"When a slide showing eight book covers popped up in Jeff Bezos’s presentation on Thursday, Jennifer 8. Lee--who was following along on a live blog from New York City--gasped. The books are part of Amazon’s new Kindle Serials format, and she published three of them:Hacker Mom, The Many Lives of Lilith Lane, and Love Is Strong as Death.
Last year, Lee, a former New York Times writer and author of The Fortune Cookie Chronicles, cofounded a literary studio for digital serial novels called Plympton. The studio began commissioning books, but distribution proved an obstacle. With no book subscription model in major online bookstores, Plympton would have had to publish individual shorts sold separately (something that digital publishers such as Backlit and Byliner have done with serial novels as Quick Reads in Apple's iBookstore, as Nook Snaps at BarnesAndNoble.com, and as Short Reads at Kobo). Could readers be sure an author selling an episode of a book would publish its ending? How would the company make it clear that only one episode was being sold at a time? There was no structure in mainstream bookstores for selling this kind of fiction.
Kindle Serials provides a neat solution for Lee and other publishers who want to try their hand at serial fiction. Once readers subscribe to a Kindle Serials book, new episodes appear at the back as they are published. Customers pay a flat fee for each “season,” starting at $1.99. Lee knew she was part of the program's launch, but she didn’t know it was part of the same giant press event at which the company would announce the Kindle Fire HD and the Kindle Paperwhite...."