Is it unfair to pick on Kindle Singles?

Have disliked the whole concept of Kindle Singles since the very launch. Have been trying my best to not kick the dog while it’s down but now that Blog Kindle has asked the question –

How Much Value do Kindle Singles bring to the table?

It’s hard to resist.

So here we go – guaranteeing my ticket to Hell for picking on the already failing Kindle Singles idea.

It’s all about Value

Value – such a magical word.

That post by Blog Kindle is genius. Because it manages to point out the value dilemma in such a civilized, gentlemanly way –

Objectively, I know that good writing can be found in any number of styles and lengths.  There’s no reason that $2 spent on a Kindle Single wouldn’t be better spent than on a similarly well reviewed Kindle Edition from any other category in the store. 

There’s this little voice in the back of my head when I think about it, however, that reminds me that even if it’s great, the book will be over far too soon.  As such, I’m pushed back toward traditional length works.  Definitely a dilemma.

That’s so much better than saying something like –

  • Kindle Singles are just an attempt to make us pay $20 for $5 worth of journalistic writing.

Which would be such a terrible and terribly unfair way of looking at it.

The Fight for $9.99 and the fight against greedy publishers makes it hard to look at any attempt to sell the written word at above $10 per book-length as anything other than stealing.

First, let’s take a quick look at how Kindle Singles are doing.

Kindle Singles not getting lucky

The Top 20 has 6 items at $1 and zero Kindle Singles.

The first Kindle Single is at #48 and is priced at $1.99. The second Kindle Single is at #69 and priced at $1.99. The third Kindle Single is at #73 and priced at $2.99.

That’s it – 3 Kindle Singles in the entire Top 100.

The next 7 Kindle Singles – 150th, 307th, 368th, 586th, 641st, 761st, and 860th.

You could be the 10th highest selling Kindle Single in the entire store and your sales rank would be just 860. Not exactly a bestseller.

And they aren’t getting much love either –

I have never written a review but felt compelled to do so after reading this glorified newspaper article.

It was $1.99, poorly written and incomplete. Why release something now that doesn’t have an end, since the trial won’t be until this spring? I’m disappointed that I spent money on something that I could have just read in the local LA paper, and that I now have to make a note to research on my own to find out the resolution.

There are full length, quality books on Kindle for $.99. This should have been free, or a complete story.

Glorified newspaper article – Ouch!

That one sentence is key – There are full length, quality books on Kindle for $0.99.

Like this morning’s two $1 books from NY Times bestselling authors.

Kindle Store is like Groupon for Books

The reason Kindle Singles are guaranteed to fail is the same reason that Kindle owners love $1 Kindle Books and the Kindle Store.

Kindle Store is Groupon for Books!

You can get incredible value for money while authors can still make good amounts of money.

Take Amanda Hocking or John Locke – They sell books worth $5 to $10 for $1 each and provide incredible value for money. At the same time, due to the high number of Kindle owners and because there are no middle-men, they make hundreds of thousands of dollars a month.

It’s amazing. It’s Groupon for Books except it’s sustainable – authors don’t have to take a loss to attract new customers.

Kindle Singles goes against this trend of providing incredible value for money.

As a Kindle owner it’s great that readers and authors are winning with the Kindle Store’s ‘more value for both’ approach.

There’s no place for Kindle Singles in the Brave New World of Always Providing Incredible Value for Money.

Why pay $2 for a rehashed newspaper article when we can get 5-star books for $1 each? We’ve finally managed to stop paying for the inefficiency of Publishers. Why would we want to start paying for the inefficiency of newspaper publishers?

6 thoughts on “Is it unfair to pick on Kindle Singles?”

  1. I wondered how Kindle Singles was doing… Considering I’ve yet to buy one, I should have know.

    The Groupon quote is spot on. Why pay more for something with less value (as you noted)?


  2. Well, I for one happened to like the Kindle Singles I purchased….and blogged about them here:

    I guess it’s all about how much you value the written word. I’m willing to pay $1.99 or $2.99 for excellent writing. I read “Lifted” by Evan Ratliff and would put it high on the list of “books” I read this past year–far above some other ebooks for which I paid 99 cents…or nothing.

    But that’s just my 2 cents.

  3. I think you nailed it toward the end. In a world where most ebooks were priced in the $5-$10 range, Kindle Singles at $1.99 or $0.99 would make sense. When best-selling ebooks go for $0.99 or even $2.99, Singles becomes a solution (low prices for short works) where the problem (high prices for longer works) is already solved.

  4. To me there is no value in “Kindle Singles”. I have bought exactly 0. Once again it seems that publishers and Amazon are trying to get us to buy less for more. First it was the sneak-peeks and the free-previews when I can download a free sample of the book. Singles are just Short Stories. You can rename anything but a spade is a spade.

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