Monday, November 17, 2008

Ebooks Get Social ...

ZDNET October 28th, 2008
eBooks get social, pose further threat to traditional publishers

"When most industry observers examine the impact of social media on traditional media industries, the focus inevitability turns to easily digitized media such as newspapers, magazines, radio, television and music.
But what about books, and more specifically eBooks? To get a sense of where eBooks are headed in the socialsphere, I checked in with Mark Coker, founder and CEO of Smashwords, an innovative eBook publishing startup I’ve been watching since their public beta launch earlier this year. In the interview, Mark comments on how the rise of social publishing, eBooks and indie authorship could spell difficultly for traditional book publishers."
I took a jump on over to Smashwords site, and I was very impressed. This is an exclusive digital lulu, so to speak, for Indie Ebook authors. The site is very user friendly. The content is searchable by category, title, etc. Publishing on the site is free and Smashwords takes 15% of net sales. There are no hidden charges, and the only charge I could see was the pay-pal processing fee that is charged per transaction, per sale, which does affect the cost of the book.

The site is pretty spiffy. The have a nice blog attached to the site. The founder's Bio is inspirational. The actual book pages are laid out professionally with all the pertinent cost and format information. All in all, I give it a two thumbs up.

Smashwords gives the authors the ability to publish free content and also allow readers to sample up to 50% of the book before committing to purchase. Now, I am not an ebook author, but there are many of you out there, and in the terms of service section, there was one point, listed below, that made me cringe a little regarding the free works. Not sure how ebook authors feel about such things, but I would love to hear comments.

10a. Rights of Use.

  • 1. Purchased works: As End User, you acknowledge that all Work furnished by Smashwords is licensed for the use of the End Users of the Site and may not be sublicensed or resold. If you purchase a work, you hold a non-exclusive, non-transferable, and non-distributable right of use. In other words, you are free to enjoy it for your own use, but you are not authorized to share, sell, or distribute the work to others.

  • 2. Free works including sample works: By definition, if an Author sets the price for the Work at zero, or if the author samples a certain percentage of their work, End Users may duplicate, share and reproduce the work or sample during the time the price is set at zero, but only for non-commercial purposes. Therefore, free works may not be reproduced for the purpose of generating traffic for your web site or blog, or for running advertising or promotional messages. Print or online reproductions should contain the following legend containing live clickable hyperlinks at the beginning and end of the document that reads, “This is the copyrighted work of [insert author’s first and last name], as originally published on at and at [insert direct hyperlink to the book page of the work]. This work may be freely duplicated and shared for non-commercial purposes. All reproductions are to maintain this legend at the beginning and end of the work, in its entirety.” Blogged excerpts of under 3,000 words need only either hyperlink to the author’s page on Smashwords, or place the above legend at the end of the excerpt:

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