Read an E-book week at Smashwords

Yes, dear reader,

 

It’s happening again. Over at Smashwords the ‘read an e-book week’ promotion is off again, and I am participating. If you felt reluctant to read some of my titles, here’s your chance to get one or more of them with a 50% discount.

The books that are up for that this week are Green HavenThe Story of the MimosaCharisma the young witchBactine, and The Devil’s Diary. Just enter the coupon code “REW50″ as you check out and the discount is applied. Note that this is a Smashwords-only promotion, it won’t work for Barnes&Noble, Amazon, Apple iTunes or the other usual suspects.

Smashwords offers e-books for any platform you can think of. Epub for Sony, Nook and Apple-devices, MOBI for Amazon Kindle devices and apps, and more.

Smashwords teams up with Oyster

Dear Reader,
This is an excerpt from the Smashwords Blog from September 6th:
square-smashwords-logo

“Smashwords today announced a distribution agreement with Oyster, a new and innovative ebook subscription service. Oyster offers consumers unlimited access to more than 100,000 ebooks for $9.95 per month.

I’ve been following the ebook subscription space for some time. As an ebook distributor, our job is to search out the most compelling opportunities to help our authors connect with reader eyeballs. Oyster is one such opportunity.

The closest analog to Oyster in the music business is Spotify, and in the video rental business it’s our Los Gatos neighbor NetFlix. The closest, most familiar analog to Oyster on the ebook market today is Amazon’s Kindle Owners Lending Library, where subscribers to Amazon’s Prime service who own a Kindle can download and read one ebook for free per month. The author or publisher, who must enroll their book in Amazon’s KDP Select program to benefit from KOLL, earns about $2.00 for each download.

I expect Smashwords titles to begin shipping to Oyster in about three weeks. At least 72 hours before we begin shipping to Oyster, I’ll send out an email alert to all Smashwords authors and publishers. The email will contain complete financial details, including royalty rates and sampling thresholds, so you can make an informed decision about your participation. It’s an author friendly deal so I expect you’ll be pleased.”

I definitely am pleased with that. This is a way to reach even more readers, and paint even more smiled on the faces of people. What could be better?

 

Your Nook and ‘foreign’ books

Dear reader,

Many a question and search have passed, but now it’s clear – even to me – how you can add a book to your Nook that did not come from the Barnes&Noble Nookstore. I understand this issue as B&N, good a shop as they are, often are not the fastest in having new books up for sale.

nook

So, suppose you hear of a book that is already out on Smashwords.com, you want it on your Nook, and B&N does not show it yet. The steps to follow then are:

  1. Log into your Smashwords account (or create one if you don’t have one yet).
  2. Find and buy the book, after which you can download it to your computer.
  3. Connect your Nook to the computer using the USB cable.
  4. Copy the book into the “Documents” folder on your Nook:
    nook_documents
    (Click image for a larger view).
  5. Detach your Nook in the normal way to prevent any files being corrupted.
  6. Start your Nook the normal way.

And there you should find your new book. If you want to test how this works, you can find plenty of free e-books on Smashwords to experiment with, without cost.

Note that you need to download the so-called “EPUB” format as that is what will work on your Nook reader.

(Thank you, Lisa, for the information on how to do this!)

Smashwords Publishes 5 Billion Words

from Smashwords, by Mark Coker.

Smashwords today released its 5 billionth word.

The number is difficult to grasp.  These words form 138,071 books.

If you typed at 25 words a minute without pause, it would take 200 million minutes to write 5 billion words.  3.3 million hours.  If you typed 8 hours a day, it would take 416,600 days, or 1,141 years.  Imagine the lifetimes of creative output now captured, packaged, immortalized and available for discovery at the click of a button or mouse.

Imagine a world without gatekeepers, where you the writer decide when you graduate to become a published author. Imagine a world where readers are the curators.  Now imagine that day has arrived, because it’s here already.

I try to imagine the cacophony of clicking keyboards as our 46,931 authors around the globe clicked away, their minds occupying wonderous far-flung places both real and imaginary, birthing their glorious words and shaping them into these sentences, chapters and books.  I imagine, and honor, the immense personal sacrifice required to write these books.

Your books are touching people.  In the last four weeks at the Apple iBookstore and Barnes & Noble alone, Smashwords books were downloaded over 6 million times.   The day may yet come when Smashwords authors reach more readers than the authors of all the Big 6 publishers combined.

Our books are selling, too.  Smashwords retailers will sell $18 to $20 million worth of your ebooks this year.  The majority of those sales dollars will flow into our authors’ and publishers’ pockets.

As I write this, five of the Apple’s iBookstore’s top 20 bestsellers are from Smashwords authors R.L. Mathewson (read our interview with R.L. Mathewson here), S.C. Stephens (we’ll publish an interview with S.C. very soon at the Smashwords blog) and Jamie McGuire (Jamie just sold rights to a traditional publisher).  That’s one in four.  12 months ago, those five slots were occupied by the books from traditional publishers. 12 months from now, how many more slots will be occupied by an indie author?  That’s up to you.

Indie authors such as you are now producing books that are as good or better than what’s released by New York publishers.  The practice of self-publishing is becoming smarter and more professional each year.  Indies are bypassing the slush pile to publish directly to readers.  Indies are enjoying greater creative freedom, faster time to market, and higher royalty rates.

You, my dear Smashwords author, are the future of book publishing.  The trend is obvious to anyone who cares to take note.

Thank you for allowing us to accompany you on this exciting journey as we remake book publishing for the benefit of authors, publishers and readers.

Now here’s a surprise

Dear reader,

You may have heard of an enterprise called Apple. You know, they have Macs and iphones and ipads and ibooks. Oh, wait, make that e-books.

Forbes.com has an interesting article on where Apple’s online e-book-store gets most of its titles:

As the CEO of Smashwords, a 14-person company in Los Gatos, Calif., Coker gives authors free self-publishing software that converts Word documents into ­
e-book files—and lets them set the price. Through ­distribution partnerships those e-books line the shelves of digital bookstores run by Apple, Barnes &NobleSony and Kobo. No deal yet with Amazon.

Smashwords publishes 127,000 titles by 44,000 writers, each of whom collects at least 60% of royalties—four times the amount offered by traditional publishers. The company takes a 10% cut of the proceeds from partner sales and 15% (after credit card fees) from books sold through its own website.

If you want to read the full story, please follow this link to the Forbes website.

Alexandria Publishing Group

Dear reader,

On June 1st 2012, the Alexandria Publishing Group, of which I am a proud member, was officially launched.

APG logo

To celebrate this, my book “The Devil’s Diary“, will be FREE for Saturday June 2nd 2012 and Sunday June 3rd on Smashwords.com. Follow this link to download the book. The whole team of the Alexandria Publishing Group hopes you will enjoy this book, and all the others that are free for the launch weekend.

On Saturday June 2nd, Hilda – Dragon Master will be free as well. And on Sunday, June 3rd, Bactine is free on Smashwords.

How Smashwords smashed PayPal’s erotica publishing restrictions

Fast Company has an interview with Mark Coker of Smashwords in which he discusses the recent moves by PayPal to force removal from sale of certain categories of erotica, and how public pressure from writers, readers, the press, and others was able to make the company (and the credit card companies behind it) back down. He also expresses his opinions on the agency pricing anti-trust lawsuits.

Perhaps the most interesting thing to me is the remarkable bit of luck Coker had when he was first trying to contact PayPal to find out how to fight the requirements:

By luck, I called in to the general customer support line, and person who picked up happened to be an author, a member of the Romance Writers of America. She knew who Smashwords was, and knew it was a legitimate platform for indie authors, and that kind soul volunteered to walk us through the process and connect us with people who could actually listen to us.

I don’t know how many members of the Romance Writers of America work for PayPal (hopefully there won’t be one fewer since the Fast Company article came out!) but even (or especially) writers have to eat, so it might not be too surprising to find one with a customer service phone center day job. (Which kind of describes yours truly, as well, for that matter.) But what an amazingly fortunate coincidence! If Coker had ended up with just another bored “Sorry, can’t help you, the policy is the policy” rep,, the whole affair could have turned out very differently.

After Coker was able to rally writers, readers, and the press to put pressure on the credit card companies PayPal said were behind the restrictions, the companies backed down. Coker writes:

I think with this incident, a lot of authors realized Smashwords was standing behind them. I think if anyone tries to push the indie author community down again, we’ll be there to help stand behind these authors. In the end I think it was a great victory for free speech, and shows the rising power of self-publishing authors in the publishing community.

As for the lawsuit, Coker doesn’t think that the publishers actually colluded, though the way things turned out made it look that way. And he is also saddened that three of the publishers decided to “roll over” and settle, because the settlement terms will set their business back and possibly even hinder their ability to talk to other publishers at all.

These things they agreed to will slow down business and increase expenses at the very time these publishers need to become more nimble. If all the large publishers go away tomorrow, that probably benefits my business, but that’s not what I want to happen. I want there to be a healthy ecosystem of large publishers, because they have a lot of value to provide to readers, authors, and the entire culture of books.

But Coker is overall optimistic about the future of publishing, discussing the fall of traditional gatekeepers and the shift in power to the authors. Now, he writes, “it’s possible for any writer, anywhere in the world, instantly [to] publish a book at no cost.” And that is something to be happy about.

(Found via Teleread via Moriah Jovan through Mike Cane.)