Amazon debuts short-format e-books, 'Kindle Singles'

Online retailer of just about everything, Amazon, announced today that it would begin offering a new format for content on its popular Kindle electronic reader dubbed “Kindle Singles.”

Amazon said the new Singles will essentially be Kindle books that are “twice the length of a New Yorker feature or as much as a few chapters of a typical book,” which roughly equates to 10,000 to 30,000 words or 30 to 90 pages.

The new digital pamphlets will have their own presence in Amazon’s online Kindle Store and will be priced “much less” than the average book, said the retailer. Each Single will also be automatically backed up in a consumer’s online Kindle library, where they can re-access them anytime and download that content wirelessly for free.

The new Singles will work on Amazon’s Whispersync technology, which will let readers save and sync their place in the text across a range of devices including iPad, iPod touch, iPhone, Mac, PC, BlackBerry — and of course Kindle, Kindle 3G and Kindle DX.

The company said the new offering was a call to “serious writers, thinkers, scientists, business leaders, historians, politicians and publishers” to begin offering content within that length range. Its also a move to put a fresh sheen on the Kindle brand, one which has seen the trials and tribulations of early missteps in programming, pricing and availability.

Now, however, Amazon has been quick to fix any Kindle defects or complaints, and has stayed ahead of the pack by making sure even PCs can read the more than 700,000 e-books the site offers.

Kindle Singles aim to bring even more site-unique content to the masses at an as-of-yet-unnamed lower price tag, Amazon executives said today.

“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 Vice President for Kindle Content Russ Grandinetti. “With Kindle Singles, we’re reaching out to publishers and accomplished writers and we’re excited to see what they create.”