(Re)inventing the wheel

As the world's attention span continues to shrink, Amazon plans to introduce a breed of Kindle e-texts that are no longer than "a few chapters" of those hefty analog books that a few people still bother to read. (snip)

With ebooks, Amazon says, there's no need for writers to tack on needless pages just to meet the size requirement of old-school paper-book publishers. "Less than 10,000 words or more than 50,000: that is the choice writers have generally faced for more than a century — works either had to be short enough for a magazine article or long enough to deliver the 'heft' required for book marketing and distribution," the release continues.

"But in many cases, 10,000 to 30,000 words (roughly 30 to 90 pages) might be the perfect, natural length to lay out a single killer idea, 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."

via Amazon shrinks books with Kindle Singles • The Register.

There's been a name for these for a long time now.  They're called novellas and short stories.  They used to be published in magazines, collections and anthologies — and Stephen King is about to publish another quartet of novellas.  Yeesh.

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