The Kindle Vella is not a new reading tablet, even though Kindles are generally Amazon’s book gadgets, but a history subscription service that allows you to read serialized works of fiction written specifically for the platform.
Serialization is about breaking a story into pieces and publishing it at intervals, just like a TV show, and judging by the Kindle Vella’s existence, Amazon clearly believes there’s an appetite for re-reading this format.
That said, the Kindle Vella has been around for a while, and it doesn’t seem to have gained much traction – it hasn’t been helped by its limited availability and access methods.
But authors continue to publish in it, and some readers may find it a charming throwback to the origins of the novel – after all, classic writers like Charles Dickens, Jules Verne, and Arthur Conan Doyle used the serialization format for their works of fiction. And now, in 2022, potential and up-and-coming writers can use Velli in the same way.
But before you dive into a spellbinding romance or gripping thriller, we need to quench your excitement with a big bucket of icy reality – there are plenty of stars around Vella’s accessibility.
It’s only available in the US right now, and while you can access it on both iPhones and Android phones, you can’t really read the Vella stories on Kindle readers…at least not yet.
So, to better understand what Amazon’s Kindle Vella story serialization software is and if you can use it, we’ve written this guide to answer all your burning questions.
To the point
- What is this? Digital history serialization service
- when is it coming out? Now in the US, TBC elsewhere
- How much it costs? About $2 for 20,000 words
Price of Amazon Kindle Vella
You need to buy tokens to read Vella series. Each story is divided into chapters – we’ll learn more about how this works later – and you’ll need to spend tokens to buy each chapter as you read them.
Roughly one token is worth 100 words – so a 600-word chapter will require about six tokens. Easy so far. However, the price of the token varies depending on how many you buy.
|Number of tokens||Price||Price of each token||Coarse number of words|
The more tokens you buy in one transaction, the cheaper each single one is, with several packages to choose from. We’ve made the chart above so you can see the packages – all prices are in US Dollars as that’s the only currency currently accepted.
If you’re an avid author, you should probably know that you only get 50% of the money you spend on your episode because the other half goes to Amazon. Your cash also depends on the package the reader has purchased – if they chose a better value package, it means you get less money per word than if they chose cheaper options.
Check the Kindle Direct Publishing website (opens in a new tab) to find out how it works, with some examples of how much you would earn in certain situations. Suffice it to say that you will have to sell a lot of chapters to earn real money.
Availability of Amazon Kindle Vella
At the moment, Kindle Vella can only be used in the United States, whether you are a reader or an author. This means you can’t read with the service if you live outside of the US, and you can’t submit stories through the platform as an author either.
We are waiting for official information on the possibility of launching Vella elsewhere, but it is very possible. Amazon often launches services in the United States before introducing them elsewhere, such as Halo and Luna.
That said, the Kindle Vella has been around for a while now and there are no signs of its availability.
At launch, you could use Velli through the official one Kindle Vella website (opens in a new tab)or via the iOS app, but after five months, the Kindle app for Android also allowed access. Since Amazon Fire tablets use Android, that also means they can use it. However, oddly enough, you cannot access it on Amazon Kindle readers.
So how does the Kindle Vella actually work?
Using the Kindle Vella, the author will split the story into multiple chapters ranging from 600 to 5,000 words, and unlike a standard book, you buy each chapter separately instead of buying the entire story in one go.
Amazon calls these chapters “episodes,” which makes sense because, like episodes from a series, they’re often released incrementally, but they’re essentially just chapters.
Amazon advises authors to write stories specifically in serial format, which makes the chapters more engaging than simply tearing a standard book into arbitrary segments.
The authors will make the first three chapters of the series available for free to give readers a taste of the story, and then, if you like what you read, you can pay for each new entry in the narrative.
These chapters won’t be available right away, although Amazon recommends each author publish a few in advance. New entries could appear daily, weekly, or more sporadically, depending on the whims of the writer. You can follow the story or the author to be notified when new posts are available.
You can like a story you like to give the author a dopamine boost in rating, and once a week you can also like a story you really like – Featured works are often recommended to more readers on the website.
Writers can leave notes at the end of each entry to thank readers or add their feedback on story or chapter development – but this is optional and not all writers do this.
Does Kindle Vella work on Kindle e-readers?
For some reason, Vella is currently not available on Amazon’s Kindle readers, even though those devices are meant for reading.
There’s no official reason why that’s the case, but we’re guessing it’s because Kindles are designed to require an infrequent internet connection, while Vella needs constant updates to check in for new chapters and stories. The process of buying tokens to buy a chapter, rather than just buying a book through your Amazon account, can also add an extra step, which can prove to be a hassle for slow-running Kindles.
But let’s hope one of two things happens. First, it’s possible that a software update will make Vella available on existing Kindles.
Otherwise, we’d like future Kindle readers to come with the service available. That said, even models that have come out since the Kindle Vella, such as the Kindle Scribe with stylus, don’t support it, so we’re not optimistic that a new one will be coming anytime soon.
Either way, it’s important that Vella comes to the Kindle at some point, because reading a story on a computer or iPhone screen isn’t as fun as doing it on a beautiful E Ink display.