By Story Star correspondent Elinor Rees
A new e-book retailer set to launch in the autumn with the aim of being Amazon’s next big rival.
Zola Books was set up by former agent Joe Regal with the help of a small amount of authors and tech industry experts. The site (zolabooks.com) is currently in its beta stage but once it is launched it is intended to build upon Amazon’s success within bookselling.
Regal believes that Amazon focuses too much on price and not on the next big read a reader would like once they have finished the book they have bought. He wants to create a community with authors, bloggers and professional reviewers so that the whole book buying experience has a lot more interaction with the industry and independent authors will obviously be given more of a chance to get their work known.
This site highlights the ever growing status and acceptance that e-books and self-publishing brings. The book industry is slowly starting to accept that e-books are here to stay and they have to start working with them and not against them if they are going to get more authors in to the public domain. The website is also a reflection of our more interactive society as sites such as Facebook and Twitter are constantly opening up the realms of interaction between authors and readers and more people want this to be the norm.
The idea of creating a community that is motivated by a love of books seems idyllic and, hopefully, Zola Books will achieve this. An online book shop that wants to focus on getting the right books to those people who will enjoy them most is a very exciting prospect and breaking down the barriers between the average reader and the industry experts will, hopefully, mean that the elitism that is assigned to some books will slowly fade away.
The site has received an investment from famous author Audrey Niffenegger and her e-book of ‘The Time Traveller’s Wife’ will be available to purchase. It’s refreshing to hear that such an established author is embracing new forms of book selling and reading because if we want more people to read we have to accept that reading and the book industry must fit around their life styles and not the other way around otherwise they will see no point to it.
Allowing new forms of communication and selling can be a daunting prospect for any industry and it can be easier to condemn it rather than seeing how it may help the industry. Maybe the first person who thought we should write stories down instead of reciting them was met with cynicism and disdain but if it wasn’t for him (or her) think how different the world of literature would be today. It’s always the case that going against the status quo can be uneasy but often it turns out to be a new and better experience than we initially thought.