From Penny Dreadful to Kindle Series, the latest Amazon bid

They say that history repeats itself. And even during the transitional era from traditional to digital books, some old genres are coming back to life.

Three of the most successful novels of the British author Charles Dickens – David Copperfield, Oliver Twist and Little Dorrit – originally came out in serial form, indeed Dickens used to write one chapter per month and publish it in journals. This literary genre was called “penny dreadful” and it was in vogue in the XVIII century. The idea of publishing a serialized story had already had a come-back at the beginning of the XIX century in some movies -for example Anna Karenina – and more recently in tv shows. Now Amazon and the digital publisher Plympton have launched the Kindle series, a new device on which books are published chapter by chapter as they are being written.

According to Jennifer Lee, New York Times journalist and Plympton‘s founder, users will love the new serial product as much as they love the Hbo tv series. Obviously, social media and online marketing have played a key role in the promotional campaign, so much so that people might have influenced the characters’ fate by posting comments on the forum. Lee declared: “We believe that great literature is a dialogue between writers and readers. One of our goals at Plympton is to create a publishing model that encourages readers to actively engage with the creative process. Serialized fiction works best when it’s supported by a vocal community of fiction lovers”.

Users can buy chapters one by one and the price ranges from $0.99 to $2.99 each, which is apparently the natural price point of digital content, as evidenced by the success of iTunes stores for songs.

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