Amazon is finally getting in on the fandom and fanfiction action online in their latest business move. With the much discussed and rebelled against news that Yahoo has purchased the festering creative epicenter of online fandoms – Tumblr – this is clearly a trend.
According to Reuters, Amazon is going one step further and delving headfirst into fanfiction, having announced its brand new venture – Kindle Worlds. The basic premise of Kindle Worlds is that Amazon will purchase the licensing rights to beloved franchises, be they books, films or TV shows – and then give fans the opportunity to pen their own takes on the story. And then sell them, with Amazon making the largest chunk of the profit, naturally.
Of course, fan fiction and online fandoms have existed pretty much since the dawn of the internet and people aren’t just awakening to the idea of creating the endings they like for the characters they love. So, in order to make it work, the giant online retailer will have to come up with something that makes Kindle Worlds different to, say, a forum. And that something is obviously, the money. Never before have writers of fanfiction been able to profit from their work, due to a little thing called copyright law. So now that Amazon is adding profit (however small and unlikely it may be) to the mix, it may actually have a workable business model. In its effort to legitimize fan fiction, the company is establishing a model under which it acts as publisher and pays fan-writers between 20 and 35 percent of sales, depending on length.
The trial run of Kindle Worlds will kick off three teen TV series - Gossip Girl, Pretty Little Liars and The Vampire Diaries - from Warner Bros Television Group's Alloy Entertainment, Amazon said on its website. The rights to other franchises will be optioned and announced in the coming weeks