Thursday, January 27, 2011

Kindle Direct Publishing Arrives With TED

Today we have the launch of TED Books and the rebranding of the Digital Text Platform (DTP) to Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). What both ventures are focused on is the redefinition of digital works by the merging of the digital book and digital article. We have argued that for far too long the ‘book’ has straight jacketed authors into an economic print model based on pages and words. This does not make sense in the digital world and is similar to saying that all recording artists can only produce albums. Many authors in the past honed their craft in journalism and magazine articles and stories. They are ideally skilled to hone their work to a shorter format. The attention span of many readers could be better served by shorter works and the digital technology may render shorter works better than longer ones.

Those technological and culture promoters have built a huge following and stimulating programme and extending this to ‘TED Books’ makes great sense given Chris Anderson’s background and widens their audience reach further. At less than 20,000 words each they clearly are long enough to covey the messages and can be complimentary to the video. They will be available as Kindle and Kindle Reader apps at a cost of $2.99 each.

TED’s initail three tiles are:
Nic Marks: The Happiness Manifesto: How Nations and People Can Nurture Well-Being
Juan Enriquez and Steve Gullans: Homo Evolutis: Please Meet the Next Human Species
Gever Tulley: Beware Dangerism! Why We Worry About the Wrong Things, and What It’s Doing to Our Kids

Anderson now intends to have regular releases of new TED Books. Many will come from existing TED speakers who will expand topics they have presented others will come from new authors with new ideas. The initiative will certainly keep the future of the book in the minds of the world’s thinkers.

TED Books launch is part of Amazon’s Kindle Singles imprint and rebranding of their previous DTP to Kindle Direct Publishing (KPD). Books self-published through KDP can enjoy the 70% royalty program and are available across the Kindle platform. Kindle’s programme is not just about TED books and has fiction from the likes of Jodi Picoult, Rich Cohen, Pete Hamill, Darin Strauss, and Ian Ayres. Kindle Singles gives all writers the opportunity to publish shorter work that is priced between $0.99 and $4.99. Amazon collects the content, the market initiative and the extra value.

The interesting thing is that Amazon is becoming a true publishing vertical from author to reader and for others to compete they will have some catching up to do.

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