Ebooks Hit the Big Time With Amazon Singles and TEDBooks

    by Kipp Bodnar

    Date

    January 26, 2011 at 1:15 PM

    For a long time, there have been two types of ebooks. The first is the electronic version of traditional, novel length written works, spanning hundreds of pages. The second type are the 20-40 page digital documents offered by marketers and industry experts that are typically free to download or can be download in exchange for registration information. Today, these two worlds of ebooks are colliding and becoming one. 

    Today Amazon , a company that has been pioneering the ebook market with its Kindle device and store, announced a new format of ebook that would now be sold in its store . Amazon is calling this new ebook format Kindle Singles, which are books typically between 5,000 and 30,000 words (fewer than 50 pages). According to Amazon, “each Kindle Single is intended to allow a single idea -- well researched, well argued, and well illustrated -- to be expressed at its natural length.”

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    Along with the announcement of Amazon Singles came news about a new type of content from TED. Famous for conferences that feature short presentations from some of the brightest minds on the planet, TED has announced it will begin selling TEDBooks as Kindle Singles for $2.99 each. According to TED curator Chris Anderson, “The success of TEDTalks has demonstrated that millions of people around the world are hungry to absorb new ideas. But not everyone has the time to go out and read an entire book on an interesting subject. TEDBooks fill that gap. Their shorter format allows someone to see an idea fleshed out in a satisfying way — without having to set aside a week of reading time.”

    Ebooks Are Now Prime Time

    Prior to this announcement, businesses, marketers, and authors have been able to submit their own ebooks to the Kindle store. However, Amazon's Kindle Singles create a category and a market for a length and type of content that has long been relegated to the dregs of written content. Ebooks, as most of us marketers know them, have lived in a strange in-between world, too long to be read quickly like a blog post, but too short to command the thought and attention of readers looking for more in-depth content.  

    Today’s announcement is a sign that digital publishing is slowly changing the publishing world. The flexibility of digital formats and distribution means that it is possible to share and monetize ideas regardless of their length.

    Marketing Takeaway

    As a marketer, it is important to understand the role of ebooks in your inbound marketing strategy. If part of your strategy is to gain credibility and thought leadership on a topic, then consider publishing your ebooks in Amazon's Kindle Singles store for added distribution and reach. The bigger takeaway here is that the category of 5,000 to 30,000-word books has been given a boost in credibility. As consumers begin to read these mid-length books, their expectations will be that they can consume this type of content from organizations with which they are planning to do business, regardless of whether they are B2B or B2C.

    How do you think these announcements will impact the perception of ebooks?


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