Originally announced in late 2010, and launched in early 2011 in the U.S.-only, Kindle Singles was an early attempt by Amazon to popularise a format that sits somewhere between a magazine article and a fully-fledged book. It also turned the e-tail giant from eBook seller to eBook publisher, working with authors directly under its Kindle Singles publishing program, offering them a 70/30 split in their favour.
Today, Amazon announced that it has brought Kindle Singles to the UK, with the Kindle Singles store now open for business this side of the pond. The company also says that in the U.S., “over” 4 million Kindle Singles have been sold to-date.
Penned between 5,000 and 30,000 words, Kindle Singles are described by Amazon as “editorially curated” — meaning that the company is effectively acting as publisher — showcasing writing from both new and established writers. Those than come directly to Amazon and are accepted into the program earn 70% royalties on every Kindle Single sold whilst “retaining the rights to their work”.
At launch, the UK Kindle Singles store sees works from newly signed up UK writers and some of the existing U.S. catalogue, such as works by Lee Child, Christopher Hitchens, Susan Orlean, Ann Patchett, Jodi Picoult and Jon Krakauer.
One new title that sounds like it may be of particular interest is “Going Nowhere: A Life in Six Videogames” by Sam Leith, who charts his own life “through the addictive lens of a lifelong videogamer”.
Amazon is naturally talking up the potential for independent authors to make money, citing authors who have had Kindle Singles hits in the U.S. — publishing is still a hits-driven business — such as Mishka Shubaly, who is said to have earned in excess of $148,000 in 18 months (over £90,000).