Ebooks aren’t marketing novelties anymore

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Steven Lyle Jordan, author and futurist

Steven Lyle Jordan

Last week marked my official bid of farewell to my membership at MobileRead.com, an ebook-dedicated site that I have participated in, as a member and a bookseller, since 2006.

MobileRead was a great source of information about the relatively new market of ebooks, when I was first trying to figure out how to get my books out to the world.  Based on weeks of research, then numerous questions about formats, pricing, web venues and quality issues, I learned enough to be able to begin my part-time  career as a novelist by selling in ebook formats.  I was greeted enthusiastically by MR members, who eagerly checked out my novels, made comments, congratulated me on my customer-friendly packaging and service, and wished me well in my endeavors.

That was six years ago.  Things have changed with the passage of time.

When I first sold my ebooks, I did so on my own site because there were no sites selling ebooks by non-professional or independent writers.  Today, there are any number of websites that allow independent authors to sell their ebooks, Amazon.com being only the most widely-known among them.  Ebooks are now recognized pretty much globally; no longer are they a strictly high-tech big-money rat race phenomenon, they are becoming a resource that people at almost any level and culture can enjoy.  Ebook reading gear is more numerous and diverse, and the process of obtaining or even creating an ebook has become easy enough for anyone to handle.

As well, the dividing line between professionally-published authors and independents has thinned.  Today, an independently-produced novel can stand its own in quality and popularity with a novel produced by the major publishing houses, and the public is slowly learning to appreciate independent content.

And finally, those who appreciate ebooks no longer feel the need to support or recommend an author or their books solely for their connection to ebooks.  And although there are still issues of price, quality and marketing methods to work out, the novelty has largely worn off.  Ebooks have become just another product; and I have become just another author.  Such is the case with anything that grows from a novelty, to a phenomenon, to an average commodity.

As a result, the things that originally drew me to MobileRead are no longer relevant to my needs as an author.  As my sympathetic market has decreased there, I’ve come to realize that I need to concentrate on the more general market elsewhere.  And as I’ve come to realize that I wasn’t learning anything new or relevant on the site, I must investigate book-selling resources from more conventional quarters.  It’s time to go mainstream and leave the niche marketing behind (science fiction is enough of a niche as it is, thank you).

So, we move to the next chapter.  So long, MobileRead… and thanks for all the fish.

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8 thoughts on “Ebooks aren’t marketing novelties anymore

  1. Honestly, this really is about the need to move past marketing my books as novelty products, and it seemed like a good time to do so. As your post suggests, there were occasional points of contention over the years between me and MR members (and a few mods); but isn’t that the case everywhere? In any case, no hard feelings, just an acceptance of the next step.

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  2. Donn

    I gave up on MobileRead about a year ago, for reasons similar to yours, but from a different perspective. I am not an published author (self published or otherwise), but a consumer of books. I latched onto “e-books” early, because I liked the convenience, the ability to customize my reading experience (change fonts, font sizes, dictionary look up, etc) and never looked back.

    And sites like mobileread offered information, tips, and camaraderie with other “first users”. But ebooks are not different or unique anymore, and the camaraderie became more like “troll of the week” squabbles.

    I do have to say though, that is unlikely I would have found your books, Steven, if not for mobileread. I know I am appreciative of that.

    I wish you good luck in finding the next avenue for creating awareness of your greatly enjoyable books. I know I am a confirmed fan, and look forward to your next book. When will that be, BTW? :)

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  3. I’ve got two under development, but I have been busy with marketing efforts, so I can’t give you any target dates.

    And yeah, the squabbling was getting tiresome. I honestly hadn’t felt like “one of the community” in quite some time, so when it became clear that there was no marketing benefit in sticking around either, I realized I was done.

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  4. Sherri

    I rarely visit MobileRead anymore, and I miss the old camaraderie when the site was filled with fanatical readers. But, like Donn, I first heard of you by reading some of your posts, and was intrigued enough to buy an ebook.

    As a fellow fan, I look forward to your next book, and wish you great success!

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