Amazon may be stirring up controversy for its actions against independent bookstores (or other brick-and-mortar e-tailers), but at the same time it is creating new opportunities for authors. That’s the focus of a post by Mathew Ingram on GigaOm, in which he profiles a few journalists who have seen a remarkable degree of success with their Kindle Singles—e-books which could not have been easily published in print form.

Journalist Marc Herman’s Kindle Single on the aftermath of the Libyan revolution sold enough copies at $1.99 each to begin to recoup costs for the trip to Libya in the first place. He suggests that this might be a possible model for investigative journalists to go freelance as newspapers’ decline reduces funding for their kind of work.

Ingram notes that Amazon isn’t the only short-book/long-article market, either. A number of other publishing ventures are offering help to journalists who want to publish their own longer works.

As I’ve pointed out a number of times before, the term “book” has become so fluid that it can now mean almost anything a writer wants it to. What that does to traditional publishing is a question mark (it’s probably not good) but what it does for writers is almost unquestionably good.

Of course, Singles are far from the only new opportunity Amazon has produced; much better-known is the enabling effect it has had on self-publishing. It just goes to show that it’s an ill wind that blows no good.


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