Binge Reading with Kindle Vella

We binge-watch episodes of our favorite shows and binge-listen to episodes of our favorite podcasts. Why not binge-read episodes in our favorite genre?

In July 2021, Amazon launched Kindle Vella as a way to offer avid readers an alternative to reading news or surfing social media on their phones for short spurts of time. I’m not talking short stories; I’m describing long stories cut into scenes of about five minutes. In other words, serial reading.

For you lovers of the three-book series, isn’t it aggravating when a book ends and you have to wait a year or more for the next installment? With Kindle Vella, you don’t have to wait. The author keeps writing, and you keep reading.

I’m currently engrossed in a 72—no, wait; the author added another episode—73-episode young adult thriller, The Dream Heist, by Christina Farley. In the past 30 days, she’s added four episodes (or chapters). The story’s main character, Aria, through her father’s invention, is able to enter the dreams of those who have dementia to discover the source of their lost memories and restore them. Cool concept. Check out my blog on the Storyteller Squad site for the full book review.

Kindle Vella and the authors turn a profit when you purchase their tokens to read the episodes. Amazon gives you 500 tokens when you open an account, and the authors give you the first three episodes of their stories free. The number of tokens charged per episode depends on its length. Here’s the breakout with the averages provided by Kindle.

# TokensAverage # EpisodesPrice
2008$ 1.99
52521$ 4.99
110044$ 9.99
170068$14.99

Note that episodes are on a continual scroll, unlike Kindle’s eBook pages. To compare prices, I sized The Dream Heist’s text on my iPad to the same size as my book, The Demons Among Us, and found that Kindle charges roughly two tokens a page. Though not verified by an expert, here’s how I gauged The Dream Heist:

Episode ## Pages# Tokens
1free
2free
3free
4816
58.7519
610.7522
74.759
8918
97.514
107.2514

I haven’t found an episode yet that cost me 25 or more tokens. Of course, young adult books tend to have shorter chapters. On Amazon, The Demons Among Us eBook retails for $9.99. It’s 384 pages. That would correlate to 768 tokens. If I bought the 1100 token package for $9.99, I’d have tokens left over after reading it. Not a bad deal. Of course I had to end my book, and the Vella stories have the ability to continue forever.

To access Vella:

  • go to the Kindle app,
  • scroll to the bottom,
  • click the Discover tab,
  • then tap Kindle Vella.

You’ll find a robust choice of genres, each featuring hundreds of stories. Like all Amazon books, they have popularity stars, customer reviews, and helpful book descriptions.

Unlike regular digital books, readers have the opportunity to like each episode. And the authors leave personal messages to the readers. After one episode, Christina Farley wrote about how her grandmother suffered from dementia. I love that personal touch.

Other benefits to this new serialized way of reading include:

  • A user-friendly way to find great authors (Christina Farley had already published four books, yet I’d never heard of her),
  • An opportunity to crowdsource unpublished authors,
  • And a policy to return an episode you don’t like for a refund.

Check it out and let me and other readers know what you think by commenting below.

3 thoughts on “Binge Reading with Kindle Vella”

  1. I’m intrigued! Vella sounds awesome for readers, offering quick reads of short episodes. Are authors posting their books here, by manipulating and shortening chapters to create appropriate word counts for the episodes? Are you doing this?

    1. Check it out! From what I’ve seen, writers are creating manuscripts specifically for Vella. No, I have not jumped on the bandwagon yet, but am considering it.

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