Amazon Invents the Novella

Amazon is bringing another amazing product to market, reports eBookNewser. Hold onto your hats. Amazon now will sell short fiction in digital form – and for less than what it charges for a novel (gee, thanks!)

These new books [Kindle Singles], which are categorized as between 10,000 and 30,000 words –or about 30-90 pages– will have their own section in the Kindle Store and be priced less than a typical eBook.

This is essentially the length of a novella as defined in the Hugo Award rules (between 17,500 and 40,000 words). The science fiction genre has been marketing novellas in electronic form for some time now. So what immediately came to my mind were the Cold War-era jokes about the Soviet Union’s latest announcement that a Russian really had invented some appliance or technology the West credited to Thomas Edison or the like.   

Yet it will be news if Amazon has learned to use its Kindle platform to sell short fiction, having deemed the original Amazon Shorts program too unsuccessful to continue.

[Thanks to John Mansfield for the story.]

13 thoughts on “Amazon Invents the Novella

  1. *sigh* Another new piece of hardware to replace every couple of years because of upgrades to the software or obsolescence of the design.

  2. Perhaps Amazon is calling these bits of fiction “Singles” because they believe no one knows what a novella is?

    Taral: as tech toys go, I would argue that the Kindle is not all that new having been officially released Nov 19, 2007.

  3. @Gary: “Press releases are not reliable sources of information.”

    There’s a statement that doesn’t withstand scrutiny.

    Or am I supposed to think that BookViewCafe isn’t selling books, Renovation isn’t taking members, authors aren’t appearing at the New York Review of SF Readings, Stephen Haffner isn’t pumping out Jack Williamson collections, TAFF doesn’t really want candidates, et tedious cetera?

  4. My novella “Sunday in the Park with George” is on Kindle. So are four shorter pieces of fiction. E-book publishing does eliminate the tyrany of having to write to a predetermined length to get something in a print magazine. The first publication of “Buying Retail” was shortened by a thousand words, but I write tight and they went back in when I put into Kindle form.

    I was an Amazon Shorts author. It did not work well for serializations. For intermediate works, it was fine. What killed the program was a lack of staff and promotion. That and the unfortunate fact that when you did a search for the term, you got underwear.

  5. “Or am I supposed to think that BookViewCafe isn’t selling books, Renovation isn’t taking members, authors aren’t appearing at the New York Review of SF Readings, Stephen Haffner isn’t pumping out Jack Williamson collections, TAFF doesn’t really want candidates, et tedious cetera?”

    Mike, pal, buddy, friend (I hope), I’m sure you understand that the proposition “press releases are not reliable sources of information” is not contradicted by the existence of accurate press releases.

    Press releases are pointers towards alleged information. Sometimes it’s correct info, sometimes it’s incorrect info, often it’s a mix of correct and incorrect info. I’m sure we agree this is an uncontroversial observation.

    Francis Hamit’s last paragraph suggests to me that Amazon wasn’t thinking sufficiently outside the box, and commissioning extremely mini-short stories to be sold on underwear….

  6. @Gary: I think the spirit of your criticism was on point. The literal wording didn’t elicit my most flexible response, however, coming on the heels of your fully Googlized annihlation of my post.

    I had prepared myself for something more along the lines of a simple observation like “nowhere in the press release did Amazon claim to have invented the novella.” Fortunately, no one has noticed that.

  7. Apologies about the three (short) comments, which gave the appearance of some sort of hammering or over-importance. I have a number of bad online habits that I continue to work on, which include a tendency to find relevant info quickly, post it, and then find some more than I can’t resist adding. If I could have deleted the prior comments and combined them into one, I would have.

    But my intent wasn’t any sort of “so there, so there, so there!,” but simply providing more links as I noticed them. Since it’s entirely reasonable that this sort of background motivation doesn’t come across at all in text unless the writer tends to both have more skill at and make more effort at clarity than I tend to and should, I apologize for not coming across as I intended, which, alas, is a disease I suffer from all too often.

    Also, I tend to focus on whatever’s at hand in somewhat obsessive fashion, until the next shiny thing distracts me, which also tends to make me come across in far more prosecuting attorney fashion than I sometimes intend. Lastly, much of my writing style of the past fifteen years has developed in the political blogosphere, which the style does tend towards the very blunt. Anyway, sorry about that.

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