Kindle Vella sounds like a pretty innovative project in a world where novels and other book formats dominate much of the industry. Vella wants to give authors the opportunity to publish short, interactive stories in serial format, made primarily for mobile devices. All mobile devices you ask? No, in an inexplicable move, only iOS users will enjoy this innovative innovative format, with Vella unavailable in the Kindle Android app.
As Amazon explains, Vella is part of its Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) program, which allows independent authors to publish their work for free, both digitally and in pocket. Vella stories consist of easily digestible pieces of 600 to 5000 words, with the first three episodes available for free (if you̵
- Marking: Readers can use tags to browse specific topics and genres to find stories.
- Following: When a reader follows a Kindle Vella story, they are notified each time a new episode is released.
- Thumbs up: Readers can leave a thumbs up on each episode they like.
- Faves: Once a week, readers who have purchased tokens will receive a Fave to award the story they liked most that week. Amazon will include stories with the most favorites in the Kindle Vella store to help other readers discover popular stories.
- Author notes: Authors can speak directly to their readers at the end of the episodes to share insights into the story and content behind the scenes.
- Sharing: It’s easy for readers to share the Kindle Vella stories they love straight from their phones via Twitter, Facebook and other social channels or via email and text with friends.
Amazon first opened the format for writers three months ago, and now there are already “tens of thousands of Kindle Vella episodes across dozens of genres and micro-genres,” said Kindle Vella product manager Virginia Milner. Included are tons of new work from best-selling authors, such as “Audrey Carlan’s witty romance The Marriage Auction, Hugh Howey’s memoir Death and Life, and CG Cooper’s gripping thriller Daring Hope.”
For what it’s worth, it looks like you can consume Vella stories on Android using your browser, so you’re not completely locked out. But it’s a shame that an international behemoth of a company like Amazon feels the need to save some precious dollars by not committing to implementing a new experience properly on all relevant mobile platforms. It’s not the only company doing this (remember Instagram, Snapchat and Clubhouse started as iOS-only apps?), But Kindle is so established at this point that this feels like unnecessary shenanigans. It may also show that Amazon is not completely committed to the new format, which would be a shame for writers who poured their resources into Vella.
To check out the Kindle Vella yourself, go to amazon.com/kindle-vella. Currently, the format is only available in the United States. And did we mention that it is only available via browsers and the iOS Kindle app?