A great piece, Bernard. I'm a huge fan of the short story form, revering Guy de Maupassant
One trend that I've noticed in recent years, is how publishers are calling a book that is the length of a novella, a novel. I know that terminology is flexible when it comes to book length, but the world runs on definitions so most people accept categories like this: Differences Between a Short Story, Novelette, Novella, & a Novel
Novelette, as a term, has all but disappeared. It's as if publishers are gaming the market, recognising that readers have limited concentration spans and marketing shorter forms of stories as 'novels'...as if this will give the reader a sense of achievement.
As an example, I recently read The Pledge
by Friedrich Dürrenmatt. This was turned into an indifferent film in 2001, directed by Sean Penn, and starring Jack Nicholson. The book is vastly superior. The edition I had was published by influential Pushkin Vertigo, and they proudly proclaim that it's a novel on the cover. It's not, it's a novella of 155 pages, about 35,000 words.
Maybe George Saunders' current success with his first novel Lincoln in the Bardo,
will introduce readers to his short stories, for which he's renowned. It's a back-to-front way of attracting readers, but they sometimes have to be led by the nose!