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August 21, 2005

Amazon to sell short stories online

Internet retailer Amazon.com has launched a new service that offers short stories in digital form for 49 cents each.

By CBR Staff Writer

About 60 authors of short literature and nonfiction have signed up to the exclusive program, including popular writer Danielle Steel. The submissions are expected to range from about 2,000 to 10,000 words, which Amazon plans to translate into seven pages each.

Customers of the Amazon Shorts service will be able to read, download and print the stories through the company’s web site. They can also save it to a digital store or send it to an email address.

Publishers have always had a hard time selling and marketing the single, short-form work, said Daniel Wallace, author of the Big Fish novel which was later transcribed into a film. It’s my hope that their Shorts program brings a renewed interest to the genre, as well as the opportunity for us to keep in touch with our readers in a really direct, fun way between books.

According to the firm, digital distribution is less expensive, since it removes the cost for producing and distributing books. It also provides an effective marketing tool for authors in the run up to new releases.

The new program forms another part of Amazon’s digital-content strategy, which it hopes will entice new customers. Over the past year, the company has been adding forms of digital content to its web site, and in December it introduced short films that promoted products sold on the site. In July, Amazon web cast short videos of celebrities delivering Amazon packages to customers. It has also been reported to be holding talks with several music executives about a digital music service.

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