Is Small The New Big In E-Books?

Are smaller-sized e-books the next big thing for e-readers?

The New York Times has a piece about a new trend in digital publishing, smaller bites of fiction (and non-fiction) for a smaller priced digital download.

The Atavist is among the growing number of organizations that are cultivating a certain niche of writing — stories and articles that are longer than a typical magazine article but shorter than a novel — in the hope that they will find a comfortable home on the glassy screens of evermore prevalent mobile devices. “Word counts are getting shorter in most magazines,” said Mr. Ratliff, who is also a contributing editor to Wired magazine. “On a mobile device, we shouldn’t be bound by those constraints.”

The attention spans of readers — many of us, anyway — are actually not getting shorter, Mr. Ratliff says. The problem lies elsewhere, he adds: “It’s the platform.”

The physical dimensions of mobile devices are, in some ways, quite limited. So it’s important to exploit the advantages that the devices do have, he contends. Success, he says, depends on thinking beyond a “one-to-one transition from book to e-book,” and on doing more than replacing paper with pixels.

The Atavist integrates clever tools into the text, like interactive timelines and character biographies to help a reader quickly find her place without spoiling the plots. I found that this helped me spin through “Lifted” without the digressions that have usually turned me off of e-books.

Check out the whole story here.

Personally, I’ve always loved short stories, but finding them in print is hit and miss. This could give short story writers a larger audience.

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