Amazon, Charles Dickens, and Serial Fiction

Somewhat lost in the shuffle of the new Amazon Kindle announcements, was something else that caught my attention. From The Guardian: “Amazon gets down and Dickensian with serialised stories for Kindle” —

“Just as Dickens published novels including The Pickwick Papers and Oliver Twist in regular instalments, listening to responses from readers as they came in, so Amazon’s new Kindle serials programme will release stories in episodes. Readers will be able to discuss the latest developments on Amazon’s discussion boards, with authors looking in and learning from what their readers say … In honour of Dickens, it is offering readers the opportunity to download Oliver Twist and The Pickwick Papers for free, delivered in the same segments as they were originally. It is also launching its first eight Kindle serials, which range from romance to crime.”

The new idea of Kindle Serials is borrowing a page from quite an old idea in serialized fiction is something. Genre fiction is something that I discuss elsewhere, but generally speaking, for the type of genre fiction (romance, mystery, thriller, etc.) that is so popular now the Kindle reading audience, this sort of venture could be ideal.

I’m very curious to see how readers respond to ebook serial fiction, in what could be an interesting twist on the further evolution of our reading habits through ebooks.

Margaret Atwood has notably been delving into serial fiction — Positron at so far has proven to be immensely popular.


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I run the ThinkLab at the University of Cambridge, and research digital habits, productivity, and wellbeing.

tyler shores cambridge

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