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Mishka Shubaly

A little more than a year ago, Amazon launched its “Kindle Singles” e-book program, seeking to establish a niche for content somewhere between a magazine article and a full-length book. It’s a carefully curated program that operates a lot like an app store for books, with titles selling for 99 cents to $4.99, and authors receiving royalties of 70 percent on their sales.

So how’s it going?’s Laura Hazard Owen is out this week with an illuminating inside look at the results, based on exclusive data from Amazon and extensive interviews with writers involved in the program.

PaidContent reports that Amazon has sold more than 2 million Kindle Singles since launch, and authors are doing well enough in some cases to quit their day jobs.

Particularly interesting are comments to PaidContent by Mishka Shubaly, bass player for the band Freshkills and the author of Kindle singles “Shipwrecked,”  “The Long Run,” and “Are You Lonesome Tonight?”, generating estimated royalties of nearly $130,000.

“I’m going to name my first child Amazon,” he tells the site. “I’m incredibly grateful to them. There’s no other way to put it but that working with Amazon totally changed my life for the better.”

And that, in the end, seems to be the real benefit of the program for Amazon — not so much the revenue from the Kindle Singles themselves, but the relationships with those authors, which will help the company in the long run as it aims to amass more power in the book publishing industry.

Explains PaidContent’s Owen: “In that way, Kindle Singles allows Amazon to draw in authors who deem the program low-risk because it’s not in conflict with other publisher relationships they may have. Those authors may then stick around, especially if they believe that doing a full-length project with Amazon has the potential to be as lucrative as Kindle Singles have been for many of them.”

Here are the articles in the PaidContent series.

Via CNet

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