From the press release:
Last year, Tom Rachman’s debut novel “The Imperfectionists” became an instant best seller after earning a cover rave from Christopher Buckley in the New York Times Book Review, landing on numerous Top 10 lists and appearing on the Amazon editors’ list of the Best Books of 2010. Today, Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) announced that Tom Rachman has published his first short story exclusively as a Kindle Single. Titled “The Bathtub Spy,” Rachman’s Kindle Single tells the story of a middle-aged intelligence bureaucrat and his odd relationship with his boss. It’s available now in the Kindle Singles Store (www.amazon.com/kindlesingles) for $1.99.
“It wasn’t long ago that stories like this could only be published in a magazine, collection or anthology,” said Russ Grandinetti, Vice President of Kindle Content. “But Kindle has really opened up the world of short stories, making it possible for authors to get compelling ideas out to their readers in a new way.”
Best-selling authors Lee Child, Stephen King and Karin Slaughter are also publishing short stories this month as Kindle Singles. Their work appears alongside “The Eight Foot Woman” by Matthew Ducker, a University of Virginia MFA graduate and a strong new voice in literary fiction. Together, these authors have made the Kindle Singles Store a go-to destination for fiction this summer.
And they do this voluntarily? For me, publishing a book that’s sold through only one retailer seems to be a betrayal of what writing stands for. On a modest scale, it’s a bit like a drug company choosing to offer a powerful new drug only through Kaiser Permanente hospitals. This is less a “new way,” than merely an illustration of a traditional narrow way. We shouldn’t forget that this Kindle Singles Store is not just a “go-to destination,” with all the silly New Review of Books faddishness that implies. It’s an “only-place-to-go-to” destination and that’s not good for authors. I worry less about what authors must be thinking when they sign up for this sort of exclusivity than I do about Amazon for offering it. Companies that think they can provide a complete and all-encompassing scheme in their product arena inevitably come to grief. In the mid-90s, Microsoft openly claimed it was going to put a PC running windows on every business desktop on the planet. Look where that got them.