From The Guardian:
The Penguin Shorts progamme, a collection of short digital reads, has just launched with nine titles, ranging from a creepy short story by Dunmore to an essay on multiculturalism from Elif Shafak, accounts of the battles of Alamein and Isandlwana, recipes for the perfect Christmas day from Felicity Cloake and a novella by Anita Brookner. Toby Young has written an essay on How To Set Up a Free School, John Gapper an analysis of rogue trading, Colm Tóibín a memoir of growing up in Ireland. Priced at £1.99 – “approximately the same price as a cup of coffee,” says Penguin – the ebooks are available across all digital formats, each emblazoned with the iconic tri-band design with which Allen Lane launched Penguin’s paperbacks back in 1935.
And Penguin is not the only major publisher dipping its toe into exclusively digital short reads. Random House debuted Storycuts, a collection of 200-odd digital short stories by authors including Barnes, Irvine Welsh and Ruth Rendell, last month, calling it a “new era” for the short story form.
Pan Macmillan, meanwhile, has begun a programme of digital Short Reads by Peter James, Donoghue and others. Pricing is much of a much-ness: Ether Books has published digital short stories for an iPhone application for between 50p and £2.39, depending on length, since last summer; the Pan Macmillan titles are £1, Penguin’s £1.99, the Random House books vary but are at a similar level.
After its launch with nine titles, Penguin plans to bring out one or two new Shorts a month, with future authors to include novelist Will Self, BBC arts editor Will Gompertz, FT economy editor Alan Beattie and Observer food writer Jay Rayner. “We are commissioning a lot at the moment,” says Butterfield. “Authors are really embracing it and love the idea of getting new readers, trying something different.”
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