THE BLOG
10/30/2013 09:53 am ET Updated Jan 23, 2014

The 20 Most Important Questions to Ask About the Business of E-Book Singles

We've had many random questions about the e-book single business since Thin Reads launched in April as the world's first and only website covering this medium. Here are 20 of them in no particular order.

1. How much have sales of Kindle Singles increased (or -- gulp -- decreased) 2013 compared to 2012? That information will tell a lot about the health or weakness of this new form of digital content..
2. When is Jon Krakauer going to write another e-book single? Three Cups of Deceit was one of the most successful and talked-about e-book singles of all time but it was published almost three years ago. We're ready for another effort Mr. Krakauer.
3. Why aren't the big book publishers more invested in the e-book single industry? Is it because sales of short-form books might cannibalize sales of (more expensive) long-form books?
4. Amazon's Kindle Singles Interview has featured four politicians for its first four interviews since the summer. Is this initiative only focused on politicians? Why not athletes, movie stars or other types of newsmakers?
5. Will Jeff Bezos's ownership of The Washington Post result in a proliferation of Kindle Singles written by Post writers?
6. Does anyone know how well the romance e-book singles are selling? There are dozens clustered together on the NOOK Snaps landing pages and they are being packaged like it's a robust category.
6. When is The New York Times going to produce another original e-book single? It's been three months since the last one.
7. Why can't Barnes & Noble and Apple's iBookstore produce an e-book single best-seller list like Amazon's Kindle Singles chart?
8. Does anyone know what percent of American adults have read an e-book single?
9. Why can't the industry agree on a term for e-book singles, which is the phrase Thin Reads uses. These short-form digital books have been called e-singles, e-books, Kindle Singles, Quick Reads, digital shorts, and e-shorts. And for the record, the term e-shorts doesn't cut it. It sounds like digital underwear.
10. Why are Barnes & Noble's NOOK Snaps originals just...okay? You'd think the large book retailer would have a pipeline to some great authors who could give the Snaps program some needed snap.
11. Speaking of Barnes & Noble, do executives there think anybody outside of corporate HQ uses the term NOOK Snaps?
12. Why isn't Google Play more of a player in the area of e-book singles?
13. How does Evan Ratliff of Atavist have the time to run a very interesting company plus write an extremely labor-intensive, kick-ass e-book single The Oilman's Daughter?
14. Outside of Amazon, it appears that Thought Catalogue Books is the most prolific publisher of e-book singles. Is there anyone who would disagree with that?
15. When is Stephen King going to crank out his next e-book single that will remain a best-selling Kindle Single for the next eight months?
16. Why aren't more magazines that feature excellent long-form nonfiction like Vanity Fair and The New Yorker publishing e-book singles? (See this story.)
17. Aside from being an excellent piece of long-form journalism, why is Kevin Jackson's Mayflower: The Voyage from Hell such a big hit? It's been on the nonfiction best-seller list since April. What's the secret to its success?
18. Why aren't more humorous e-book singles being written? Tom Ruprecht's This Would Drive Him Crazy: A Phony Oral History of J.D. Salinger is fall-out-of-your-chair funny. Andy Borowitz's Twisted and Fred Stoller's My Seinfeld Year have been a Kindle Single nonfiction best-sellers for more than a year. Let's go funny people. There's an audience -- and a format -- for your best work.
19. Which news organization is going to write the e-book single about Edward Snowden? Seems like a great story is waiting to be told in 70 pages.
20. Is there an audience for a quickie e-book single about the government shutdown or are we all so fed up with our politicians that no one would read it?

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