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Short eBooks as Samplers

One of the common strategies I see larger publishing companies taking with short ebooks is to use them as samplers for a larger series. While I strongly dislike the practice of breaking something that is properly a novel into several small "novellas," I enjoy series of novellas and I enjoy the sampler approach. The difference is that in the latter two approaches, the short ebook stands on its own. It has a full story arc, and comes to a statisfying ending within that arc, even if it is clear there is more to the overall story.

The Devil You Know

The Devil You Know

The most famous philosopher in the world wants to sell his soul to buy 20 more years for his work, and the demon sent to complete the transaction is suspicious that he's trying to pull a trick of some sort. But what? The "mystery" aspect of the plot is fun, and the fantasy world in which the action is set is interesting (particularly for the glimpses of the bureaucracy of Hell...) but the real joy in this novella is the character of the demon and what the attempt to understand the philosopher's motives does to him.


K.J. Parker

Bag of Meat on Ball of Dirt

Bag of Meat on Ball of Dirt book cover

Mara Altman sets off on a journey of discovery to India... but she's not trying to find herself. She is trying to understand why so many Westerners go to India to try to find themselves. The book manages to take the desire to find oneself seriously without taking itself too seriously, and the result is a fun read that sneaks in some thought-provoking ideas.


Mara Altman

Introducing: 31 Ghost Novels to Read Before You Die

Time for another Book Introduction guest post! This week, we have an introduction to a collection of essays about ghost stories, from writer and ghost story enthusiast Deb Atwood.

31 Ghost Novels to Read Before You Die

by Deb Atwood

31 Ghost Novels to Read Before You Die book cover.

I’ve never seen a ghost. And—gasp—I’m not sure I believe in ghosts.

But I love them.

The World That Forgot How to Dance

The World That Forgot How to Dance book cover

This story is set in a world where dancing can summon magic, and where both the dancing and the magic are banned. The story follows a young woman who loves to dance, and wants to bring it back into the world. Her first attempt to do this goes wrong, and she ends up in jail. There, she meets a fellow prisoner who makes her change how she thinks about her experience, which sets in motion events that will force her to confront her fears and find strengths she didn't know she had.


Olivia Berrier

Browsing for Short eBooks

James Patterson recently announced a new initiative in publishing short ebooks, called Bookshots. The idea is to publish short, fast-paced stories. Here is a good summary, if you want more details. This particular initiative doesn't seem like it will be publishing the sort of books I usually like to read, but I am happy to see more publishers recognizing the potential of shorter writing.


This is a fun collection of short essays about European languages. Dorren introduces some of the smaller languages and explains some of the history and quirks of the larger ones. Along the way, he highlights the many ways languages change and interact. The result is a very enjoyable book that may also make you look at language in a new way.


Gaston Dorren

Introducing: No Rest for the Wicked

I don't read horror, but that is a personal preference, not an indictment of the genre. I'm always happy to share book introductions for horror short ebooks. Today's book introduction comes to us from English author Dane Cobain.

No Rest for the Wicked

by Dane Cobain

Along the Bosphorus

Along the Bosphorus book cover

This book gives the reader a peak into life in Istanbul in the first half of the 20th century, and specifically into the role of the Bosphorus in that life. It is an excerpt from a longer book, and suffers a bit from lack of context, but it is still a great read.


Orhan Pamuk

The Resistance

The Resistance

This short ebook consists of two in-depth articles discussing concerns people are raising about the role of computers and algorithms in our current and future life, with a short essay at the end wrapping things up. The first article looks at the role of algorithms and social media in today's world and the second looks at concerns about the role of artificial intelligence in our future.


Joel Achenbach

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