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Amazon gets down and Dickensian with serialised stories for Kindle
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  • September 8, 2012
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Online retailer takes a leaf out of Charles Dickens’ book by publishing fiction ranging from romance to crime in instalments

Amazon is following in the grand old footsteps of Charles Dickens by launching a series of serialised stories for the Kindle.

Just as Dickens published novels including The Pickwick Papers and Oliver Twist in regular instalments, listening to responses from readers as they came in, so Amazon’s new Kindle serials programme will release stories in episodes. Readers will be able to discuss the latest developments on Amazon’s discussion boards, with authors looking in and learning from what their readers say.

Amazon made the announcement on Thursday, as it also unveiled the new Kindle Fire tablets. In honour of Dickens, it is offering readers the opportunity to download Oliver Twist and The Pickwick Papers for free, delivered in the same segments as they were originally. It is also launching its first eight Kindle serials, which range from romance to crime.

“Serialised fiction is perfect for contemporary book culture, where writers interact with their readers directly and books can be delivered with an immediacy that the old pulp writers never could have imagined,” said Neal Pollack, whose serialised novel Downward-Facing Death, about the murder of a yoga empire founder, is part of the Kindle serials launch. “It’s fast and fun and you barely have time to blink. I can’t wait to see how my book ends.”

Andrew Peterson, author of the Kindle story Option to Kill, a thriller that plays out “over the course of 36 lightning-fast hours”, said serials were “ideal for thrillers because keeping readers engaged and

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