31 May 2011
For the last month or so, I’ve been reading short stories on the Kindle App on my Android. Frankly, I’ve been enjoying the experience just as much if not more than the novels that I’ve also been reading. This is in large part due to Tobias Buckell’s Unbundled Mondays experiment, where he has been releasing short stories that had previously only been available in anthologies and selling them for $.99 a pop. Sure, it probably costs a bit more, but the fact is that I tend to buy anthologies and then not read them through, so it works out pretty well for me.
There is a problem, however. I want to buy and read more individual short stories, but have been having trouble doing so. When I search for, say ‘Science Fiction Short Story’ I get a few individuals, but I get a lot of other stuff (namely anthologies), too, and there is no way to sort them down to just short stories.
You may feel differently about anthologies, but if you are anything like me, you would like for it to be easier to buy singles. So what would a better system look like? First, it would have an option to filter stories by type (novel, short story, anthology, novella, etc.). Second, I wouldn’t be so opposed to anthologies if they were structured more like albums from iTunes either in the store or just in the app.
Here’s what you should do, you should contact Amazon’s customer service and tell them that you would like for them to make it easier to buy individual short stories. Be polite. Make sure that you mention that you would like to give them more of your money, and that it is theirs for the taking should they decide to help you out. The market is still maturing and with any luck we can see a renaissance of short fiction, but only if the markets know that we want it.