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The Atlantic kindles a new relationship with Amazon

Edna O’Brien, Curtis Sittenfeld, and Paul Theroux are among the writers who will be making their short fiction available exclusively to Kindle users thanks to a new deal between online retailer Amazon.com and the general interest magazine The Atlantic. The first two of these stories, O’Brien’s “Shovel Kings” and Christopher Buckley’s “Cynara,” are available today. From the press release:

As outlets publishing fiction rapidly dwindle, The Atlantic asserts its historic commitment to the form by introducing two new short stories each month via Amazon’s Kindle “ becoming the first magazine to deliver fiction exclusively to Kindle readers…. These works will also be available for purchase and reading with the Kindle for iPhone and Kindle for PC apps, as well as planned Kindle platform expansions for Mac and Blackberry.

At the risk of sounding snarky, this Quillblogger would like to point out the irony in the first clause of that opening sentence, given the magazine’s decision in 2005 to cease publishing short fiction on a monthly basis and to group fiction into a kind of annual gulag in their summer issue.

Moreover, The New York Times points out that authors who have their work published as part of this agreement will have access to a rather exclusive audience:

For authors who sign with The Atlantic for the Kindle deal, their contracted work is limited to that one format, since those who don’t own a Kindle “ or an iPhone, on which readers can install a Kindle app “ won’t be able to read it.

Participating authors, who have been paid what the NYT refers to as “a four-figure fee,” may at some future time reprint their stories in collections or other periodicals, but they are prohibited from allowing them to appear on competing e-readers.