President Shimon Peres
is the first person to star in a new series of personal interviews being launched in recent days by online retail giant Amazon.
Amazon, which operates the world's biggest digital bookstore, announced a new product last week: The Kindle Singles Interview – a series of personal and exclusive interviews, which will be sold as e-books on Kindle Store.
The new interviews will be included in the Kindle Singles sub-store opened by Amazon two years ago, which offer a variety of short stories, memoirs and essays, and now personal interviews as well.
The debut Kindle Singles interview is called "The Optimist" and features a conversation with President Peres
conducted by David Samuels, a longtime contributor to The New Yorker and The Atlantic, in association with Tablet Magazine – the daily online magazine of Jewish and Israel news, ideas, and culture.
Peres accepted Amazon's request to be the first interviewee, and Samuels arrived in Israel
last Sunday and sat down with him for two hours. The interview is available for $0.99, and additional digital interviews with other key figures from around the world will be offered later on.
As part of the interview, which begins with the sentence "Shimon Peres is the world's biggest optimist," the president speaks about the efforts to further the peace process, the global danger in the Iranian nuclear race, Israel's first Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion,
and his outlook on the technological world and global changes like the social network evolution.
During the interview, Peres refers to Facebook
founder Mark Zuckerberg
as the world's most important revolutionary leader today.
In the interview Peres also insists that peace talks
arranged by US Secretary of State John Kerry are serious and calls for a peaceful resolution to the conflict with Iran,
saying that the sanctions imposed on the Islamic Republic are working.
The new launch is part of Amazon's efforts to create more independent and exclusive content on its own, instead of just distributing content created by other sources. Similar steps of creating independent content have been taken by other Internet companies like Netflix and AOL.
Interestingly, Amazon says the new series was inspired by in-depth interviews featured in Playboy magazine from the 1960s to the 1980s with important figures in American culture and politics, like Martin Luther King, Jimmy Carter, John Lennon and Yoko Ono.
These interviews "pioneered the idea of a long-form, extended dialogue with the great personalities of our time,” said David Blum, editor of Kindle Singles. “We hope to carry forward that tradition, and use the unlimited digital space to engage great artists and thinkers in conversation with skilled writers and interviewers.”