As a former bookseller, book editor and novelist, I imagined digital would create the best bookstore ever. A bookstore with no limitations, accessible whenever and wherever a customer might wish. A bookstore where:
- Shelves teemed with electronic editions of authors’ best work, carefully nurtured by editors and publishers.
- Readers could find specific books in a split second, or they could spend hours, if they chose, wandering among thousands of books, without interruption, never hitting a wall.
- Novels would (finally!) be cross-referenced by subject matter so readers could find the novels they really want to read.
- There would be lots of lists, lovingly curated to help readers. Prize lists and bestseller lists, of course, but also lists from small groups of friends, co-workers and students from around the country, all eager to share their favorite titles.
- Authors, writers groups, publishers and everyone who loves books would finally find a home.
But Look at What Happened. The dream bookstore is a burgeoning nightmare.
- Quality literature is being purposely drowned, unreachable in a sea of amateurish prose.
- Clutter and confusion rule, forcing book publishers to pony up or let their titles sink into oblivion.
- Readers are distracted by visual assault from every direction.
- Sites are designed to restrict readers’ movements and imaginations, forcing them down the paths and toward the products of the merchant’s choosing.
- Over 95% of all fiction simply can’t be discovered unless the reader already knows the title or author’s name
- Merchandisers are doing everything in their power to wrest control of pricing away from book publishers, to devalue the work of authors and editors and undermine traditional book publishing as a whole.
It became increasingly clear that no one else was going to create my dream eBookstore.
So I asked six close friends, book lovers all, “Do you believe digital books should offer wonderful promise to readers? Can we create the best eBookstore ever?”
Luckily, I asked the right six friends, each already a successful entrepreneur in technology design, software engineering, online marketing, book publishing, investment banking, and commercial law. Their immediate response: “Absolutely.”
Still, I think we were all a little amazed at how quickly our individual strengths have forged into one tremendously excited team and how clearly we share a vision of what an eBookstore should be.
The Authoropolis Promise
- We will surprise and delight book lovers of all kinds.
- We will elevate the standards for content, function and reader discovery of digital books.
- We will be allies of authors, bookstores and author groups.
- We will remain an unwavering ally of the book publishing industry.