Why the Indie E-book Revolution is Good for Readers

Self-publishing isn’t just for that weird guy with a garage full of unsold manifestos anymore. Amazon and Smashwords have opened up the floodgates for anyone who wants to publish e-books—for free.

Established authors as well as a lot of newbies are diving in. Some say this has led to a “tsunami of swill,” torrent of tripe, yes, a lot of badly written ebooks.

But the Indie Ebook Revolution is good, very good, for readers.

Why?  Three reasons:


Hardcovers are hovering round $20, and E-books from traditional publishers at $8-$10. You can pickup an Indie E-book for $3 or so. Some authors even give away their books for free to get you hooked. Has Jonathan Franzen done that for you lately?


Paper books have a short shelf life. If they don’t sell right away, they are pulled and pulped! E-books never die. What if your favorite author couldn’t get published anymore because she only sold 25,000 books and not 250,000? You might never find out how that series ends…


The so-called midlist has been dying for some time. These are the authors who sell but not well enough for big publishers’ bottom lines. So the industry focuses mostly on blockbusters. Do you want to trust all your book choices to a few trendy people in NY who happen to work for one of the six (yes there are only six) big publishing houses?

OK, so finding a good Indie book might be a little harder, but hey all you’re risking a little time and the price of a cup of fancy coffee. And you could discover a hot new Indie writer, the way some people discover music bands.

Did I mention I have a new Indie e-book coming out soon? But self-interest aside…

What’s good for writers is also good for readers.

With Indie e-books, writers take home more, around 60%. The traditional route, they get 15% minus agent fees if they have one. The more money an author makes, the more time they dedicate to writing–which means more, higher quality books for readers.

And if you are an idealist like me and believe that books are essential not just for entertainment but for education and the exchange of ideas, then

more books from more perspectives will make the world a better place.

And that’s something worth fighting for.

Check out an Indie author today and join the revolution!

A few ways to find them:

Smashwords.com has a huge collection of independent authors

The Independent Author Network

Indies Unlimited Amazon page

IndiePENdents.org book list

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14 Responses to Why the Indie E-book Revolution is Good for Readers

  1. Ruth Ellen Parlour says:

    I’m going to be releasing my first ebook in the summer if all goes well and reading blog posts like this makes me all the more confident. The mid list thing is something I haven’t thought about but I definitely agree that publishers are after the block busters. Epub opens up so much more opportunity for new writers. A good post, thank you 🙂

    • sarazaske says:

      I think that ebooks will save the midlist, and save writing as a more normal profession. Very few writers can make a living and readers may not realize they aren’t all pulling in huge amount of money like J.K. Rowling or Suzanne Collins.Congratulations on your book. Be sure to let me know when it is out!

  2. Thanks for posting this. Things you quoted above are a lot of the reasons that I try to purchase e-books through smashwords whenever possible. It is the same reason that I promote and review indie authors whenever possible, to give them a greater exposure. I personally think that it is time that we take back the rights from the big publishing world, and get to write what we want, instead of having to be at the whim of what “popularity” dictates. I am going to reblog this so that more people can get to see this also.

    • sarazaske says:

      Great! We need more book bloggers like you. Without the usual gatekeeprs (agents and publishers) readers can have a difficult time finding a good ebook. That’s where we come in. Reviews are essential to making this work. Book bloggers are really the forefront of the ebook revolution!:) Thanks for reblogging–I’ll stop by!

  3. Trev says:

    Good post. Nice to hear someone optimistic. I’ve heard enough of the doomsayers about the world of books going to pot lately.

    • sarazaske says:

      Thanks! There’s no denying there are a lot of bad ebooks, but there are some good ones too. This just gives the readers the power to decide instead of agents and editors — it’s more democratic. The good ones will rise to the top.

  4. sadieforsythe says:

    Informative post-I appreciate someone saying it.

  5. E.W. Soper says:

    Great post! Allow me to add to your list of links at the end of the post http://www.Lulu.com, through which I’ve published the first book in my trilogy. It’s another great place to find Indie authors (like me).

  6. You are so right! Thanks for writing this post. The world of books was going to pot because too many publishers, heavily invested in print books and the print book workflow, were looking only at the bottom line and wouldn’t risk resources on untried material. Hundreds of years ago, when the printing press was first invented, authors were publishers. Publishing houses emerged as conveniences for authors who didn’t want to deal with the technical aspects or huge initial investment of printing a book. Distribution was always a problem. Now, with everyone migrating to the web and offering easy ways for people to publish, the power is back in the hands of the writer, where it should be. Distribution isn’t a problem with ebooks, and their authors have immediate feedback from readers so everyone develops together. It’s exciting!

    • sarazaske says:

      That’s a really good point. I’ve heard a lot of people saying publishing is doomed, but perhaps its just going to go back to author/publishers. Or some sort of hybrid. I think it’s a really interesting development with great potential.

  7. mel says:

    Reblogged this on Mel Cusick-Jones and commented:
    Really liked this post by Sara Zaske and have her dystopian book The First in my to read pile

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