Amazon to launch 'Singles' for Kindles

Amazon is launching "Singles," or e-books that are somewhere between the length of a magazine article and a full book, for its Kindle e-reader and digital market place.

Amazon is launching "Singles," or e-books that are somewhere between the length of a magazine article and a full book, for its Kindle e-reader and digital market place.

The Seattle-based company on Tuesday said Singles will have their own section in the Kindle store and be priced much less than a typical book. Singles will typically be between 10,000 and 30,000 words, or about 30 to 90 pages long.

"Ideas and the words to deliver them should be crafted to their natural length, not to an artificial marketing length that justifies a particular price or a certain format," said Kindle content vice-president Russ Grandinetti in a statement. "With Kindle Singles, we're reaching out to publishers and accomplished writers and we're excited to see what they create."

Amazon will consider submissions itself and will be looking for "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."

The company said Singles, like Kindle e-books, will be "buy once, read everywhere." While Amazon's digital content is generally copy protected, the company allows users to access their e-books across devices, including Apple, BlackBerry and Android products, through an internet connection.

Amazon is facing heavy competition in e-books from a number of companies. With the launch of its iPad earlier this year, Apple waded into the quickly growing market. Sony is a big competitor as is Canada's Indigo Books & Music, which is the majority owner of Kobo, a joint venture between a number of international bookstore chains — including U.S.-based Borders.

All four companies run online e-book stores and sell e-reader devices. E-books are taking off quickly and have achieved an estimated 10 per cent of total book sales in the three years since Amazon launched its Kindle device.

Most of the online stores have systems set up for writers to submit and sell their own e-books, allowing them to bypass traditional publishers.