Summer is usually a sleepy time of the year for the publishing business, but there were several fascinating developments in the world of e-book singles the past three months that were either overlooked or underreported. Here are the noteworthy trends that we spotted.
Kindle Singles Get the Presidential Seal of Approval. Not one, but two Presidents came out with Kindle Singles this summer under the fledgling Kindle Single Interview initiative. In July, Israeli President Shimon Peres was the first subject to be interviewed for the Kindle Single Interview. Within a few days, President Barack Obama sat down with Kindle Single editor in chief David Blum for his interview. When Presidents embrace a new content form, bet your money that it will take off.
You Have to Be a Little Crazy to Write an E-Book Single. One of the big success stories of the summer has been best-selling nonfiction author Simon Winchester's piercing and heartbreaking memoir The Man with the Electrified Brain. The story details his brush with near-madness more than 40 years ago until several months worth of electro-convulsive therapy helped restore his sanity. The Thin Reads review called it a "helluva read" and gave the story its highest ranking. But best-selling fiction author Dave Snow Falling on Cedars Guterson must have been paying attention. His short memoir about depression - Descent - will be published September 10. Expect this Kindle Single to also climb the best-seller lists.
Publishers Whipped into a Frenzy with S&M-Themed Stories. E-book single publishers are hooked on stories with a S&M themes. Need proof? Veteran author Roni Loren produced an eight-part e-book single series Not Until You, which featured strong bondage scenes. (Read the Thin Reads interview with Loren.) Another erotic e-book single series from the summer of 2013 is Marina Anderson's Dining Club. Author Nikki Duncan just published the e-book single with the summer's best title: Handcuffed in Housewares. It's about a man who has a wild blind date and winds up naked, chained to a toilet in housewares store.
Below the Neck Publishing. There were several nonfiction e-book singles that focused on private body parts this summer. Kat George wrote about her vagina in "Pink Bits" and candidly discussed her book with Thin Reads. Nicci Leigh spotlighted her breast issues in Money Bags and also spoke to Thin Reads. And then there was Penis, a collection of essays about man's favorite appendage edited by January Nelson.
Child Is King. The hottest e-book single writer of the summer was novelist Lee Child. He was certainly king of the Singles. He had three Kindle Singles in the top 10 most of the summer: Second Son, Deep Down and High Heat, which has been the the #1 fiction best-seller for the past month.
Writers Mine TV for E-Book Singles. The best-selling nonfiction Kindle Single this August is Searching for Dave Chappelle, a story about the former star of the Comedy Central sketch comedy show from the 90s. High Status Characters, Brian Raftery's oral history of the comedy group The Upright Comedy Brigade, was among the best e-book singles of the summer. The book revealed a lot of fascinating insights into future tv stars like Amy Poehler. Read the Thin Reads interview with Raftery for more backstage tales.
Hollywood Mines E-Book Singles for Movies. The-book single Coronado High follows a group of San Diego high school friends in the 70s who turn into successful pot smugglers. When you read it, you'll automatically hear the music of the decade in your head. It's easy to picture tanned surfer dudes having a lark selling dope in the easy, breezy 70s. That's why the book has already been optioned for a movie. It didn't hurt that author Josh Bearman also wrote the magazine article that became the basis for the Oscar-winning movie Argo. Is it any wonder that Bearman and his fellow Kindle Single-writing author Josh Davis formed a company to write stories that will be turned into movies?
Story About Mayflower Sailing Still Selling. What's the nonfiction e-book single with the strongest legs this summer? It's Kevin Jackson's gripping Mayflower: the Voyage from Hell. The book, which offers fresh insights about one of the most famous voyages of all time, has been in the top 10 since the week of April 15. Mayflower definitely still has some wind in its sail. Maybe other authors should consider revisiting key historical moments for e-book singles. Based on the success of Mayflower, there appears to be a market for it.