By Edward Nawotka
Today’s feature discusses Stéphane Hessel, France’s 93-year old publishing phenomenon and the success of his 14-page political essay, Indignez vous! (Time for Outrage!). The book is just one example of a larger trends toward publishing short — in fact much shorter — works and selling them online. You might call it the resurrection of pamphleteering.
Ironically, online, where the vast majority of this type publishing takes place, the trend takes on another moniker: long form. There are a variety of online sites — Longreads, Longform.org, The Atavist — that are taking advantage of readers desire to read something longer than a typical web post but far shorter than a book. Or as Amazon’s Kindle Singles tag line puts it, these are often “compelling ideas expressed at their natural length.”
The reasons why these types of stories are gaining so much attention now is simple: they are just the type of stories that were the purview of magazines — the type of well financed, patient magazine that is slipping away into history.
Can the Web — and a few plucky print start-ups — bridge the information gap and save this sort of long-form journalism?