Wednesday, March 19, 2014

I Invented eBooks and Indie Publishing . . . Sorta

Yes, I, S. Evan Townsend, invented ebooks and indie publishing.

Well, sort of.

About ten years ago I was selling stuff on eBay.  It was mostly old electronics I no longed had a need for because I'd upgraded.  But it got me thinking, what if I could see my book on eBay.  At the time I only had one finished book, Rock Killer.  But here was my thought process: I could sell directly to the readers and cut out the gatekeepers at the publishing houses who only seemed to want to publish stuff by established writers or authors who had agents.  I could convert the Word file of Rock Killer to a PDF and sell it on eBay.  Since the marginal cost of the PDF file was essentially zero, even if I sold it for 99 cents I'd be ahead.

The problem I saw was getting the attention of the readers (this was before most social media).

Then I had an idea that I should make a website called (except that URL was taken) and allow other writers up upload their books, convert them to PDF, and sell them directly to readers, the website taking a small cut.  And readers could leave reviews to help weed out the crap.  Does this sound familiar?

The only problem was I was working more than full time at my job and could see this costing a lot.

So, circa 2004 I invented ebooks (as PDFs) and indie publishing.  I just didn't do anything with either idea.  Now there's Wattpad which is a lot like my idea only readers don't pay.  And Amazon took the ebook concept further with the Kindle ereader and indie publishing has taken off with ereaders and print-on-demand technology.

Which I suppose is a lesson in, if you have a good idea, run with it.

1 comment:

  1. Yep! Pity you didn't - you might have made a more fair business out of it :)