One of the things I think Smashwords has gotten right is their start with Word focus of conversions. It makes SO much more sense than building ebooks from crazily complex design platforms. With the launch of Smashwords Direct, the company has bowed to pressure, but Mark offers a rather nice defence of the “Meatgrinder” tool that Smashword’s has used to date (and will continue to use:
Meatgrinder has been vilified and demonized over the years, despite its proven ability to produce high-quality ebooks. Although Meatgrinder’s not perfect, some of the criticism has been unfair. Many authors have needlessly avoided Smashwords out of misplaced fear.
One author volunteered that they’d heard such horror stories of Meatgrinder from their publisher that they kept their books off of Smashwords for that reason. That’s really unfortunate, both for the author and Smashwords, because the vast majority of Smashwords authors have received professional-quality results with Meatgrinder. Our Meatgrinder-generated Premium Catalog books are pleasing millions of readers each month with rarely a complaint. Our retailers have told us in the past that our books have dramatically lower failure rates (measured in the fraction of a percent) compared to others. This tells me many authors who have avoided Smashwords out of misplaced fear have unnecessarily missed out on up to five years of sales and platform-building opportunity. I suppose if there’s a silver lining to the launch of Smashwords Direct, it’s that maybe we can help writers do the right thing (achieve full Smashwords distribution) for the wrong reason (availability of Smashwords Direct).
via Smashwords: Smashwords Supports EPUB Uploads With Smashwords Direct.
Nice revenue figures there from Mark Coker in Forbes. Even at a low percentage commission charge (and Smashwords charge 10% of retail price for sales through their retail and library distribution network and at their Smashwords store) this would yield quite a chunk of change. Nice work by Mark and his team:
Indie ebooks are starting to sell in a big way. Our revenues are going to be over $12m for 2012, which means that our retail partners are going to sell between $18m and $20m of books. And our books are starting to appear in bestseller lists. Today, when I look at the Apple iBook stats for the US store, Smashwords’ authors occupy five of the top 20 bestselling slots, and one of the top ten, maybe even two today. A year ago, we didn’t have any books in the top ten at Apple. I think that’s really exciting!
via Mark Coker: Significant Disruption For Traditional Publishers Still To Come – Forbes.
A smashing and important piece by Mark Coker here. There’s much to read and enjoy and think about. Worth noting though that while this is true fr MOST authors, for those authors that need scale or who need investment to get scale (the Fifty Shades kind of scale or even approaching it) traditional publishers can still offer quite a bit. The post even so has much merit to it:
If an author can earn the same or greater income selling lower cost books, yet reach significantly more readers, then, drum roll please, it means the authors who are selling higher priced books through traditional publishers are at an extreme disadvantage to indie authors in terms of long term platform building. The lower-priced books are building author brand faster. Never mind that an indie author earns more per $2.99 unit sold ($1.80-$2.10) than a traditionally published author earns at $9.99 ($1.25-$1.75).
via How a Traditional Publisher Could Harm a Writer’s Career – The Digital Reader.