Amazon is continuing to ramp up for the holidays with the introduction of Kindle Singles, offerings that aren't quite a novel but are more than a magazine article. Just last month, the service began offering iTunes-esque previews of content, recognizing that users may want to peek at what they're buying before actually buying it.
Now, with Kindle Singles, the company is recognizing that it has officially escaped the constraints of the printed word.
From Amazon's press release:
Less than 10,000 words or more than 50,000: that is the choice writers have generally faced for more than a century--works either had to be short enough for a magazine article or long enough to deliver the "heft" required for book marketing and distribution. But in many cases, 10,000 to 30,000 words (roughly 30 to 90 pages) might be the perfect, natural length to lay out a single killer idea, well researched, well argued and well illustrated--whether it's a business lesson, a political point of view, a scientific argument, or a beautifully crafted essay on a current event.
Russ Grandinetti, vice president of Kindle Content, says that, "Ideas and the words to deliver them should be crafted to their natural length." Amazon is describing the move as, "a call to serious writers, thinkers, scientists, business leaders, historians, politicians and publishers to join Amazon in making such works available to readers around the world." The only thing we wonder is, what took so long?
Amazon is opening itself up to a market that, surprisingly, seems wide-open still. While many of us live in a world where we no longer consider such things as a page count, the world of publishers is still constrained by the base physicality of print. By abandoning the physical requirements of print, which become arbitrary when transferred over to digital media, the Kindle is breathing new life into the novella and providing a platform for those works that may be uncomfortably long for the desktop computer, but perfect for the cross-country flight.
All we can really say is, welcome to the real reason e-readers will change the way we think and interact with words.