I want to tell you why I publish with Smashwords and why you should shop there. And no, they aren’t paying me to do this.
But first, let me tell you what Smashwords is, because too many people have yet to come across it.
Smashwords was founded in 2008:
The idea behind Smashwords was simple: I wanted to create a free ebook self-publishing platform that would allow me to take a risk on every writer. I wanted to give every writer the freedom to publish, and every reader the freedom to read what they wanted. (From Mark Coker, via the Smashwords Blog)
Smashwords doesn’t charge publishers to publish. They are commission based, and have made it profitable for them. They are independently owned, so not as likely to come completely unhinged and start screwing publishers.
My favorite thing about Smashwords is that through them I can make my e-books available in all e-reader formats, DRM-free. When someone buys a book at Smashwords, they really own it. A customer can download all formats, as many times as they like. And if the author uploads a new version, that, too, belongs to the customer. Endless abundance!
Another thing I love about Smashwords is that I have a great deal of control over the pricing that I offer. I can offer coupons of any size, up to 100%. I can, as I did with The Animal Place, offer a title at “you set the price”, where the customer can help themselves to a free copy, or, if they have some deranged desire to recompense me for it, they can choose to do so. I don’t know of any other major retailer that offers such flexibility.
I want my readers to find e-book ownership to be hassle-free, and I want to be able to offer them discounts when the whim strikes me. I honestly wish more authors would publish or re-publish with Smashwords because I would rather purchase through their means than something more narrow… and possibly loaded up with DRMs. Blech. My readers aren’t criminals (well, sometimes they drive faster than the speed-limit, but cut ’em a break!) and I have no wish to treat them as such.
Not to mention that Smashwords is also a distributor to every major retailer except Amazon (who doesn’t want to play nice). As a publisher, that makes me happy, because I know my work is available at the iTunes store and Barnes & Noble, etc. As an author that means that I have a farther reach. I am extremely more likely to be stumbled upon, the more retailers carry my work.
No matter how frustrated I’ve occasionally been with the auto-vetter (don’t ask; it’s not them, it’s me), I will continue to publish with Smashwords and continue to urge my readers to shop there.
So check out Smashwords! There is no cost to make an account and they have a neat system for keeping track of your purchases.