Amazon on Wednesday released the first of a new line of short digital books pitched as quick, captivating works for its popular Kindle electronic readers.
The launch of Kindle Singles included the debut of TED Books, written versions of inspirational 18-minute talks that are a trademark of renowned TED gatherings dedicated to cultivating "ideas worth spreading."
"This first set of Singles was selected by our team of editors, and includes works by Rich Cohen, Darin Strauss, Ian Ayres, and the first-ever books published by TED," said Kindle content vice president Russ Grandinetti.
"We think customers will be riveted by these stories that can take them to a Swedish bank heist or to the Mexican border town of Juarez, or to consider a new way to think about happiness."
Amazon said that three months ago it began enlisting writers, thinkers, scientists, publishers and others to express "a single killer idea" in 5,000 to 30,000 words.
The first set of works became available online at amazon.com/kindlesingles on Wednesday.
"TED Books are to books as TED Talks are to lectures," said TED curator Chris Anderson. "They're short, pithy, riveting. They're designed to express a single big idea in a way that can be absorbed in a single sitting."
Amazon allows Kindle digital works to be read on a host of gadgets including iPads, smartphones, and personal computers.
"We think this Platform has the potential to create a new type of media unit designed for modern lifestyles," Anderson said. "Many people are hungry to learn, but have limited time to read full-length books."
Inaugural TED titles included "The Happiness Manifesto" by Nic Marks and Gever Tulley's "Beware Dangerism! Why we worry about the wrong things, and what it's doing to our kids."
Other Kindle Singles were "The Dead Women of Juarez" by Robert Andrew Powell and "Pakistan and the Mumbai Attacks" by Sebastian Rotella
Prices for works ranged from a dollar to a few dollars.
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