Friday, January 02, 2009


Chunking means different things to different sectors and as always we find ourselves joined by a common format the book but speaking different langauges.

As the spine explodes and publishing goes digital we find ourselves effectively on different digital flight paths, even different modes of transport and also travelling at different speeds. Fiction has long worked on a 75,000 words and a 250 or so page format and for the printed book this worked, but as anyone who has tried Daily Lit would know fiction just isn’t friendly in a chunked form. Imagine the page turner that becomes a page stopper as the story is constantly put on pause. We have to think again and think short stories and also think back to the fiction many wrote in magazines etc. Its just a case of 2,000 words or a 20 min read, thanks. It doesn’t mean the long story is dead it just means it exists on different media and maybe a different audience. If this were to happen we would enter a world of ‘native chunking’ and a whole new writing paradigm that we have forgotten through the forced economics of the mass fiction formula we know today.

Education doesn’t make sense in dollops of 75,000 words and again it about writing to fit the media and its usage.

One of our clients has 250,000 chapters available to rent or buy as chapters. These are academic titles and in many cases the reader only wants the odd chapter not the whole book. They want to rent not buy and it’s not a case of overnight seed change but more of gentle readjustment for all over time.

Forgive us for drawing on a loose analogy with music, but in the fifties music was limited by the vinyl media , then came the magnetic tape and then the CD which both could store more and the tendency changed to release albums not singles. Then came the download and reversed it once again. Its about matching the media to the media and stop trying to pour a quart into a pint pot.

We like the term ‘native chunking’ and only hope that we all have a common understanding of its meaning.

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