Amazon's Day One: New Dawn or Old Hat?

on Saturday, November 2, 2013
Is there a new battlefield in the war of words?

A couple of days ago Team Amazon announced that they were launching a new offensi... um... initiative called Day One which, despite its name, will be a weekly e-publication dedicated to short fiction and poetry. It is, according to Amazon's spin doctors, an attempt to bring the old raison d'ĂȘtre of the literary magazine (exposing new talent to potential readers) to the digital age. Each week, sucke... um... subscribers will be sent a story and poem (with a little introductory blab from the 'editor' and a specially commissioned cover) on their Kindle or Kindle Reading App. So as not to be overwhelmed (subscribers, it appears, are remarkably fickle) there will only be one story and one poem per issue, thus saving readers from such overbearing things as variety, depth, commentary, criticism and (arguably) value.

All jokes aside, the wilfully blind optimist in me thinks it could indeed be a great launchpad for future stars. Let's face it. In an ever expanding field, it is hard to know who you ought to be checking out. Even buzz has become white noise. If this serves to direct you to just one new author you come to love, it will have been worth the subscription price ($19.99 per year).

My inner cynic, however, has caught a whiff of crass marketeering - given Amazon has moved into the world of publishing, not to mention shut out some publishers following the big court case, it will be interesting to see just who is featured in Day One. Will this just be a way to either push their own writers or charge publishers to have new discoveries 'featured' in the mag? Credit where it is due, though. They are actually making people pay to read what essentially amounts to promotional material! That there is some serious chutzpah.

We won't know for a while how Day One pans out but, either way, I've already been shunted to the sidelines. The service is only available to American subscribers. Bah, humbug!


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