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Amazon May Have Sold Two Million 'Kindle Singles', But Why's That Impressive?

Illustration for article titled Amazon May Have Sold Two Million Kindle Singles, But Whys That Impressive?

This morning, the internet is awash with people slapping Amazon on the back, congratulating them for selling two million Kindle Singles—e-books that are shorter than full-length books but longer than most magazine articles. But is that really a big deal?


No, it isn't. But my problem isn't with the number they've sold. Rather, my problem is the enthusiasm with which people are congratulating Amazon.

Firstly, Amazon selling two million units of 167 different products—that's how many Singles are currently available—in the space of 14 months isn't really that impressive. Amazon is good at selling things; selling 855 copies of a novella per month is great for the authors, but it's not that impressive given we're talking about the world's biggest online retailer. Especially given most of them cost less than $2.


Which brings to my second point: I wish the congratulatory articles didn't also include commentary that suggests the Kindle Single is a new concept. The author payment structure is new, granted, but Novellas have existed for just as long as novels, and short non-fiction book are incredibly common.

Singles deserve to sell well—mid-length works like the ones for sale deserve to be celebrated—but let's leave Amazon's back slaps until they're really selling? Thanks. [Paid Content]

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I think you're missing the point. This isn't a call all to Amazon, saying how awesome and fancy the company is for selling something that should be easy to sell - this is acknowledgement that there is a market for a type of writing that typically flies under the radar and is, often, ignored. While the 2m units sold metric isn't necessarily a huge number, it's showing that Amazon has created a market where one previously didn't exist, which is awesome, particularly for writers who have tons of talent which is never seen.

The key here is that Amazon is publishing what was considered to be the no-man's-land of the literary world with no middleman. The authors take 70% of the proceeds, and, if it becomes popular enough, that might be a significant amount. I say kudos to Amazon. Novellas and literary journalism have become a dying art, and I'm very glad to see someone's taken notice and decided to do something about it.