I seem to remember a lot of book reviews that run along the line of “The book at hand started as a compelling article in [The New Yorker, The Atlantic, or some other high-brow magazine] and should’ve stayed as such. Instead, the author signed a book deal and the result is a 200-page book that contains enough ideas for a tenth of that length.” I suspect that this is the impetus for the Kindle Singles’ motto ” Compelling Ideas Expressed at Their Natural Length”.
Paul Carr credits the Kindle Singles for revitalizing long-form journalism and doing its part to usher in “The Golden Era of Books”. I don’t know much about long-form journalism, but I will add the observation that the Kindle Singles are really the only materials I cannot get from my academic library, my local public library, nor the interlibrary loan system at either places. As such, it’s about the only type of writing that I have to buy to read (as opposed to buying to own or buying to satisfy that terrible impulse for acquisition). Go, go, crafty Amazon!
Update 8/30: I still don’t know much about long-form journalism, but I know a little more from listening to Michael Krasny interview Evan Ratliff, an editor of The Atavist, a publisher of “bestselling nonfiction stories that are longer than magazine articles but shorter than books”.