Kindle e-readers may make 1,000-page novels much easier to read, but Amazon has another idea on how to offer long-form content to its customers. It’s called Kindle Vella, and it launches next month, but not on Kindle e-readers.
Kindle Vella is a serialized story platform, offering episodic content to drip-feed story progression to interested readers. Despite the name, Vella will not be available to Kindle e-reader owners. Instead, Amazon is going to offer access to the content via the Kindle iOS app and on Amazon.com.
As Engadget reports, when Vella launches in mid-to-late July, the content on offer will be sourced exclusively from US-based authors publishing in English, and each episode can be anywhere from 600 to 5,000 words. Amazon will offer a Kindle Vella store and “the first few episodes of every story are free,” putting the onus on authors to have quite a few episodes available so as to encourage buying once the free episodes have been read and the reader is hooked.
A series of features will be available alongside the episodes “like Faves and Thumbs Up, to engage with stories.” Those stories garnering the most Faves will be featured in the Vella store, but readers only receive a limited number of Faves based on episode purchases. Readers can also choose to “Follow” stores they enjoyed and receive a notification every time a new episode is released in the series. Authors can use tags to ensure readers find their stories when searching for specific genres or types of content.
Purchasing new episodes is requires spending tokens, which Amazon will sell in bundles. 140 tokens cost $1.99, 368 tokens are $4.99, 770 tokens are $9.99, and 1,500 tokens are $14.99 when purchased via the mobile app. Web pricing is better value, offering 200, 525, 1,100, and 1,700 tokens at the same respective price points. The cost of an episode will vary based on word count, with the general rule being one token per 100 words.
Authors using Kindle Vella can expect to keep 50% of the price a customer paid for the tokens used to buy an episode. That wording is key because it takes into account token price varies based on how many tokens are bought and where they are bought (mobile or web). Authors may also be eligible for a launch bonus “based on customer activity and engagement.”