Below is an excerpt from the Smashwords blog highlighting service milestones for the year 2014. The full article has some background and 2015 plans as well.
Among our service milestones for the year:
- New distribution channels – We added new distribution partners including OverDrive, the world’s largest ebook supplier serving over 20,000 public libraries, and Txtr, a European retailer. New partners Oyster and Scribd were brought fully online.
- Faster distributions – Working in close partnership with all our retail partners, Smashwords dramatically increased the speed and reliability of our distribution systems in 2014. We’re now shipping multiple times daily to most of our retailers, and near-real time to iBooks, where, for example, and it’s not uncommon for authors to upload a book to Smashwords and see it appear at iBooks the same day. Faster distributions of new titles and metadata updates give our authors more control over their publishing.
- Faster sales reporting – We improved the speed of sales reporting. In May, we introduced our Daily Sales tool which provides next-day and same-day sales reporting from iBooks, Barnes & Noble, OverDrive and Kobo.
- Added EPUB 3 support – Smashwords now accepts EPUB3 files as part of our Smashwords Direct feature. EPUB3 gives authors and publishers greater language support and text layout options, including right to left reading and vertical reading.
- We helped more authors realize their full potential – Smashwords authors bring us their talent, and we give them tools to help realize the full potential of their talent. Multiple Smashwords authors hit retailer bestseller lists in 2015 as well as national lists such as New York Times and USA Today, aided in part by the power of Smashwords preorders to iBooks, Barnes & Noble and Kobo, and also supported by enhanced metadata tools such as Smashwords Series Manager which improves series discoverability at retailers.
- Diversification pays off – Our broad distribution network helped authors and publishers diversify their exposure to an industry-wide slowdown in ebook retailing. Strong merchandising support for Smashwords authors by our wonderful colleagues at iBooks combined with sales growth from new distribution partners FlipKart, OverDrive; Oyster and Scribd helped many Smashwords authors and publishers have a great year.
- Diversification pays off again – Authors who fully distributed their titles with Smashwords were partially insulated from the dramatic sales drops many Amazon authors reported following the introduction of Kindle Unlimited. If you know indie authors who only upload to Amazon, invite them to diversify their distribution with Smashwords.
Berlin, 8 October 2014
Publoris (www.publoris.com) is a new service for academic self-publishing that is geared especially toward the needs of young academics. Developed in a partnership between De Gruyter and MyBestseller, the service allows authors to publish their manuscripts quickly, easily, and inexpensively, and is thus an ideal complement to traditional routes for publication. Continue reading
Press release received 1/23/14
NASHVILLE, TN – Ingram Content Group Inc., today announced that the Williamson County Public Library in Franklin, Tennessee has launched an innovative publishing program using IngramSpark®, Ingram’s comprehensive print and digital independent publisher platform.
“The creation of our first book and the development of our publishing program has been a labor of love and illustrates how libraries of today can move forward in new and exciting ways to serve their patrons,” said Dolores Greenwald, Library Director, Williamson County Public Library. “Through the tools available from Ingram, more public libraries can easily assist writers to independently publish their works to benefit the writer, readers and the communities they live in – IngramSpark is such a great program.” Continue reading
Self-Publishing Movement Continues Strong Growth in U.S. says Bowker- 2012 ISBNs show nearly 60% more self-published works than in 2011
New Providence, NJ – October 9, 2013 – A new analysis of U.S. ISBN data by ProQuest affiliate Bowker reveals that the number of self-published titles in 2012 jumped to more than 391,000, up 59 percent over 2011 and 422 percent over 2007. Ebooks continue to gain on print, comprising 40 percent of the ISBNs that were self-published in 2012, up from just 11 percent in 2007.
“The most successful self-publishers don’t view themselves as writers only, but as business owners,” said Beat Barblan, Bowker Director of Identifier Services. “They invest in their businesses, hiring experts to fill skill gaps and that’s building a thriving new service infrastructure in publishing.”
The analysis shows the growing prominence of a handful of companies that offer publishing services to individual authors. More than 80 percent of self-published titles came to market with support from just eight companies, including Smashwords and CreateSpace. Continue reading
Douglas County Libraries (DCL) announces the debut of “The Wire: A Writer’s Resource,” a blog for new and aspiring authors. The new initiative provides information to people hoping to write, publish and find markets for their books, and is a step toward the library’s goal of making locally-produced content available to its audience.
DCL has garnered recent media attention for its efforts to increase the number of e-books available to library patrons, despite roadblocks to library acquisition of e-books from large commercial publishers. A byproduct is the creation of a library-run publishing channel. In a recent “Colorado Matters” interview with Colorado Public Radio’s Elaine Grant, DCL director Jamie LaRue said, “Once we built a publishing platform to reach out to smaller, independent presses, we could also accommodate self-published authors.” Continue reading
I finally had time to read this very interesting article in the Huffington Post written by Mark Coker about the Smashwords study conducted to analyze self-published book sales data. Coker highlights seven key findings from the study and includes his slides from a presentation at the RT Booklovers Convention earlier this year. It’s worth a read if you are interested in self-publishing.
The seven key findings include:
- Ebook Sales Conform to a Power Curve
- Viva Long Form Reading: Longer Books Sell Better
- Shorter Book Titles Appear to Have Slight Sales Advantage
- How Indie Authors are Pricing Their Books: $2.99 is the Most Common Price Point
- How Price Impacts Unit Sales Volume: Lower Priced Books (usually) Sell More Copies
- The Yield Graph: Is $3.99 the New $2.99?
- A Closer Look at the Yield Graph Reveals Why Indie Ebook Authors Have a Competitive Advantage over Traditionally Published Authors
For those interested in self publishing, Coker offers a free ebook, The Secrets to Ebook Publishing Success.
A colleague forwarded this interesting blog post to me about Flipboard. The author, Mathew Ingram, discusses Flipboard’s new release features. He discusses the ability for advertisers and readers to now become publishers.
Here is a snip from the post:
“Flipboard’s new version is more than just an evolution, it’s a significant departure from what the service was all about. Until now, it has been about making it easy to discover and consume content from multiple sources, but the new features are all about turning readers into publishers — by giving them curation tools like those used by Flipboard’s own editors.”
“The idea that advertisers now have many of the same tools as publishers and traditional media companies do, and that readers and consumers of content also have much more power over that content than they used to, are two pretty inescapable facts about the new media landscape — and Flipboard has just staked a claim to some significant territory on both of those fronts.”
This is very similar to an article I read last week from Mike Shatzkin’s blog, The Shatzkin Files. In his post on “atomization” he discusses publishing as a function rather than an industry. It’s a very interesting read.
Below is a press release about a new widget to help independent authors and publishers sell their ebook content on websites. More info is available at www.ezbuybutton.com.
TORONTO, Jan. 8, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — The EZBuyButton widget is poised to revolutionize the world of online book sales, especially for independent authors and publishers. The EZBuyButton widget eliminates the frustration of losing customers at the point of sale because there’s no straightforward “Buy Now” button, allowing customers to select their device and preferred retail store, all without needless searching. Continue reading
Back in August, 2012, Smashwords announced a new product, Library Direct. This is a service that allows libraries and library networks to acquire and establish large opening collections of ebooks, direct from Smashwords. Douglas County was one of the first customers back in August of 2012, loading 10,000 of the top titles. The last day of 2012, they added another 10,000 titles. Here is more from the DCL press release:
On December 31, Douglas County Libraries (DCL) acquired 10,000 e-book titles from the world’s largest distributor of self-published works, Smashwords, bringing the total number of e-book files that DCL owns to 21,000. All of the content purchased from Smashwords, including books in popular genres such as fiction, romance, mystery, and science fiction, is available for borrowing by library patrons. Continue reading
Smashwords today announced Library Direct, a new service that allows libraries and library networks to acquire and establish large opening collections of ebooks, direct from Smashwords.
Library Direct is available to libraries that host and manage their own ebook checkout systems, typically using Adobe Content Server, and that are capable of acquiring a large opening collection.
We have already received purchase commitments from three library systems, each of which will acquire some variation of our top 10,000 best-selling titles. The purchase commitments approach $100,000 in total. Continue reading