It’s interesting to watch the big boys of the book world duke it out for the next big thing to keep their burgeoning bottom lines in the black. A little over a year a go, Random House gobbled up E. L. James and her successful Fifty Shades trilogy, a former Twilight fan fiction in another life, and turned it into a phenomena that is still going strong. Many authors and readers held their collective breath, waiting for a legal shoe to drop that never did. Soon other publishing houses followed and signed fan fiction authors in an effort to duplicate the success of Fifty Shades. And while none have risen to the same heights as E. L. James, many of these books have enjoyed their time on various best-selling lists as well.
So why am I talking about old news? Earlier today, Amazon announced their new publishing program, Kindle Worlds, aimed specifically at works of fan fiction. They have secured licenses from the various copyright holders of popular fiction, whether it be book, television or movie, and are now offering an avenue for fan fiction authors to cash in on their written odes to the original works that inspired them.
Amazon sees this as a win-win for both the copyright holder and the fan fiction author because both will enjoy the royalties from more sales and an expanded fan base. And while the readers will now pay for something that was originally free to them in the past, the convenience of having their favorite fan fiction stories in book format on their e-readers is a bonus. It might also encourage these readers to branch out into other fandoms.
Amazon plans to launch Kindle Worlds in June with over 50 commissioned works. To read the full press release, go to Amazon’s Press Release page.
So what do you think of this new development? Is this a smart move on Amazon’s part or is this just another ploy to exploit the little guy? I’d love to hear your thoughts.