Called Kindle Singles, the new offering introduced Tuesday is for works that fall between 10,000 and 30,000 words, or roughly 30 to 90 pages. Authors can submit fiction or non-fiction works to Singles, which will have its own section in the Kindle e-book store.
In launching the service, Amazon said it was filling a niche in the publishing world, which typically shuns works that amount to only a few chapters of a typical book. "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," Russ Grandinetti, VP of Kindle content, said in a statement.
Amazon also said it needs works for the new service. The online retailer is asking for pieces from "serious" writers, thinkers, scientists, business leaders, historians, politicians and publishers. Interested writers can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Amazon did not say how much authors could charge for their works. However, the company said prices would be much less than a typical book. Like e-books purchased from the Kindle store, the shorter works will be available on all devices that can run Amazon's e-reading software, including the retailer's Kindle e-reader, the Apple iPhone and iPad, Android-based smartphones, Research In Motion's Blackberry, and a Mac or Windows PC.
Amazon announced Singles a week after rival bookseller Barnes & Noble launched its self-publishing platform Pubit. The service lets pre-registered writers and independent publishers the opportunity to offer works through B&N's digital bookstore.
People who price works at between $2.99 and $9.99 can earn 65% of the list price. Publishers pricing works outside of that range will receive 40% of the list price.
Amazon also offers its own do-it-yourself publishing service. The online retailer in June increased to 70% the royalties paid to participants in Amazon's Kindle Digital Text Platform. To qualify, the books have to sell for between $2.99 and $9.99.