There is always a debate between those who believe 'Build and They Will Come' and those who don't. Both have evidences to support their points. Which one works? Before you get into debate (again) let's consider a new ... thingie... (they call it idea)
Build With Them
Let's take a different approach altogether and 'Build With Them'. Build it with your customer (reader/client/students).
Involve them and make them feel important because they are. They are so important that there is no fun of building if they won't come.
But Don't Let Them Lead!
But then there is something that some fools do (not you, you are too smart for that): they let them lead. Customers often don't know what they want but you do. That's why you are an entrepreneur. (Hint: you still don't know why you bought iPad, Steve Jobs - being a genius he is - knows)
Lead them, chase your vision and involve them. Social media is a great tool to do that.
Their involvement doesn't mean that they will change or shape your decision - they are there to support it. Don't ask them if they want it or not, ask them how they want it, how much they want to pay for it and stuff like that.
Think again, you can save millions on market research. It's guerrilla testing for your ideas.
Build with them, not only will they come but bring likes of them along.