I’m sure you’ve read the astounding number of articles on Amazon’s plot to destroy the book retailer market and if you haven’t, I suggest you read this post from Joe Konrath, which sums it up beautifully.
But here’s the deal, amidst the debate about Amazon, indie authors, e-books, and the shift in traditional publishing, a sleeping giant called Smashwords could be the next Amazon. Gasp!
Mark Coker, Smashwords founder, describes his enterprise as the marriage of self-publishing with ebooks. In a blog he wrote,
“we did it with a free platform that enabled any writer, anywhere in the world, to easily publish an ebook using nothing more than a word processor. We took the printing press – once under the sole dominion of the publisher – and put it in the cloud for all to use.”
Pretty cool right? More than 34,000 authors and small publishers seem to think so. Coker declared,
“We’re witnessing a publishing renaissance that will lead to more readers, more reading, greater literacy, and greater and more amazing published works than could ever have been realized under the old gatekeeping system.”
If you’re an indie author or thinking about it, Smashwords is worth researching. If you doubt it, start following Mark Coker’s blog and read it for yourself. In the meantime, here are the five things you should know about Smashwords:
1. Smashwords ended 2011 with over 92,000 titles published, up from 28,800 in 2010.
2. The e-books enterprise was created to give authors freedom to publish directly to ereaders without roadblocks or interference from publishing gatekeepers.
3. Smashwords earns income only if they help their customers–as in authors–sell books.
4. Its infrastructure has been priority number one. As a result, the systems that hold their website together have led to impressive page load times and very few website outages.
5. The conversion engine, aptly referred to as the “Meatgrinder” continues to defy logic. It currently can complete most conversions in three minutes (it took up to 30 hours to convert an ebook this time a year ago).
So there you have it. Smashwords is a force–a key player in the indie author revolution–and we should all make it our business to pay attention to their evolution in 2012.
And if you’ve used Smashwords, we want to know. How was your experience? Could they truly be the next Amazon in the publishing industry?