Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Ebooks and Smashwords

A remarkable thing happened on Christmas day. sold more e-books than physical books, which means there must have been a lot of Kindles under the tree.

Barnes & Noble sold out of their Nook e-book reader well before Christmas and more e-readers are being announced every day. Not only that, but now you can read ebooks on other devices, like your cell phone.

I love ebooks. They're usually cheaper than the paperback, I can download them instantly to my Kindle, and they don't overflow my bookshelves. As an author, I'm convinced that ebooks will become a large and important part of the publishing industry. I already sell 3 ebooks for each paperback. I have had my books available for Kindle for a year now, but getting distribution in online ebookstores other than Amazon is difficult. Most, like Fictionwise, don't contract with small fry like me.

But Smashwords contracts with all those ebookstores that won't contract with me, so I've made all three books of my trilogy available there. Smashwords has a premium catalog that distributes ebooks to Barnes & Noble, Fictionwise, Books On Board, and many other ebookstores. Smashwords also makes each book available in multiple formats, including html (for reading online), JavaScript, ePub, PDF, RTF, LRF for the Sony reader, PDB for anything running Palm OS, and plain text.

Smashwords doesn't use DRM, which is very good for the consumer. You can download any book you buy in multiple formats and install it on multiple devices. And as a consumer I really like that. As an author, however, I'm a bit nervous about watching the books I labored 10 years to write become Napsterized, but I'm hoping that the increased distribution will more than make up for the books that people share with their friends.

Link to When Women Were Warriors on Smashwords