Amazon's Kindle Vella episodic story platform to launch in July

Readers will be able to unlock new chapters using credits.

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Amazon is launching a serialized fiction store that lets you unlock episodic, self-published stories using in-app and online purchases. The interactive platform, known as Kindle Vella, is another way for authors to generate revenue from the Kindle Direct Publishing service, which paid out $370 million in royalties to independent writers in 2020. The service is slated for a mid-to-late July launch. 

Despite its name, Kindle Vella won't be available on the company's range of e-readers, with the company choosing to launch direct on Amazon.com and its iOS Kindle app. Initially, at least, the service will be limited to US-based authors who publish stories in English.

Amazon states that serialized stories should range from 600 to 5,000 words per episode, with the first three episodes available for free. To unlock additional chapters, you'll have to fork out for credits (or tokens as Amazon calls them), which range from $2 for 200 tokens to $15 for 1700 tokens, which gives you around 34 episodes. The higher the word count of an episode, the more money you'll have to spend to read it. 

Authors, meanwhile, will pocket 50 percent of the payment revenue their stories generate and can also earn bonuses based on engagement. That's where the social element comes in. Readers will be able to give stories they like the thumbs up, with the score tallied for others to see. There's also a ranking system that will empower active readers (those who spend money) to receive a weekly fave award they can grant to their most-loved story. Those that get the most faves will be featured on a leaderboard of top picks.

Writers looking to boost their interactions can also leave author's notes with additional thoughts and insights or an ETA for the next episode.

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