Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Smashwords Update -- c.anne.gardner

In a December 7 interview, Smashwords CEO Mark Coker says: "In the next couple months we'll start allowing some authors and publishers to bypass Meatgrinder [Smashwords's converter] and upload their own perfectly formatted files for certain formats such as PDF, EPUB and .MOBI."

Now this is great news. One of the biggest beefs I have with Smashwords, and I have a few, is the inability to upload your own perfectly formatted PDF files. When I sell a PDF, I want the labor intensive formatting in tact. My readers should get a digital copy of the print book, in my opinion. That’s what a PDF is for after all. It’s about the preservation of all native formatting, and that is why PDF was invented to begin with. I know, I was around when it came into being, and I worked in the desktop publishing industry at the time. I refuse to sell my PDFs on Smashwords for this very reason, and so I use Scribd for that. However, should Smashwords allow this in the future, my decision for distribution might change. Authors who use other word-processing programs to format their e-books might also benefit from direct upload of already formatted files.

As far as the other pet peeves I have with Smashwords, well, I would prefer that their book description allow for more than 400 words. Most cover copy is more than 400 words, and so I have to edit my copy down for the site, and it often compromises the descriptive edge. Lastly, I don’t like that Smashwords shows as the publisher of record with Sony and B&N. They are not my publisher. I am my publisher: I own my ISBNs, and Smashwords is my e-book distributor, one of many. Even with Kindle, my work is listed under my imprint as the publisher, as it is with Bowkers -- as it should be everywhere.

Smashwords is on the verge of becoming THE e-book distributor of choice, but only if they address these issues, which are much more than a nuisance.

Cheryl Anne Gardner


TVB said...

I do all that with BookRix already, getting free page flipping services with the highest online readability and a whole community of readers, writers and critics, without search engines copying my stuff (formatted in picture files).

My books are selling.

Cheryl Anne Gardner said...

Well, Bookrix is a publishing and file sharing community showcase site like Scribd, and they are a closed system, not a true distributor/retailer like Smashwords. Smashwords offers multiple ebook file formats for customers to purchase directly from them, and they also distribute your ebook files to Sony and B&N and Amazon's ebooks stores, as well as with Shortcovers an overseas etailer.

And indexing by search engines is a way to optimize visability. It is also a small deterent against copyright infringment. If your text is searchable that is.

Anonymous said...

Good points!