Saturday, April 27

New Minimum Length For Ebooks On Amazon: 2500 Words

New Minimum Length For Ebooks On Amazon: 2500 Words

This is from Galleycat:
Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing is reportedly planning to remove Kindle books that have fewer than 2,500 words.

At the KBoards site for Kindle readers and writers, one author shared a letter from Amazon that explained: “Content that is less than 2,500 words is often disappointing to our customers and does not provide an enjoyable reading experience.”

... A few of writers responded to the post saying they were selling books that were under 2,500 words at Amazon, including a speculative fiction author and a fantasy writer.
You can read the complete article here: Amazon Cracks Down on Kindle Books Under 2,500 Words.

Here is the letter that Amazon sent out:
Hello,

During a quality assurance review of your KDP catalog we have found that the following book(s) are extremely short and may create a poor reading experience and do not meet our content quality expectations:

Name of Short

In the best interest of Kindle customers, we remove titles from sale that may create a poor customer experience. Content that is less than 2,500 words is often disappointing to our customers and does not provide an enjoyable reading experience.

We ask that you fix the above book(s), as well as all of your catalog’s affected books, with additional content that is both unique and related to your book. Once you have ensured your book(s) would create a good customer experience, re-submit them for publishing within 5 business days. If your books have not been corrected by that time, they will be removed from sale in the Kindle Store. If the updates require more time, please unpublish your books.
(Amazon going after short shorts)
Question: What do you think? Should Amazon leave it up to authors to determine the minimum length of their stories or should there be a minimum length so readers don't pay, say, $2.99 for a 1000 word story?

Other articles you might like:

- Word Processing Apps For Writing On The Go
- Dean Wesley Smith, Harlan Ellison, The Internet, and Writing A Book In 10 Days
- Prada Writing Contest: Winner receives 5,000 Euros

Photo credit: "Untitled" by Mark Wooten under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0.

11 comments:

  1. Well, I had to do some research here to back up my assumptions.

    I started to read a series that was e-pubbed. The writing was okay… not great, but didn’t suck. The first of the series was a freebie, and he wanted two bucks for each of the eight or so follow up episodes.

    Part 1 clocked in at around 55 Kindle screens or so; I don’t have a word count, but pin it at around 12K or so. I read it in about an hour or so.

    As a reader, I said forget it. I don’t like watching TV on an episodic basis. If the reviews are good, I get the whole season and watch it on my time. Once, in the ‘70’s I got hooked on a series called The Kent Family Chronicles, which was supposed to take a family’s history from the American Revolution up to 1976, the Bicentennial. For whatever reasons, John Jakes never finished the series and I was left hanging. He wrote a bunch of these books, but…

    As a reader, you write a shortie, don’t waste your time trying to sell it to me.

    I want a book. A stand alone book. Sure, you can have continuing threads- I’ve read all six of the Kushiel series by Carey, and enjoyed every page.

    But she didn’t try to hook me and then keep at it.

    I get the marketing concept of doling it out- hey it worked for Dickens, and for Tom Wolfe (I read The Bonfire of The Vanities when it was serialized in Rolling Stone in the 80’s.) But the serial I read was part of a bigger experience: I also read Travers’ movie reviews, the politics columns, the economics stuff etc etc as well as Wolfe’s stuff.

    To this day, and in this vein, I ALWAYS slag King’s Dark Tower series. I read the whole thing (after it was finished); I didn’t care for it too much. And to have learned that fans waited years and years for episodes? Fugeddaboutit!

    So, if you’re an author, and you want to sell a series at 2K words a pop- move on; I ain’t even going to pretend to be interested. Give me an experience, or else get a publisher to piggyback it onto their periodical. Just don’t think of me buying it by installment.

    And that’s if you have a great story and are a terrific writer like King. If your skills are middle of the road, don’t waste my time. In fact, you’ll probably end up with me avoiding your work as I now do of the author I discussed above. His loss of a reader; whoop de doo.

    But he’s literally begging people today to buy his books. Okay, maybe not begging; but annoying nevertheless.

    Serials are bad. Bad bad serial! It needs a spanking! And if it’s a standalone 2K short short… very bad! Someone gimme a spatula! :)

    ReplyDelete
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    1. "As a reader, I said forget it. I don’t like watching TV on an episodic basis. If the reviews are good, I get the whole season and watch it on my time."

      Yep. I do that too. It's one of the things I like about iTunes, I can buy a whole season and watch it on my timetable.

      Sure, short works aren't for everyone. I never used to like reading very short stories, especially flash fiction, but lately I've begun to enjoy it.

      Delete
  2. Going to play 'Hijack This Thread' now...
    Speaking of 'Short'- the really short NHL season is about over, and both Vancouver and Ottawa are in the playoffs!

    Both have made it to the final round- Vancouver losing in 7 games to the NY Rangers (or, as Don Cherry put it- the NY Oilers back in the 90's); and the Sens got clobbered (God I love that word clobbered) by the Mighty Ducks in 5.

    So... ya cheering for the Canucks? I'm cheering for NY & Ottawa.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Desmond! I was going to talk to a friend who knew something about Hockey and try and figure out what your post meant, but he was busy ... so (grin)

      Sorry, I don't follow hockey, though during the playoffs (which are soon? have started?) I usually pick up something from the chatter.

      Delete
  3. Normally, I'm in favor of sound regulations vis-a-vis health care, education, infrastructure, lobbying etc. But when it comes to entertainment, consumers should decide what they're willing to pay. And authors should decide what they want to charge. After all, you're not screwing someone over vis-a-vis bread, medical service (or consulting service), household appliances etc.
    2500 seems arbitrary to me. Suppose someone wants to upload a comic book (mostly pictures, little words). Why penalize him for his choice?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good points, especially about the comic books. I think that's true for picture books as well. That picture books seem to have been excluded (at least, I haven't heard about picture book authors complaining) tells me Amazon has a way of filtering that out.

      Of course you're correct about 2,500 words not being carved in stone anywhere, but Amazon might have a good reason for choosing that number. I suspect they correlated complaints (I paid 99 cents for a book of X words!) with word count and decided that 2,500 was the sweet spot.

      I've been mulling this over and I think that if having a word limit helps improve customer satisfaction ... well, why not? We can still publish our flash fiction, we just need to bundle it.

      Delete
    2. Of course to me, if your making your ebooks free -- I wonder how relevant what a customer is willing to par for is?

      Of course I thought .99 was a bit steep for a 3,000 word story. Maybe I was under the assumption 3,000 words was to short.

      Delete
  4. I can understand why a customer might be upset to find out they've spent money on a piece of flash fiction. I would be.

    However, I'm with Serban on this one. Let the customer make the decision. Amazon should clearly post a word count with the product and the buyer, now armed with pertinent information, can decide if they think 2,500 words is worth price.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, I think that's a good fix. If the customer checked the word count before they bought then they wouldn't be disappointed.

      Delete
  5. I agree with Serban and Joel - let the customer decide BUT make it very clear what the word count is on each book in the description screen.

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  6. Of course how important is it if all your stories individually are permanently free? You might not charge until you have a whole collection.

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