New Publishing Business Model #4: Smashwords

In May of this year, Smashwords, an e-book publishing platform originally set up to serve as a channel for self-published authors, expanded to offer services designed for publishers.

It’s a pretty sweet deal for publishers, particularly those who are just looking to dip their toes into the murky waters of digital. Just like with Scribd, content providers choose how much everything costs and get a hefty portion of the profit (85%).

Another big plusall the conversion is done for you. You can load up a Word file and once the Smashword elves (unrelated to their annoying Keebler cousins) have done their format dance, your book is available in a whack of formats including PDF and EPUB. It’s all DRM-free (it’s a plus for your readers. Really) and sold through your custom-branded bookstore.

Mark Coker of Smashwords let me know that as of now, there are abut 20 small publishers selling e-books through Smashwords and that for now, the books that work best are straight up: straight text, simple formatting. In a nutshell, content matters first (my addition: rights matter second. These presses own world-rights to the titles that are being sold).

It’s kind of a crowded field on the Smashwords site and it’s not easy to find the publisher’s websites…but if you can do a little pushing from your own channels to the site and you want to get your books into the online and mobile world with very little muss and fuss (as an owner of a new iPhone, I’m pretty happy that Smashwords is available directly through Stanza), it’s worth a shot.