A year ago, I set out on a journey to make ebooks better…

I did so because I was annoyed at dealing with a range of competing, conflicting ebook formats; I was frustrated that ebooks were available in some parts of the world and not in others; and I was angry at technological barriers put in place to stop me from reading books I had paid for using the device or platform of my choice.

How had technology managed to make such a mess of the simple pleasure of reading a good book?

Thankfully, I’m not the first to have thought about this problem. The plethora of tools for creating content and platforms enabling the flow of digital goods from author to audience are evidence of highly lucrative motivations to solve this problem.

But I’m kept awake at the thought that this democratisation of publishing is leading us towards a terrible race to the bottom.

While the publishing industry desperately tries to find its feet in a new digital landscape, disruptive marketplaces for self-publishing are relentlessly trying to subvert them by creating an ebook market characterised by locking readers into proprietary platforms and ebooks so cheap the idea of making a living as an author is becoming ludicrously antiquated.

It’s this race to the bottom that has created an environment so ruthlessly unsustainable it’s beginning to erode the institutions responsible for writing, editing, producing, marketing, and distributing great work.

So I decided to do something about it.

By building an online bookstore founded upon a mutual respect between authors and readers, and the belief that publishing needs to be sustainable for the people who produce great work.

No algorithms. No top tens. No DRM. No bullshit. Just a curated selection of great ebooks, painstakingly handpicked by people who love reading. Bookselling the old fashioned way.

Let’s get started. If you’re an author, send me an email at john@smallepic.com and tell me about your book. If you want to know when the bookstore is open for business, subscribe to my mailing list below.

I can’t wait to bring this into the world.

John Ngo
Founder, Small Epic