Amazon’s Kindle Worlds has secured a license to Kurt Vonnegut works like Slaughterhouse-Five and Cat’s Cradle, allowing users to write and sell fan fiction based on those works.
Kindle Worlds, which launched in May, makes this work by paying royalties to both the authors of the fan fiction and the original content creators. It also includes Alloy Entertainment properties like “Gossip Girl” and “Vampire Diaries” and works by Hugh Howey, among others. Amazon sets the prices on the finished works and retains the rights to them.
Amazon secured the license from RosettaBooks, which publishes the digital editions of Vonnegut’s works. Vonnegut’s print publisher, Random House, apparently wasn’t involved at all, though I’ve asked Amazon.
Amazon did work directly with Vonnegut’s trust. A trustee, Donald Farber, said in a statement, “We have been very pleased with the success of the Kurt Vonnegut backlist on Kindle. With Kindle Worlds we have an opportunity to further his reach with today’s readers. This is a natural extension of his legacy and a testament to the enduring popularity of his characters and stories. Billy Pilgrim, unstuck in time, is going to quickly become a Kindle Worlds favorite.”