October 30th, 2013 / 4:05 pm
Behind the Scenes

Day One: An Amazon Joint

The publishing arm of Amazon announced that they’re going to publish a weekly journal called DAY ONE. It’s for the Kindle and will feature short stories and poetry. The first issue is now live. An annual subscription costs $20 but right now it’s only $10.

Their motivation for creating the journal is funny: basically, they say, sometimes it’s hard to know what to read next, “With so many things competing for your attention in this increasingly digital world … especially if you are looking for fresh voices and new perspectives.”

I subscribed.

The editor’s note from Carmen Johnson reiterates the mission, to “feed an audience of literature-hungry, time-constrained readers.” To do this, they went to MFA programs to find writers. They don’t name them, though this issue’s poem comes from Zack Strait, a student at Wichita State.

Along with Strait’s poem—called “Wrought,” and it is, heavily (“Grandpa could forge any object/from tobacco smoke//like a sideshow illusionist//when he worked for the Union/Pacific Railroad”)—there’s a short story by Rebecca Adams Wright called “Sheila.” Haven’t read it yet. It’s “22 pages” if your font size is the third smallest. Day One doesn’t list percentages like the other book I’m reading on my Kindle now: The Battle of $9.99, about the eBook pricing war against Amazon. However, this eBook is put together better than most, with easy jumping around and a nicer table of contents than I’ve seen on my Kindle Fire before.

There’s also a conversation between Strait and Wright. In the first question Wright asks about influences, and Strait says, “That’s a great question!” They seem very nice. The contributor notes are separated; there’s one for the writer and another for the poet. Maybe One Day we won’t have to distinguish the two  things. Day One does give equal attention to the illustrator.

It feels a little strange supporting Amazon this way, and having things I care about supported by Amazon. Strange reciprocity! Should it feel strange that suddenly Amazon—one of the biggest companies in the history of the world—finds something marketable about poetry?

Will Day One be as good as my favorite journals, like Hobart and PANK and Big Lucks? Will it be as edgy as the best online journals, like Robot Melon and NOÖ? Will it aspire to be more like VQR or New Yorker? Does Day One allude to Everyday Genius?

Would you publish with Amazon? I know there are a few htmlgiant readers who already do. How’s it going?



  1. Cultural Arbitrage

      Their royalty system is a bit wonky depending on the option you select though that feeling of selling a piece of your consciousness and receiving a check is priceless.

      They are still digital Wal Mart and no one has written anything decent about the Wash Post deal except buying a credible brand.

      The only bright side is that a company predicated upon reducing structural costs, employees, might be the early to appreciate that someone has to pay the content providers.

      And then it becomes a middle man in the great free for all of pay attention to me expression. Familiar ground I am sure.

  2. Quincy Rhoads

      I feel a little squirrely about this, but still, my first thought was that I should submit to them.

  3. reynard seifert


  4. Cultural Arbitrage

      Was kind of hoping for a Derrida quote for an answer.

  5. reynard seifert

      deleuze & guattari would be more apropos

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