Archive for smashwords
Previously we reported on Douglas County acquiring 10,000 self-published ebooks from Smashwords. Now, an article in The Digital Shift outlines how much work was required to complete the deal as the parties had to weed, filter, and tweak a list of indie titles to develop the optimal collection for library patrons.
“It was a lot more complicated for us than we expected,” said Smashwords founder Mark Coker, “We’re giving libraries the option to slice and dice by multiple categories and multiple filters. And, along the way we discovered some cool ways to surface titles more accurately, that we think better reflect the interests of readers.”
The list began with Smashwords’ top 10,000 bestsellers—titles that have proven their appeal through sales. However, DCL and Smashwords soon realized that relying exclusively on a sales ranking could cause problems, such as leaving popular book series incomplete. Focusing instead on bestselling authors, and simply purchasing everything they had written, wasn’t an ideal solution, either. Hypothetically, what if an author had published 1,000 books, each of which sold only a few copies,” Coker said.
Smashwords developed a new mathematical ratings model and then based the bestseller list on it. To this was applied specific filters requested by Douglas. The filters included price caps and limits on specific genres, the exclusion of certain genres, such as erotica, and special dealing with such items as romance titles.
“There were just some really racy covers,” Nemechek explained. “As you know, our catalogs are very visual now. And it’s not that we don’t buy that stuff, but I was afraid that there would be so much of it, and that it was going to flood our system. So I was a little more careful with covers than I probably otherwise would have been… We usually select erotica based on professional reviews or sometimes patron demand. But we try to sift through that stuff more carefully. Given that we had 10,000 titles to work with, excluding the erotica would give us more science fiction, mystery, romance, and the genre fiction that our readers really love.”
Once again Smashwords is showing up the mainstream publishers. According to ALA TechSource, the Douglas County Libraries acquired 10,000 titles of self-published ebooks from Smashwords. This means that DCL will now own a total of 21,000 ebooks. The titles purchased from Smashwords include fiction, romance, mystery, and science fiction. Rather than leasing ebooks from third-party vendors, the library purchases the books directly and owns them.
Jamie LaRue, director of DCL, said, “We’re eager to connect our readers to fresh streams of digital content… Smashword’s average price per title [about $4] allows us to do that more readily than we could from the big publishers [now charging as much as $84 per ebook]. This looks like the beginning of a wonderful friendship.”
Once again, Smashwords takes steps to reform digital publishing.
Smashwords has just unveiled a new system that finally allows authors to upload their ebooks in ePub format. This new capability allows publishers or authors to upload their own professionally formatted ePub files for sale at the Smashwords store, and for distribution to the Smashwords retail distribution network.
When you upload your own ePub book it is important to note that your book will not be converted to other popular formats. Smashwords is well known for automatically converting your Word document to Mobi, PDF, ePub, and a myriad of other book types. A professionally formatted book will only be in ePub format but considering its the the most popular one, you should be just fine.
ePub creation allows for a ton of flexibility and different publishers/authors have different methodologies. You can use Adobe InDesign, Nisus writer pro, OpenOffice, Jutoh, Atlantis, Epubmaker, LibreOffice, Writer2epub, Scrivener, HTML, Sigil, and Calibre. From the limited beta test, the company noticed Sigil and Calibre were often cited to be the most popular platform to test ebooks.
Smashwords is one of the largest indie submission stores out there. The company gives authors who publish with them a free ISBN number, which is a pre-requsitie for companies such as Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Apple, and Kobo. The company will distribute your book to all the major online bookstores, giving you more visibility and traction. All sales could be tracked within Smashwords and voids the need to manually check out your sales dashboard with each company.
This is great news for the self-publishing company! According to the Smashwords blog, sales the day after Christmas were 76% higher from the same day a week earlier and sales for December 27 increased 65% over the same period a year ago. These figures were aggregated over the 125,000 Smashwords titles available in the iBookstore.
Even more encouraging is the chart above, which shows iBookstore stales for the last 24 months. (Note the steady rise.) The blog says: “If previous seasonal trends stay true, we’ll see a record December, followed by a strong January, and then sales will moderate but probably settle in at a stepped-up level compared to October or November.”
Congrats to Mark Coker of Smashwords, who single-handedly created a whole new category of publishing.