Tuesday, October 12, 2010

13 ways communicators can use the new Kindle Singles

Amazon announced today that it will offer for sale Kindle Singles and called on people and organizations of all kinds to produce them.  The "singles" are written products that fall between 10,000 and 30,000 words, or 30 to 90 pages, which would make them longer than a long-form magazine article and shorter than a complete book.  The advent of these short-form Kindle documents opens up new possibilities for communicators.

At this point, you're thinking, "We already publish on our website, on Facebook and we link to things on Twitter. We offer PDFs and print versions. We post on a blog. Why do we need Amazon? We're not producing the great American novel, and this duplicates what we're already doing."  You're not alone in ignoring Amazon as a distribution channel.  In this discussion at the recent Communicators Network conference, foundation communicators were reminded:
Are you a foundation with data and analysis you want people to read? Post them on Amazon. After all, even people like me who buy as much as we can from independent bookstores use Amazon as our reference librarian in the cloud. Put your stuff where people look for stuff. MacArthur and Knight Foundation (and probably others already do this).
Nieman Journalism Lab has already suggested Kindle Singles could be a potential new home for in-depth news coverage, noting that the suggested length "is right in the ballpark for many multi-day investigations and narrative series. (Ten thousand words is about 280 inches, newsies.)"  The post points out that using the Kindle Single approach makes publishing easy.  You don't need to set up your own online shopping cart, and Kindle now offers free apps for viewing Kindle documents on PCs and Macs, as well as iPhones, iPads, Android devices and BlackBerry devices--which means your publication can reach the widest possible audience, wherever it wants to be reading.

So if you want to "put your stuff where people look for stuff"--the communications polar opposite of "If we build it, they will come"--or find a home for longer-form publications and writings coming out of your company or organization, here are 13 things you might consider publishing as Kindle Singles:
  1. Important speeches.
  2. Annual reports.
  3. Transcripts from lectures or conference sessions.
  4. Transcripted interviews and oral histories.
  5. A curated collection of blog posts on a single topic.
  6. Data collections and chart books.
  7. Briefings and white papers.
  8. A curated collection of letters.
  9. A collection of personal stories. 
  10. Essays, or collections of essays.
  11. A company or organizational history.
  12. User guides and instructional materials.
  13. A collection of news releases on one topic or specialty area.
I know I'm missing some ideas, here--so please add to this list in the comments. Would you use Kindle Singles as a publishing tool? What would you publish this way?

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