PopularSoda hasn’t been around in its current form for too long, but we’ve had our eye on ebooks since the beginning. Right now is a great time to get into ebooks. Here’s how the ebook market got here, what’s going on now, and what’s happening next for self-published and ebook authors.
THE FIRST WAVE OF EBOOKS
During the first wave, early adopters bought the first (and incredibly expensive!) ereaders. Everything was shiny and new, and this stage was mostly about figuring out the technology and capabilities. There was virtually no self-publishing: ebooks were nothing more than digital copies of already-printed books. Users could upload their own text files to the ereaders, but there wasn’t a place to share individual writings worldwide, or a way to make money off of them.
Limited market meant limited choices. Limited technology meant that ebooks were really just text files. There was no interactivity and even the rendered images (when available) weren’t that great. Despite these hurdles, some people saw the potential and jumped on board (Lila is going to out herself as an ebook hipster here because she had a PRS-500 Sony Reader before they were available to the public). Most readers didn’t pay any attention to ebooks until the second wave.
THE SECOND WAVE OF EBOOKS
At this point, the technology was solid and ereaders were being mass-produced. The price was still pretty high and preserved ereaders’ status as a novelty and not a necessity. Self-publishing options opened up,but confusing programs and pricing structures as well as a lack of customization initially kept some authors away. The DIY publishing technology expanded and evolved over the course of this wave, becoming more accessible with every update.
In the second wave, we really started to see the first success stories in ebook self-publishing. Amanda Hocking immediately jumps to mind. This self-published twenty-something author sold millions of her ebooks, landed a traditional publishing deal, and sold the film rights for one of her series. She wasn’t the only one to find indie success: John Locke, Michael Prescott, Louise Voss, and J.A. Konrath are also among the top-selling self-published authors. These highly publicized outliers and newer, better self-pub technology and increased availability of ereaders led to the gold rush of the third wave of ebooks.