Book Merah: The Scribd Years

...this post has been prepared as part of the Book Merah Ten Year Anniversary Party... to see other posts related to the history of Book Merah, click here.

Amazon's Kindle came out in 2006. Scribd began in 2007. Around the same time,  Facebook was overflowing from college campuses and becoming a curious tool of communication. (I didn't trust Facebook, though, and set up an account under the name of Alps Bethneck,  because I wanted to get a feel of the friend-recommendation algorithm more than anything else.) YouTube: wow! The never-before-seen technical developments in online communication and business  were coming stable--and popular. It became  clear that if I wanted to become a successful self-published writer that I should do it. To delay would be a costly mistake.

My first book was about the agaricus blazei Murrill mushroom. It was POD(print on demand) and a wonderful learning exercise.Obama Search Words was my second book. I used it, and various unrelated writing experiments to learn about Scribd. OSW was featured on Scribd once(or recommended or something like that and I was thrilled! I waited for the money to roll in. It didn't, for reasons I will discuss in my next post.

I should mention my dad who sold/sells book, mainly to the libraries of grade schools and primary schools. Bookselling has been called a noble profession; my dad would smile at that and maybe play it down, but I do know he treated his customers with respect, fully aware that teachers are underpaid and overworked AND doing extremely important work.
My father and  I watched the idea of books evolve with digital technology. Remember CD-ROMS? In addition to social media, mobile phones were also changing the communication landscape. Now, ebooks can be read on mobile phones. Probably not the greatest reading experience, but it can be done. Now it is easy, but to get to this point involved a lot of false steps and clunkyness and different formats and bugs, bugs, bugs...
So yeah, when I began writing my first book, I was conscious that I could also publish and distribute it myself, but I really didn't know what would happen. I did know, however, that books are a form of communication and a part of society. I hoped for the best and started writing.
Social media, combined with the user-friendliness of devices and formats, has now leveled the playing field called marketing, and the distribution of ebooks has become simple and cheap. I am not opposed to Big Publishing; am not afraid of pink slips(rejection letters). But the ability to eliminate the middleman can be an opportunity. Yes, it is a challenge, a great one. Hard work is involved for sure; the amount of work involved in selling a book is still all-consuming.
It's just that now authors don't lick postage stamp or make cold calls. Printed books (long may they live) still weigh the same.

One Response to Book Merah: The Scribd Years

  1. Pingback: The Books and History of Book Merah | blacksteps

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