I think this is brilliant.
Although I recently decried the short story collection as a salable medium, that was largely assuming print sales, and, insofar as I accounted for e-book sales, I assumed the e-book would be sold as a whole (e.g. fourteen short stories, indivisible, for $9.99).
I've been championing the sale of e-short stories as individual units for awhile now, and I really hope this movement catches on. I've oft been on a short (hour-long or so) plane/train/car ride and wished for a short story or two to help pass the time; if I had a Kindle, I would buy individual short stories (say, at $0.99 a piece) in a heartbeat.
I also think the idea could be extended to full e-books, resurrecting the idea of novel serialization (à la 19th century literature). Imagine—you could be a twenty-first century Charles Dickens, serializing your novels on Amazon and getting paid relative to how many installments you produce. (Sorry—that was exceedingly optimistic compared to my usual tone, but I think e-books have tremendous untapped potential. I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year!)
Therefore, my predictions for the World of Tomorrow:
• Over the next decade, overall book sales will be driven more and more by e-book sales, which (at first) won't really cannibalize print book sales. My feeling is, at least until the end of the decade, they'll be two separate markets. I think this will change as the price of e-reader technology falls precipitously and color screen technology becomes available (remember what happened with television?).
• The release of e-short stories and the advent of e-serialization will be a crucial step forward in this process. I'd have to crunch the numbers on it, but I think $0.99 per short story and $1.99 per book chapter/installment would be decent price points (not accounting for inflation).
• Now that I'm thinking of it, poetry could also see a major resurgence in the e-book format. See? All my tried-and-true publishing advice, which holds so well for print books, goes out the window with e-books.
• Piracy will, unfortunately, become more of an issue as the e-book market continues to grow. However, I'm not convinced the book industry will suffer to the same degree as the music industry.
What do you think?