Amazon is now offering Amazon Shorts, allowing customers to sample the works of new authors through “exclusive short form literature, for 49 cents each.” These mini books can be downloaded as pdfs or read on the site. Either way, they remain available online in the customer’s personal “digital locker.” They’re not currently copy protected.
The first question is what took them so long?
Although they’re pitching many well-known, mainstream authors in their first release — including folks like Danielle Steele, Robin Cook and Kim Stanley Robinson — the shorts program will allow even unknown authors to easily hawk their “short form” wares at the largest bookstore on earth, and I think the program is uniquely suited to reference and how-to.
They tout the benefits of buidling backlist most of all: from their site —
Benefits of participation in Amazon Shorts:
Access a powerful marketing tool to promote an author’s backlist in a new and meaningful way
Create an author profile page with biography, photo, and complete backlist
Maintain author’s visibility between published projects
Establish a more direct and frequent communication with readers
Introduce readers to unfamiliar writers
Provide a new outlet to sell short fiction and nonfiction
It will be interesting to see how this develops, and of course I’m trying to learn what the royalty pay-out will look like.