I'm honestly trying to see how this is bad for anybody. The author gets paid more, the distributor gets paid enough to cover costs and make a profit (since digital costs are virtually nil once the product is finalized) and the customer gets their own copy of the book for a great price. Even the platform could keep some of the traditional publishing methods, like giving the author an advance and keeping 100% of the money from sold books until reaching a profit, at which point going to the 75%+ revenue to the author and whatever remaining to the platform company.
See that's the thing. It's not bad which is why sites like Lulu try but then it's not the logic of the thing that's keeping the whole thing risky. It's the recognition and the assurance if you will that something like this will work following the logical pattern.
With cost for example, you need someone who will sell books for 1$ and make it big. On the other hand, if it does sell big, most people will most likely flock towards the blog maker and not the repository.
Right now people feel like it's too many lightning hitting the same place to work.
Here's where services like Google and Facebook are born. Good ideas that no one seems willing to grab and run away with. Even Amazon fumbled the whole concept with their expertise.
The e-book reader idea is easier to answer.
For someone who regularly buys e-books already, it's almost an impulse to pay for cheap e-books even if you don't have a reader because the technology is already there.
...but that's like saying the Tablet PC has always been there prior to the IPad or the smartphone has existed prior to the Iphone.
The type of critical mass needed to explode an e-book market lies mostly in the acceptance for e-book readers because until then the e-book doesn't feel like a commodity to many people.
I mean it should from the technical sense but it's really not. There's a social aspect needed for it to be accepted.
That's where the revolution or revolutionary acceptance stage comes in. Forums have always existed but people needed mostly Photobucket + Forums to make social networks flourish. Blogs may be cheap or easy but it takes something like Twitter before most people take the plunge.
These seem like "dodging" the issue but only because there are such ideas that bottomline can only trickle to "if you're sure of it, build it and get rich from a good idea you were right about all along"
That said, maybe the satisfactory answer is one where it comes from the version of those who own sites like Lulu.com. In this case, it's more advantageous to get the answer from the horse's mouth on why their e-books cost that way or why an author/publisher/etc. etc. sells it a certain way at a certain price. (Not saying no one here will come to better educate the situation but you seem like you're really passionate about the whole thing and throwing a wider net may get you the more authoritative answers)Forgot this:
But that's the point. Lots of "indie" authors are self-publishing digital books on obscure websites/blogs that practically nobody knows about. That's why a central platform is needed, IMO.
Well, that's also part of the problem. They are obscure.
You're not really sure of their quality in general. You don't even know if they will flock to your equally obscure service.
It comes down to marketing.
However as the authors become better at marketing, it becomes more profitable and logical to funnel readers back to their blogs for extra ad income and branding.
In order for a central platform to really capture these authors and still guarantee quality of the books they are selling
, it's going to take a whole lot of luck, site marketing, customer encouragement, etc. etc.
...but then that means you're competing not only against Lulu but social network sites like GoodReads who have tons of authors and tons of networking opportunities for authors to funnel themselves back to their e-books.
A central repository then needs to be really really good and right now there's no assured model and therefore fewer and lesser known central repositories.