Kindle Serials, Examined

Everyone always references Dickens here. It’s a rule.

I’d been biting my tongue on the whole Kindle Serials thing, other than to make a few comments on the day they were announced. I’m trying to look at it much like Tor’s serial experiment – that this can only be a good thing for those of us who’ve been dabbling with serials as a publication format, and a really good thing for those writers out there who do things like #tuesdayserial and have long-standing, long-running online serials.

After all, the biggest obstacle to getting people on board with serials has been getting them to be aware of the format and its quirks, like the fact that you really won’t have the finished story until…well, until it’s done. Uh, that goes with the territory. Do I really have to keep explaining it?

Having a simple delivery method will also help win more readers over. As much as I don’t like proprietary delivery systems and “ecosystems” and as much as I loathe DRM, you’ve gotta admit that automatically adding the next installment to the end of the current one is nice – even our own email system and page archives are a pain compared to that.

But there’s been a bit more commentary on Kindle Serials floating around lately, and I was even asked to pipe up for some of it, being one of the more mouthy publishers who’s presently engaged with the format. So without further ado, a selection of Kindle Serial articles!

The Serious Business of Kindle Serials

And a three-part series (see what she did there?) by the eBook Evangelist on Kindle Serials, with a few soundbites from yours truly:

Part One
Part Two
Part Three

So what do you think? Are Kindle Serials just another way for Amazon to try to lock people to the ecosystem? Are they trying to benefit from the work that people like Claudia Hall Christian have done in popularizing online, ongoing serials? Is this going to lead to more widespread acceptance of the serial as a format, and a viable publishing option instead of a gimmick?

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2 Responses to “Kindle Serials, Examined”

  1. Glinda Harrison September 21, 2012 at 5:36 pm #

    Thanks for incuding my pieces, Kate!

    I thought the comments on the Huffington Post piece were interesting and raised a question for me: In the sense we are talking about, how do you define what is a serial? I blog about ebooks and was focusing on books in my bits, but web serials can be in any media format – video, podcast, mixed media, web only – I could go on and on…. And what about graphic novels which make use of the serial form?

    With tablets on the rise, any media form could theoretically be directly pushed to the consumer. Amazon and iTunes already do it to an extent with TV series. I have the feeling that we are looking at elevating this to a distinct art form….

  2. Candlemark & Gleam September 21, 2012 at 7:09 pm #

    I think you’re exactly right. With the way people’s attention spans are these days, and only having short chunks of time to consume media, I think that “episodic content” is going to be increasingly popular, regardless of medium, and the advent of stable, reliable push technology will bolster that. The question is, how accessible will this technology be to individual creators, rather than being reserved for big companies like Amazon or Apple?

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