kindle Singles content-creation platform offers authors a way to publish works too long for a magazine but too short for traditional books. A problem with using Kindle Singles is Amazon’s proprietary e-book format. An alternative is Barnes & Noble’s PubIt, which uses the open EPUB format and provides greater royalties to authors.
Amazon.com has unveiled a new Kindle content -creation platform for authors of shorter works running roughly 30 to 90 pages. With Kindle Singles, the goal is to give writers the ability to publish content that is either too long to submit to a magazine or too short to fit the marketing and distribution requirements of traditional book-publishing houses, the online retail giant said Tuesday.
The shorter e-book titles will have their own dedicated section within the Kindle Store and will be priced under what consumers typically pay for full-length books, noted Kindle Content Vice President Russ Grandinetti.
“Ideas and the words to deliver them should be crafted to their natural length, not to an artificial marketing length that justifies a particular price or a certain format,” Grandinetti said. “With Kindle Singles, we’re reaching out to publishers and accomplished writers, and we’re excited to see what they create.”
Published in 72 Hours
Kindle Singles is merely the latest online endeavor that promises to give aspiring content creators more avenues for bringing their latest works to market. Earlier this month, Barnes & Noble rolled out a new PubIt platform that gives book authors all the tools they need to convert their digital files to the EPUB format used by many of today’s e-readers and advanced mobile handsets, with their works becoming available for online purchase within 24 to 72 hours after upload.
“The launch of our PubIt platform further reinforces our long-standing commitment to authors and writers, and offers a significant opportunity to provide an even greater selection of reading material to our millions of customers,” said Theresa Horner, director of digital products at Barnes & Noble.
Barnes & Noble is hoping to attract loads of new writers by agreeing to royalties well beyond the 10 to 12 percent rates typically offered by mainstream publishing houses. For example, self-publishers using the new PubIt platform with titles priced from $2.99 to $9.99 will receive 65 percent of the list price for each e-book sold.
Mainstream publishers will no doubt be less than pleased with the idea of having some of their largest distributors become competitors. With Kindle Singles, however, Amazon clearly hopes to attract “serious writers, thinkers, scientists, business leaders, historians, politicians and publishers” who might not otherwise be able to publish shorter works using a traditional publishing outlet.
The main disadvantage to publishing through Amazon’s Kindle platform is the proprietary nature of the online retailer’s e-reader file format. On the other hand, Kindle Singles titles will be available for reading across the many platforms that currently support this spec — from dedicated Kindle e-reading devices to a wide range of advanced mobile handsets, PCs and Apple’s iPad.
In every case, Amazon’s homegrown Whispersync technology will save and synchronize the reader’s bookmarks across devices. Additionally, Kindle Singles titles will be automatically backed up online in the user’s Kindle library on Amazon, where they can be re-downloaded wirelessly.
By contrast, Barnes & Noble points out that its own breakthrough LendMe technology gives e-book customers the unrivaled ability to share purchases with friends. All e-books offered via PubIt will be lendable, giving the customer the opportunity to share the book once with any friend for up to 14 days, the company said.