Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Smashwords Signs Deal with Apple iBookstore

Breaking news: Smashwords to Distribute Ebooks to new Apple iPad iBookstore

Smashwords has signed a distribution agreement that will make qualifying Smashwords books available on the iPad. We're notifying you of this exciting development in advance because we want your books in the catalog. You must take steps now to ensure your books make it in time for inclusion in the Apple iPad's iBookstore's big launch April 3.

We've been working on this ever since the iPad was announced. Apple wants your books, and they appreciate the value that a distributor such as Smashwords can provide them.

What does it take to qualify? Please read carefully:

1. Your ebook must be accepted into the Premium Catalog by March 31. If you're not yet in the Premium Catalog, learn more at http://smashwords.com/distribution We can probably squeeze some stragglers in at the last minute, though please give yourself time to wrap things up early. If you miss the deadline, we get in you right after, because we'll probably do frequent ships to them.

2. Your book must be available in the EPUB format, and the book must pass the industry-standard EPUBCHECK quality check (this is why we have been upgrading our converters lately, and creating "scrubbers" to clean your files. The vast majority of Smashwords books now comply 100% with EPUBCHECK. If your book doesn't, we will let you know.).

3. Your book cover image must have a minimum height of 600 pixels. If you do not comply, we will let you know. We will soon make this a default requirement for inclusion in the Premium Catalog. To check your pixel dimensions, go to your book page, click on your book cover image (which blows it up to full size), and then right-mouse-click on the image and click "properties." If your image is too small, talk to your designer, obtain a larger image, and then upload it at Dashboard: Settings. Whatever you do, don't try to re-scale a small image by making it larger, because that will make it blurry.

4. You must *manually* opt-in to the Apple channel. The opt-in, when it's available (probably by March 31), will appear in your Dashboard's Channel Manager. While you wait for us to finish coding the opt-in in the next couple days, please complete the following steps below, all of which are required before you can opt-in.

5. Before you can opt in to the Apple channel, your Smashwords ebook must have a unique ISBN assigned to it. By "unique," I mean it must be different from the ISBN of any other book, including your print book if you have one.

6. Effective immediately, you can attach ISBNs to your books by visiting your Dashboard and clicking on the ISBN Manager - http://www.smashwords.com/dashboard/ISBNManager

This is exciting news. Now, I already have my own ISBNs assigned through Bowkers to my epub ebook formats; actually, Bowkers allows to to assign one ISBN to the ebook format and select the "multi-format" option, so you, as of right now, do not have to have a seperate ISBN for each ebook format. If you do not have ISBNs for your ebooks, Smashwords has an affordable option. There was more to this email, so please, visit the Smashwords site and read all their updated information about the changes to their Premium Distribution Channel.


DED said...

A lost opportunity for Lulu.

It sounds like I should take the eBook version of my novel off of Lulu (there's no ISBN) and put it up on Smashwords instead.

Cheryl Anne Gardner said...

Yea, Lulu has been a bit behind on the ebook thing, but at least they are finally offering to allow you to upload epubs now and not just pdfs. I have my own ISBNs, so even if it doesn't list the ISBN on the lulu product page, the ISBN should be in the file if you have one. And most importantly Lulu as far as I know is not distributing ebooks beyond their walls.

However, Smashwords meatgrinder hasn't been up to par lately. I have noticed some issues in my files that don't occur when I create the epubs myself. Gotta love glitches. Hopefully they will get it worked out, or, at the very least, let those of us who know how upload our own epubs.

DED said...

I believe that you're right about Lulu "not distributing ebooks beyond their walls." If they did, wouldn't they then require ebooks to carry ISBN's?

Cheryl Anne Gardner said...

Yes, they would. That's why Kindle doesn't require an ISBN either. If you have one it's ok, but if not, they don't care if you point to your print book or nothing at all. They assign a ASIN number for control and that's all they need.

But Smashwords is a distributor now, and so even though each retail outlet also assigns their own ASIN number, they need to refer back to the ISBN when paying sales royalties back to the distributor.

I deal direct with Kindle, so I use the print ISBN to drive sales and link the book pages. In Lulu I also refer to the print ISBN in order to drive traffic, but in the Smashwords files, I have both print and ebook ISBNs listed now. Going forward, I'll probably reload all the files with both. But I am NOT buying an ISBN for each friggin ebook format. Bowkers allows you to assign the ISBN to "multi-format" so as much as they would like to gouge us, I will refuse and just sell epub if they try that shit.

Kristine said...

I, for one, am cautiously giddy. As a radical Indy, I refuse to shell out wads of cash to list myself as Publisher, and refuse to list anyone else as more than Distributor, so I'm liking this idea of a $9.95 ISBN.

I only plunged with two titles so far, but will probably do them all.

Curious to see the results of inclusion with the Apple store.

Anonymous said...

There are several stories that say Lulu is also distributing in the iBookstore. Looks like Lulu is right in the game!


DED said...

Hah! It figures. Here I am busting my ass to format the ms into something Meatgrinder can chew on w/o choking and this news comes out. Well, thank you. I guess I can stop now. :)

DED said...

Then again, with Smashwords better overall ebook distribution, it probably makes sense to switch anyway.