Kindle Singles and the Future of Ebooks

This post, by Joe Wikert, originally appeared on his Digital Content Strategies blog on 10/21/13.

“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.


Click here to read the rest of the post on Digital Content Strategies.


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