Thursday, April 28, 2011

What happened to Amazon Pages?

If you read the Lefsetz letter Albums from yesterday (you'll have to subscribe to his newsletter to read it immediately), he says singles are how new bands get fans and releasing albums once a year is old hat. The article is about music, but there's a relation to books.

What if instead of buying an entire book you're not sure you'll like, you buy chapters as you go, or get a new chapter a week from an author you like? Bloggers see the world this way. When I read a blog (or in this case the Lefsetz letter) I'm reading self-contained pieces that could one day end up as chapters in a book. But the idea of buying chapters of a book like songs on iTunes is not mine. It's not even new.

Back in 2005 Amazon announced something called Amazon Pages where you would be able to do exactly that. Where's it gone? I don't know. Maybe there was a debate. Maybe books are not like albums. Maybe a book broken up is just annoying. Maybe books are more like movies, and you can't really break a movie into parts (unless you make VI of them). But here's an interesting section from Lefsetz:

...if you're putting out an album every couple of years you're reinventing the wheel, you're marketing from ground zero over and over again. You've even lost touch with your fans.

People still buy entire albums and books, sure. But the trend in music is towards buying the songs you like with the option of the album. And since it takes so long to put together an entire album (or a book), this idea for book chapters still has a place.

Bloggers are on the ball when it comes to writing. They're not even thinking in book form. I doubt they think about chapters. Today a steady stream of little pieces builds something larger, whether you're in a band, write books, or sell condos. And if you have contact with fans, why would you not put out anything for a year?

No comments:

Post a Comment