Now that Amazon has successfully established itself as a major player in the online publishing world, it's decided to branch out even more. After offering to pay writers for Kurt Vonnegut fan fiction, it's now decided that people like reading biographies — but they're just too darned long. Yesterday, the company announced a new "Icons" series, which will bring short biographies to Kindle's platform. "In a time when our fascination with the private aspects of public lives is so intense, it's not surprising that biography has become one of the most prominent forms of narrative nonfiction," says James Atlas, former editor of the Penguin Lives biography series. "Yet reading habits have changed dramatically in the digital age."
What's first on the list for a short biographical treatment? Jesus.
The e-book, fittingly entitled Jesus, will launch in December 2013, with more Icons installments to follow on a bimonthly basis. The list encompasses some obvious choices: though none of them quite reach the stature of a major religious figure, we'll see books on Stalin, Edgar Allen Poe, and Ernest Hemingway. Rounding out the first ten subjects are also a few more recent choices, including Alfred Hitchcock and David Lynch (the only one to remain inconveniently alive.) Amazon already publishes essays and longform interviews; it launched the latter only a few weeks ago and quickly nabbed a session with President Barack Obama. But an updated take on your elementary classroom bookshelf's condensed lives of great men is a decent addition to the line.