The New York Times reported that The Atlantic will publish two short stories (by Christopher Buckley and Edna O’Brien) today on the Kindle. The stories, which will be offered at $3.99 each, will be available only on Amazon’s e-reader (not in the print version), and they’ll be the first of many more — about two Kindle stories every month, says The Atlantic.
It’s not the first time individual short stories have been made available on the Kindle — for example, my husband, John Yunker, made his award-winning short story, “The Tourist Trail,” available on the Kindle after it first appeared in Phoebe — but it’s great to see that The Atlantic, which stopped publishing monthly fiction in 2005, is embracing a new format.
The format is a bit limiting, since one needs a Kindle to access these stories. The authors will split earnings with both The Atlantic and Amazon and are restricted from publishing these stories in other e-formats. But publishing in e-format is still attractive; as author Curtis Sittenfeld (Prep and American Wife) told the Times, she didn’t mind selling a story to The Atlantic for the Kindle only because “had she sold it to a small academic journal, it would have had ‘limited distribution anyway.’”
We still have to support the small journals — both by reading them and submitting to them — but it’s great to see The Atlantic take this step, as it allows the magazine to publish stories that may not be affordable to publish in print form. How many readers will pay $3.99 per story is what I’m eager to see; I hope readers will embrace e-stories as they do e-books.
What I learned from John’s adventures with the Kindle and “The Tourist Trail” is that he had to charge $1 because Amazon won’t allow anything to be posted for free; this is why he also made the story available for free as a PDF … and while not all writers are willing to give away content for free, it’s a reminder that, in the end, what’s most important for writers is having readers.
Causes Midge Raymond Supports
Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, Mercy Corps, Doctors without Borders, Coffee Kids, Northwest Harvest, Treehouse for Kids, Angeline's Day Shelter for...