“Compelling ideas expressed at their natural length.” That’s Amazon’s tagline for their popular Kindle Singles program. And while Singles hasn’t exactly been a major industry disruptor I believe it lays the foundation for some of the bigger, bolder initiatives Amazon is planning for the future. I also believe it’s a model that will become much more common over time.
The formula looks like this:
1.End the practice of artificially puffing up content
The greatest aspect of Kindle Singles is, of course, their short length. The first one I read was a Single about media and I remember thinking how a typical business book editor would have asked the author to turn this 30-page gem into a bloated 300-page mess. It happens all the time and it’s a function of both physical shelf presence and perceived value. In the ebook world there’s suddenly no physical bookshelf an individual title has to have a spine presence on. Now we just need to stop equating “shorter” with “cheaper”…more on that in a moment.
2.Attention spans are shrinking
Face it. With very few exceptions you’re probably thrilled to read all this short-form content that didn’t exist 10 years ago. Blogs, no matter what they’re called, are very popular. Then came Twitter with its 140-character bursts of information. Let’s also not forget about all the other terrific short-form content services like Byliner that we’ve grown to love. Shortened content is also why The Week is such a popular magazine. Kindle Singles is just tapping into our desire to find the Cliff’s Notes on everything so that we can quickly read it and move on.