Which eBook Publishing Platform is Best?

This post by Kristen Eckstein originally appeared on The Future of Ink on 3/13/15.

Before we get too deep into answering this question, know upfront this is like asking a mother of three which child is her favorite. Each platform comes with unique benefits and drawbacks.

Digital publishing is a huge all-encompassing world of everything from e-books and Kindle to video and teleseminars. For the purposes of this article’s length and my own personal expertise, we’ll stay focused on ebook publishing platforms. There are three primary platforms to publish an ebook: Amazon’s Kindle, Barnes and Noble’s Nook and Apple’s iBooks (iPad).


Amazon’s Kindle

Kindle is the granddaddy (though still quite young to be a grandpap) of e-bookdom. To this day, the Kindle Store still holds the record for e-book sales—67% of the e-book buying market. While this number has fallen to Nook over the past couple of years (it was closer to 99%), it’s still a good chunk of the market share. When Amazon came out with the Kindle, it did a lot of things right:


Read the full post on The Future of Ink.


Smashwords and OverDrive to Bring 200,000+ Indie Ebooks to 20,000+ Public Libraries

This post by Mark Coker originally appeared on the Smashwords blog on 5/20/14.

Imagine if your indie ebook was purchasable by thousands of public libraries around the globe. Now imagine no more.

Smashwords today announced an agreement to supply more than 200,000 titles to OverDrive, the world’s largest library ebook platform.

OverDrive powers the ebook procurement and checkout systems for 20,000 public libraries around the world, including 90% of US public libraries.

This agreement marks a watershed moment for indie authors, libraries and library patrons around the world.

It’s also a big deal for thousands of small independent presses around the globe who now have a convenient onramp into the OverDrive network.

Millions of library patrons will now have access to the amazing diversity and quality of the Smashwords catalog.

At a time when many large publishers are charging libraries high prices for ebooks (front list ebooks from Big 5 publishers can cost libraries $80, and even backlist ebooks can cost libraries $20-40), Smashwords authors and publishers are stepping in to supply thousands of affordably priced, library-friendly ebooks. Faced with the option of purchasing a single James Patterson novel for around $40.00, or ten thrillers from today’s most popular indie authors at $4.00 each, libraries now have exciting new options to build patron-pleasing ebook collections.

To help librarians streamline collection development, in the weeks ahead OverDrive and Smashwords will create curated buy-lists lists libraries can use to purchase the most popular indie authors and titles. Libraries will soon have the option, for example, to purchase the top 100 YA fantasy novels (approximate price: ~$400), or the top 1,000 most popular contemporary romances (~$4,000) or top 200 complete series across multiple categories (~$2,000), or the top 200 thrillers, mysteries, epic fantasies or memoirs. With most of our bestsellers priced priced at or under $4.00, you can do the math to appreciate how incredibly affordable these collections will be. We’re going to have fun slicing and dicing.

Our lists will measure title popularity by aggregating sales data from across the Smashwords distribution network. Indie authors: If you needed yet another reason to fully distribute all your titles to all retailers via the Smashwords distribution network, now you have it. Stand up and have your sales counted because we want to help libraries purchase the greatest diversity of high-quality ebooks across multiple genres and categories.

Here are a couple additional stats to help you appreciate the massive scale of the OverDrive network:


Click here to read the full post on the Smashwords blog.


Scribd.com: Opt-in, Turn-on, Opt-out?

This post by Rich Meyer originally appeared on Indies Unlimited on 3/7/14.

For those of you who may have missed the news, Smashwords.com is now distributing their books to Scribd.com, an online e-book subscription service. If you’re not familiar with Scribd, think of them as the Spotify or Netflix Streaming of e-publishing: Subscribers pay a monthly fee and then can download and read as many books as they want. Authors will get a percentage of that, depending on how much of their book was read by the end consumer.

Here comes the first kick-in-the-pants for authors. If you compare things to, say, Spotify, the popular on-line music service, you’ll easily find references on the Internet to popular performers having their songs played millions of times and getting royalty checks in whole TENS of dollars. Supposedly, if Scribd is anything like the Oyster service, Smashwords authors will be getting 60% of the price of a book borrowed by a reader, as long as nearly 20% of the book is read. So unlike the great deal where an author using Amazon’s Kindle lending library through KDP might get $2 per lend for a 99-cent e-book, a Scribd book will net a writer 59 cents. And that’s only if the person reads 20% of it. Which is something I will come back to in a bit.

Scribd has actually said things will work out fine “if most readers read in moderation.” Umm … a reader who would consider a subscription service for books is more than likely not one that would read in normal “moderation,” whatever the hell that is. I consider myself to be a slightly-above average reader, and I’ve already read over sixty books since the first of the year. Imagine how many some of the power readers could do? Of course, if they read the whole book, then at least the author gets a bit o’ dosh for it. Unless … well, again, more later.


Click here to read the full post on Indies Unlimited.

Then, to get Smashwords’ side of the situation, please also see this post from Smashwords founder Mark Coker announcing the Scribd distribution deal and explaining the particulars.