Thursday Linkage

Today over at Maclean's there's a piece called "The Incredible Shrinking Short Story" which mentions -- can you guess? -- hint fiction. Here's the first part:

At some point, if you work them right, words eventually become stories. Fragments and sentences turn into paragraphs, and paragraphs, if you’re lucky, become something whole. But the exact moment that change takes place can be hard to pinpoint. It’s not always clear what’s a narrative and what’s something less. That’s especially true in the field of very short fiction, which is enjoying a moment right now.

Writers have long played with prose forms that are shorter than traditional short stories. Franz Kafka and Jorge Luis Borges wrote slices and sketches that don’t fit the typical model. Hemingway once supposedly penned a story in six words to settle a bet. That piece—“For sale: baby shoes, never worn”—has never been definitively tied to “Papa.” But fans of what’s sometimes known as flash fiction, or very-short prose, often cite it as the ur-text of their form.

Check out the rest of the piece here.

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Over at PandoDaily, Sarah Lacy shares an email from a publishing insider who wishes to go unnamed ... which is smart, as this person basically admits he/she will soon be out of a job:

Long-term there’s no future in printed books. They’ll be like vinyl: pricey and for collectors only. 95% of people will read digitally. Everybody in publishing knows this but most are in denial about it because moving to becoming a digital company means laying off like 40% of our staffs. And the barriers to entry fall, too. We simply don’t want to think about it.

Amazon is thinking about it, though, and they’re targeting the publishers directly.

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On the heels of reading this, I then read all about Apple's big announcement where they talk about getting into the textbook business. Great! I also read about how they are finally opening a platform for writers to publish directly through them. Great? Well, not really. You see, in the app's license agreement, you find this:

Now understand I have no problems granting exclusivity. In fact, I have enrolled several of my e-books in the Kindle Select program, which allows Amazon Prime members to download those e-books for free via their "lending" program, plus I'm able to make my e-books free for up to five days during the ninety day exclusivity period. I tried it out with a few e-books to see how I liked it, and I actually like it quite a bit, so much so that I might enroll all of my books ... which means they would no longer be available via Nook or Sony or iBooks. On the one hand, I don't really like the idea of exclusivity -- I obviously want as many readers to be able to read my work as possible -- but on the other hand I benefit tremendously from it. The bulk of my sales are through Amazon; my sales with every other platform is so minimal it's almost laughable. That's the thing -- Amazon knows how to market and sell e-books (after all, they make apps that can be used on practically any device, so granting exclusivity isn't really a big deal when you think about it). Apple? Well, if they do, they sure haven't proven it yet. Me thinks this is a case of too little, too late. Their app is no doubt nice -- I must admit I do love Apple products -- but if you're looking for a program to create e-books, I highly recommend Scrivener.