Return From The Lost Weekend

August 22nd, 2005 · 4 Comments
by Booksquare

Often one feels as if all bases are covered when, in reality, only one base is covered. We forgot to tell Jim where we hid the spare key should he misplace his. We don’t like to speculate*, but our imagination is such that we spent many a moment visualizing his trying to figure out the weakness in the awesome security that surrounds this blog. If only he knew how easy Jill really is. . .

But that’s neither here nor there. Today we have lots of things to discuss, very little time, and a sneaking suspicion that we’ll be distracted by the cat-who-has-decided-claws-are-the-key-to-keeping-people-safe-at-home. In other words, all has returned to normal.

The new program, called Amazon Shorts, is starting with 59 authors, which include well-known names such as Danielle Steel and Terry Brooks. Their submissions range in length from about 2,000 to 10,000 words, which the company expects to translate into an average about seven pages each. Customers who purchase a piece can read it on the Web, download and print a copy, save it in a digital locker, or send the story to an email address.

The price of this madness is a mere forty-nine cents, meaning Amazon has either mastered the micro-transaction technology ahead of Google or they’re banking on additional items falling into customer shopping carts. Let us read ahead in the story and see if we can find an answer.

No, and also no details on how authors will be compensated. We can only guess that the money will be lucrative. After all, it takes a lot of effort to squeeze a decent story into 2,000 words.

We are quite intrigued by this idea (though not particularly intrigued by the Danielle Steel angle, but that’s our personal issue). Short story collections tend to, for various reasons, be overlooked in the market (The Girl’s Guide to Hunting and Fishing being a notable exception). Authors tend to have short stories handy. It’s an interesting way to get new and interesting product to readers in a timely manner. If Amazon handles the whole thing right, it will also make their site a regular go-to destination between shopping trips.

* – Not true.

** – Also, presumably. We have not visited the world headquarters.

File Under: Square Pegs

4 responses so far ↓

  • David Thayer // Aug 22, 2005 at 12:05 pm

    49 cents… Do you need exact change?

  • Booksquare // Aug 22, 2005 at 3:04 pm

    As Amazon’s policy (if I recall correctly) is not to cut checks for amounts less than $100, I’m sure the process will be something like you give them two quarters and they’ll send you a refund after you reach the check cutting threshold. Or you could have store credit. Or exact change. This will only work if there’s a way to process such tiny payments — banks like to make profits and such.

  • Jill Monroe // Aug 23, 2005 at 7:55 am

    Of course, Booksquare does NOT find it necessary to e-mail, call whatever the easy one to tell her she’s back in town, especially when I have a good coconut story to tell!

  • Booksquare // Aug 23, 2005 at 8:33 am

    Booksquare is saving all her energy for a long phone call on her way home this evening. Also, she did laundry all day yesterday. Please forgive her.