The music industry regularly frets about choices made in the past that saw albums unbundled on iTunes and sold as individual tracks. But there’s an interesting parallel with what’s going on in the book publishing industry right now. At an Independent Publishers Guild meeting in London last night, Random House’s digital publisher Dan Franklin talked about his company’s Storycuts initiative, selling individual short stories for 99p a pop from past collections by authors including Julian Barnes, Ruth Rendell and John Grisham. “This is following the iTunes models in selling stories in exactly the same model that they sell singles,” he said. “I think there’s an opportunity to do something with short stories – to look at them as digital pop music, if the novel is a symphony.” Franklin also said that selling e-book shorts for 99p could bolster higher prices for full novels, against a wave of self-published fiction hitting Amazon and Apple’s stores. “I really believe that testing the shortform area and pricing appropriately is one of the best ways of countering the notion that something should be 99p if it’s 100,000 words long.”

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