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Amazon launches digital platform for fan fiction

Amazon announced the launch of Kindle Worlds, a new digital publishing platform for fan fiction, touted as the first legal commercial platform of its kind.

Despite the prevalence of online fan fiction, copyright laws make it illegal to profit from it. Kindle Worlds, however, has acquired licences for three book series from Warner Bros.’ Alloy Entertainment: Gossip Girl, by Cecily von Ziegesar, Pretty Little Liars, by Sara Shepard, and Vampire Diaries, by L.J. Smith. More licences will be announced soon. Royalties will be paid by Amazon to rights holders of the original work, and authors will receive a royalty rate of 35 per cent of net revenue for works of at least 10,000 words.

Concurrently, Amazon launched a pilot program for shorter works (between 5,000 and 10,000 words), which are typically priced under $1. Authors will be paid a 20 per cent royalty rate.

Fan-fiction submissions are being accepted as of today, with the digital storefront to launch in June.

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Amazon declares ebooks “multi-billion-dollar category”

While Amazon yesterday reported lower-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings and a decrease in sales for physical books, the company also announced that sales for ebooks have been steadily climbing.

In a press release, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos says, “We’re now seeing the transition we’ve been expecting. After five years, ebooks is a multi-billion-dollar category for us and growing fast – up approximately 70 per cent last year. In contrast, our physical book sales experienced the lowest December growth rate in our 17 years as a bookseller, up just 5 per cent.”

 

 

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Kindle devices now available in Canadian stores

 

Canadians wanting to get their hands on a Kindle can now look closer to home. Amazon announced today that the latest generation of the popular e-reader is now available for sale on the company’s Canadian website, as well as in more than 1,000 retail stores countrywide, including Staples, the Source, and Shoppers Drug Mart.

“Customers can [now] buy from Amazon.ca, of course in Canadian dollars, with faster shipping,” says Peter Larsen, a vice-president at Amazon.

Until now, Canadian customers have had to rely on Amazon’s U.S. website to purchase e-readers. Larsen describes adding the devices to the Canadian website as completing the e-reading experience for customers north of the border.

“We’ve been surprised at how many customers have bought Kindles off [Amazon.com] in Canada,” Larsen says. “We actually have a good customer base here, but we expect it to grow significantly now that we’ve launched our devices.”

The latest generation Kindle will retail at $89, with the Kindle Paperwhite being sold for $139 for the WiFi-enabled version and $199 for the 3G option.

Kindle joins Kobo and Sony in selling its e-readers directly to Canadian consumers, with the latter devices already available in Canadian stores including Best Buy, Future Shop, Toys R Us, and Walmart. Kobo e-readers are also sold by Indigo.

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Oliver Twist, yoga murder mystery among first ebooks in Amazon’s new serial-novel series

While most of the hoopla around yesterday’s Amazon press conference focused on its new e-readers and upgraded Kindle Fire tablet, the tech company also announced its new Kindle Serials subscription series.

Charles Dickens is credited for popularizing the serialized novel, so to kick off the series, instalments of Oliver Twist and The Pickwick Papers (which are in the public domain) can be downloaded for free. Subsequent works will cost $1.99, giving subscribers automatic access to new chapters at no additional cost.

Amazon has also commissioned eight new serialized stories, including a “yoga murder mystery,” and is soliciting more through its Kindle Direct Publishing program.

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Book links roundup: U.S. government speaks on Kindle deal, Macmillan to release erotic Jane Eyre, and more

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Book links roundup: U.S. government to buy $16.5 million worth of Kindles, Fifty Shades of Grey film rumours, and more

*Correction June 12: An earlier version of this story stated the U.S. government was purchasing $6,600 worth of Kindles

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Book links roundup: Sara Nelson’s big move, Harry Potter enters Kindle library, and more

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Book links roundup: Encyclopaedia Britannica sales boom, Kindle’s lending library expands, and more

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Book links roundup: Mad Men’s literary leanings, Pottermore opens its ebook shop, and more

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Book links roundup: Canada’s best-selling graphic novels, Schnittman leaves Bloomsbury for Hachette, new Vonnegut e-single; and more

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