Back in the late 1990s, the publishing industry anticipated the end of the printed book. It never happened, of course. It just didn't seem like a good idea to read a book on the beach via a computer device.
At just 49 cents per download, the price is right. And Amazon is the only source for the stories, anywhere.
With its launch, Amazon Shorts has assembled an impressive list of 60 authors, including Stuart Woods, Robin Cook, and even Danielle Steel. The service will let you get a taste of your favorite authors between books.
It should also become a great way to try out new writers. True, we can all read book reviews, but why stop there when you can sample some of an author's actual writing for just 49 cents? Let's face it -- checking out new writers can be a risky and expensive proposition. I have shelves of books I've never read and probably never will.
Here's how it works: When you make your purchase, you can read the file by way of an Adobe PDF file or through a plain-text email message. The story also gets stored permanently in your Amazon "Digital Locker," from which you can print out hard copies. A typical short story is seven to 10 pages long.
Kind of like Apple's
Young companies like Google
Fool contributor Tom Taulli does not own shares of companies mentioned in this article.