Hearst hopes that its snack-size Good Housekeeping “mini cookbooks,” which it is selling for $0.99 on Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) and Nook, will entice readers to purchase more expensive e-cookbooks. The company is also experimenting with minis for other properties, including Cosmopolitan — joining the growing list of publishers who are releasing e-singles.
Hearst has released 33 cookbooks in digital formats so far, including five $0.99 Good Housekeeping mini cookbooks on topics like cocktails and cookies as part of a promotion that began in September. The company also partnered with Open Road to publish “Cosmo’s Sexiest Stories Ever,” a $0.99 collection of three stories by bestselling women’s authors. All of the e-singles hit iBookstore bestseller lists.
E-singles are one of the hottest new publishing trends—with everyone from David Baldacci and Jodi Picoult to Byliner and Slate testing them out. These bite-sized e-books, priced accordingly, could be a panacea for authors and publishers seeking new revenue streams. E-singles are a much more effective way to tackle newsy topics than full-length books, and are a good way for authors to retain readers’ interest in between their longer books.
But e-singles also could be disruptive for the industry. Because they’re easy to publish quickly, e-singles could become a popular way for authors, magazines and newspapers to bypass traditional publishers. Another potential headache for traditional publishers: So far, Amazon (NSDQ: AMZN) is dominating the e-singles space.
Here’s our overview of the business of e-singles, followed by a chart looking at the major players.
—How the Business Works Amazon started the trend when it launched its Kindle Singles program in January, publishing original pieces on “compelling ideas expressed at their natural length,” usually around 5,000 to 30,000 words, and priced between $0.99 and $4.99. There are currently 80 Kindle Singles, and spokeswoman Sarah Gelman told us about three more are added each week. “As authors and publishers become more aware of Kindle Singles, we have experienced a steady growth in the number of high-quality submissions,” she said.
Singles are a good way for authors to monetize medium form content - longer than a New Yorker article, shorter than a book.