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Why Are Books The Length They Are?

Chris Anderson speaks about the ideas that prompted the launch of TED Books.

Kyana Gordon
Kyana Gordon on January 28, 2011. @Tropikyana

TED, the renowned nonprofit and ideas conference is spreading its own mantra into the world of digital publishing with the launch of TED Books. Known for providing a global platform for distinguished intellectuals, writers, thinkers and makers to share their vision in a series of short talks, the organization plans to use the same approach towards books. Amid the kick off of the imprint, TED’s Chris Anderson shared the big ideas behind publishing short books to the Kindle platform with the TED Blog. Below are a few key points from the Q&A:

  • With limited reading options, TED Books offers a unique choice by delivering a dynamic idea which can be digested in an hour, appealing to the hoards of extremely busy but curious people that are eager to learn. Using TED Talks as a model, Anderson saw a gap for ideas to be presented in a concise way.
  • The growth both the Kindle and iPad experienced got TED’s mental wheels turning. Among the questions the organization asked before delving into publishing:

“Why are books the length they are? Is it because it inherently takes 300 pages to explain an idea? Or is it more to do with the traditions of book publishing in print? Was it possible that in today’s fast-moving world with so many demands on people’s time that there was an opportunity for a shorter type of book?”

Future plans include new releases of TED Books from existing speakers who delve into the topics initiated in their talks, while others books will be from new authors. TED is also exploring a subscription option for each release and hosting conversations around each book.

[via TED Blog]

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