Have you ever felt like you’ve read everything there is to read? Found yourself falling back on old favorites for the fiftieth time, or wandering through the shelves of your favorite bookstore or library hoping for something new to grab your eye? Or maybe the current trends just aren’t for you: everything on the bestseller list gets nothing but a resounding “meh.” Fortunately, the digital age has a solution for you: welcome to the world of indie e-books.
What Are Indie E-Books?
Digital format books are nothing new: they’ve been around for over a decade now, but they saw quite the spike in popularity with the release of the Kindle, the first electronic reader. When the format first started out, most of the e-books available were just digital versions of print books from major publishers. As the format gained popularity, however, something new became apparent. Very few people can manage to print thousands of copies of a paper and ink book and distribute them to bookstores nationwide…but just about anyone can put a digital copy of their book online.
Thus was born the indie e-book: novels (and quite a bit of non-fiction) published online directly by the author, without having to break into the notoriously rejection-happy publishing industry. That easy accessibility lead to an absolute tidal wave of new indie books, published online for eReaders and smartphone or tablet apps. E-book distributors were quick to join the party, building their own library of indie books for their customers to download.
Why Read E-Books?
· Variety and quality. One of the biggest draws of indie books is the sheer number and variability of titles available: with no mainstream publishing houses deciding what is or isn’t marketable, just about everything you can imagine exists in the indie world. By the end of 2014, 25 percent of the Nook’s 4 million title collection were self-published indie e-books, and their sales were even higher. Critics of self-publishing often complain that the lack of editors and agents will drench the market in low-quality indie e-books, but readers seem to disagree. Just ask Amanda Hocking and John Locke, who sold millions of self-published indie e-books before landing deals with major publishers
· The Price. Maybe it’s not the genres or the authors making you shy away from the classic bestsellers. Even in e-book form, current New York Times number one Gathering Prey costs $19.99, enough to make a college student or a working parent wince. Since the profits go straight to the author, indie e-books are much cheaper…or even completely free, and still written at a quality that can compete with paper and ink publishing. It’s pretty easy to spend an afternoon in the indie section of your eReaders store and do some serious damage to your tablet’s available memory, without spending a dime.
· No geographical restrictions. The global reach of the Internet goes hand in hand with the huge variety of e-books out there: your new favorite author could come from anywhere in the world, and never had to figure out how to get a publisher to distribute their books to different countries. Likewise, e-books never go out of print to make room for something new on the shelves: every e-book ever published is still out there for you to enjoy!
Where Do I Find E-Books?
The variety and affordability of e-books are great, but their numbers can make a shopping trip a little daunting. Fortunately, just like there’s no shortage of indie e-books, there’s no shortage of websites and stores to help pare down the selection. Websites like Smashwords and Libirio function as a sort of Rotten Tomatoes for e-books, letting you sort through reviews by readers as well as professional critics, and search by price and popularity to find something that takes your fancy. Smartphone and tablet apps, like the Nook book reading apps for Android and other operating systems, will also link you straight to the reader’s online store. Stores are easily sorted by user ratings and reviews, as well as the best sellers – you can see at a glance what’s selling well, and what books and authors are gaining fans among people with tastes similar to yours. Your favorite eReaders store will be the easiest place to start your search and find books already perfectly formatted for the reader you prefer.
Gone are the days when you could plow through everything in your hometown’s library. With an eReader and an Internet connection, the modern day bibliophile can curl up in front of the fire with enough reading to last a lifetime: reading that could come from anywhere in the world, from authors as diverse as the books they put out. No matter what your tastes in reading, there’s something for everyone in the world of independent e-books.