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<< Back Innovation Aims to Revive Short-Form Literature -- Offers Exclusive Digital "Shorts'' from Renowned Authors

"Amazon Shorts'' Gives Readers Instant Access to Short Works for 49 Cents Each

SEATTLE, Aug 19, 2005 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- (Nasdaq:AMZN) today launched its latest innovation for customers, Amazon Shorts, an entirely new way for customers to enjoy their favorite authors and to sample the work of new authors through exclusive short-form literature, for 49 cents each. Amazon Shorts have no printed editions and are only delivered digitally.

"Amazon Shorts will help authors find new readers and help readers find and discover authors they'll love," said Steve Kessel,'s vice president of Digital Media. "We hope that by making short-form literature widely and easily available, can help to fuel a revival of this kind of work."

"Publishers have always had a hard time selling and marketing the single, short-form work -- the novella, for instance, or the novelette, or its even more diminutive cousin, the novelini -- and these days it's even harder. has created a new way for authors to get that kind of work out there, which is incredibly exciting," said author Daniel Wallace. "It's my hope that their Shorts program brings a renewed interest to the genre, as well as the opportunity for us to keep in touch with our readers in a really direct, fun way between books."

Beginning today, customers can find Amazon Shorts from accomplished authors in a diverse array of genres and formats, including alternate chapters and scenes to well-known stories, personal memoirs about everything from food poisoning to contact lenses to potty training, one-act plays, and, of course, classic short stories. For example:

Literature and Fiction

-- Audrey Niffenegger, whose debut novel, "The Time Traveler's Wife," was a New York Times Bestseller and nominated for the Orange Prize, has written a charming short story about a man who is experiencing a celestial infestation of sorts; he is having trouble keeping his attic angel-free.

-- Gregory David Roberts, who introduced himself to readers with an autobiographical novel describing a life of drug addiction, crime and prison, has written an Amazon Short in which the unfolding lives and spiritual development of the characters build upon one another in a consecutive timeline.

-- Daniel Wallace enchanted readers with his novel "Big Fish," which was adapted for the major motion picture of the same name. His Amazon Short is a two-part illustrated fable that takes place before recorded time and chronicles the story of a tribe of hunter-gatherers.


-- Stuart Woods, known for his bestselling crime thrillers, has written a personal account of an obsessive and nearly lifelong struggle to find, obtain and hold onto the only luggage a man could ever want.

-- Richard Rhodes is the author of 20 nonfiction books and a Pulitzer Prize winner. His Amazon Short is an essay connecting his experience with the birds of the Pacific and the magnificent drawings and writings of John James Audubon.

-- Terry Brooks is a master of the fantasy genre, with over 12 million books in print and 18 consecutive New York Times bestsellers. His Amazon Short details his writing process, as well as his motivation and why his work is often misunderstood.

Mystery and Thrillers

-- Robin Cook is widely credited with introducing the word "medical" to the thriller genre. His Amazon Short is a medical drama about a young surgeon looking for accolades and attention, who experiences a tremendous range of emotions in the operating room.

-- James Lee Burke, a two-time winner of the Edgar Award for Best Crime Novel of the Year, has been dubbed the "Faulkner of crime fiction." His Amazon Short is a compelling new coming-of-age drama about experiences growing up during the Depression era and the war years.

-- F. Paul Wilson, an award-winning author of 30 novels and over 100 short stories, including the bestselling Repairman Jack series, offers fans a special treat. His Amazon Short is a new mystery/thriller about this popular character with the theme that no good deed goes unpunished.

Nonfiction and Essays

-- Danielle Steel, novelist, children's book author and non-fiction writer, shares her own experiences of the roller coaster ride of life in her Amazon Short, "Candy for the Soul."

-- Ann Beattie, renowned novelist and award-winning short-story writer examines the process of writing fiction, the power of words and the mirror that we hold up to examine ourselves when we read fiction in her Amazon Short.

-- Pico Iyer, a prolific travel writer whose articles appear in "Harper's," "The New York Times" and "Conde Nast Traveler," has departed from his usual travel pieces to write about a place he has never been.

Sci-Fi and Fantasy

-- Walter Jon Williams, a Nebula Award winner and author of more than 25 novels, writes a lagniappe intended for readers of the "Dread Empire's Fall" series to enrich their appreciation of certain characters. For new readers, it's an introduction to the sort of surprises that are found in his books.

-- Kevin J. Anderson, an award-winning science fiction author with 16 million books in print in nearly 30 languages, gives readers a rare advance preview of his next novel with his Amazon Short. He offers the first four chapters of "Of Fire and Night," the fifth installment in his "The Saga of Seven Suns" series, a year in advance of its release.

-- Robin Hobbs's popular fantasy trilogies have been translated into 17 languages. In her Amazon Short she revisits the Bingtown area, also the setting for her "Liveship Traders Trilogy," and weaves a captivating "tale within a tale" about family perceptions and how they shape each generation.

Amazon Shorts are copyrighted works available for purchase and cost 49 cents each. However, in order to preserve a frictionless viewing experience, no digital rights management software is needed to download and read Amazon Shorts. Customers who purchase Amazon Shorts will have three options for reading the piece:

-- View now: Takes customers to a Web page to read or print out the Amazon Short.

-- Download: Initiates the download of a PDF file.

-- E-mail: Sends the entire Amazon Short in a plain-text message to the specified e-mail address.

Amazon Shorts will also be stored permanently in customers' Digital Lockers, and customers are welcome to print out hard copies of purchased Amazon Shorts from any of these formats.

Amazon Shorts is its own store at and can be accessed directly via, as well as from the homepage, Store Directory and through the Books store. Each Amazon Short product page will also feature the complete works of the author, along with product images and descriptions of other works available for purchase on

A complete, alphabetical listing of current Amazon Shorts authors:

Kevin J. Anderson   Brendan Halpin        Bruce Holland Rogers
Michael Baden       Robin Hobb            Michael Rose
Ann Beattie         Pico Iyer             Mary Rosenblum
Gregory Benford     Tama Janowitz         Gwyn Hyman Rubio
Terry Bisson        Ken Kalfus            Kristine Kathryn Rusch
Terry Brooks        Dave King             Lucius Shepard
James Lee Burke     Jonathon King         Robert Silverberg
Jay Caselberg       Howard Klausner       Danielle Steel
Veronica Chambers   Peter Kramer          Allen Steele
Robin Cook          Howie Mandel          Olen Steinhauer
Mark Crispin Miller Alison McGhee         Michael Swanwick
Jack Dann           J. Milligan           Gloria Vanderbilt
Harry S. Dent Jr.   James Morrow          Daniel Wallace
Gardner Dozois      Kris Nelscott         Brad Watson
Eileen Dreyer       Audrey Niffenegger    Lord Breaulove Swells Whimsy
Esther Friesner     James Reston, Jr.     Walter Jon Williams
Gregory Frost       Richard Rhodes        Sarah Willis
Kristine Grayson    Christie Ridgway      F. Paul Wilson
Lauren Grodstein    Gregory David Roberts Stuart Woods
Joe Haldeman        Kim Stanley Robinson

About (Nasdaq:AMZN), a Fortune 500 company based in Seattle, opened its virtual doors on the World Wide Web in July 1995 and today offers Earth's Biggest Selection. seeks to be Earth's most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online, and endeavors to offer customers the lowest possible prices. and third-party sellers offer millions of unique new, refurbished, and used items in categories such as health and personal care, jewelry and watches, gourmet food, sports and outdoors, apparel and accessories, books, music, DVDs, electronics and office, toys and baby, and home and garden. and its affiliates operate seven retail websites:,,,,,, and

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Forward Looking Statement

This announcement contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Actual results may differ significantly from management's expectations. These forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties that include, among others, risks related to potential future losses, significant amount of indebtedness, competition, management of growth, potential fluctuations in operating results, international expansion, outcomes of legal proceedings and claims, fulfillment center optimization, seasonality, commercial agreements, acquisitions, and strategic transactions, foreign exchange rates, system interruption, consumer trends, inventory, limited operating history, government regulation and taxation, fraud, and new business areas. More information about factors that potentially could affect's financial results is included in's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including its Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2004, and all subsequent filings.

Jani Strand or Kristin Mariani, 206-266-7180