A number of platforms have offered great content in a short essay, long-form journalism environment, but it has typically been informative, expository non-fiction pieces. But news came out this week about a quiet launch from Amazon that will offer short works of fiction to be consumed in one-sitting, as the site is referring to it. Amazon’s Short Reads, which features short stories by prominent authors, will sell content in the $1.99 price range that is intended to satisfy a quick story urge without the commitment of a full-length work.
“I think short form helped make it culturally acceptable that your work doesn’t have to be 70,000 words before you can charge for it,” sated Matthew Cavnar of a Vook, a site that pioneered immediate-to-market yet high-quality consumable content. “That’s been one of the biggest impacts I’ve seen it have — it’s freed people to charge for what they’ve written and helped them realize that 10,000 words can make them as much money as 100,000 — provided they’re the right 10,000 words.”
Interestingly, Amazon has essentially freed readers up to judge a book by how long it will take them to read it, as the site includes a section where titles are designated by reading time. Of course, Amazon’s other contributions to innovative reading–like its Kindle Worlds licensed fan fiction titles–can also be found in a separate section. Amazon’s own dedicated site for short non-fiction pieces are also represented.
Short Reads launched with some impressive content, including titles by HP Mallory, John Grisham, and Veronica Roth, giving home to content that was already available but that didn’t have its own dedicated consumer space to highlight its benefits. Also included on the front page are self-published titles and how-to works, two areas where authors have felt the pinch of lack of promotion.
This isn’t the first wave of short fiction titles in recent months, as subscription-reading platform Rooster launched this spring as the answer to Scribd and Oyster’s all-you-can-eat models. While those sites offer members full-length works in an unlimited model, Rooster speaks to the needs of readers who just want something quick to fill the time and therefore opt for a lesser expensive serialized concept.