amazon shorts: short literary works delivered digitally 08.25.2005, 3:59 PM
posted by ben vershbow
Amazon Shorts offers 49¢ downloads of short fiction and nonfiction in .pdf, html and text-only email, seemingly without copy or printing restrictions. Amazon a publisher? The chapbook reborn? Not quite. Amazon Shorts is primarily a marketing program, available only to established authors who have other titles to sell - a sort of appetizer course to encourage larger book purchases. But it's probably suggestive of where advertising in general is headed.
Television entertainment was originally conceived as a way to create a captive audience for advertising. Now, consumers have greater and greater ability to tune out the ads and focus on the entertainment - fast-forwarding on Tivo, or, on the web, clicking through, or closing the pop-up window. As a result, marketers are trying to figure out how to make the ads destinations in themselves - to develop a format where the ad and the entertainment are inseparable, even indistinguishable. Recall the Superbowl, where high-budget, elaborately produced ads are as much an attraction as the game itself (some would say more). Or BMW Films, creator of "The Hire" - a series of short films by major international directors, starring Clive Owen and, of course, a sexy Z4 Roadster.
Expect more of this short form blend of advertising and entertainment in film, certainly, and even (if the "Shorts" series is any indication) in books.
Posted by ben vershbow on August 25, 2005 3:59 PM
tags: Publishing, Broadcast, and the Press
Georganna Hancock on August 28, 2005 2:12 PM:
I had a similar post on the 26th (though I had not seen yours) on Writer's Edge, coming to a similar conclusion. I didn't see any information that indicates this program is only open to established writers. I'd be interested to know where you found that, or was it speculation on your part?
ben vershbow on August 30, 2005 12:16 PM:
Nowhere does it explicitly say that only established authors can participate. But that seemed to me to be the implication. "This is a great way for authors to maintain a more direct and frequent communication with their readers as well as promote their backlist." It seems unlikely that an unknown writer could break onto the scene through this program, though I would be delighted if I was proved wrong. Someone should study this model and apply it in a more open way. That would be interesting.
Georganna Hancock on August 30, 2005 2:41 PM:
At the least, Amazon is sending mixed signals offering previously unpublished work of established authors and suggesting this is a venue for new writers or a method for readers to discover unknown authors (as we all were once!)