Smashwords is an independent self-publishing company that has been in business for fourteen years. The company is a cesspool of the worst independent authors who could not get publishing deals. Their entire catalog for the most part, has terrible cover art, books that have not been edited or formatted correctly and comprises of authors you have never heard of before. Their saving grace is the ability to distribute content to all of the major digital bookstores, such as Apple Books, Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Kobo. This is a mixed bag, because self-published books are stocked side by side, with books issued by major publishers. This hampers ebook discovery, because over 150,000 authors have published over 600,000 ebooks. This company is why I have lobbied for indie titles to be segregated from normal books. I am sad to say, that today, Smashwords has just been sold to Draft2digital, another self-publishing company, in an all stock deal. This means Smashwords will continue to be in business and continue to submit low quality books all over the world.
Founded in 2012 and headquartered in Oklahoma City, Draft2Digital is the world’s leading publishing platform for self-published authors and independent presses. The company offers a broad suite of free and powerful automated and self-serve tools that authors and publishers can use to build and grow their publishing businesses. This includes tools to simplify ebook and print publishing, distribution, metadata management, and marketing. Following its acquisition of Smashwords, Draft2Digital will serve more than 250,000 authors and publishers that collectively publish over 800,000 books worldwide.
“I’m pleased to welcome Smashwords authors, publishers, employees and partners to the D2D family,” said Kris Austin. “Early in our discussions with Smashwords, we each immediately realized we can accomplish so much more for the indie author community by working together than working as competitors. The resources we once expended creating duplicative systems can now be redeployed to ramp up our R&D investments in next generation tools to empower authors and publishers.”
“I’m thrilled to join forces with Draft2Digital,” said Mark Coker. “Over the last decade, I’ve come to deeply admire Draft2Digital’s team, technology, and commitment to authors. Our shared business model is a key to our two companies’ success. We put authors first. By design, we only make money when our authors make money. This aligns our interests with the interests of our authors. Together we will lead the next chapter of the indie author revolution.”
So what is next for the two companies? Draft2Digital authors will gain access to the Smashwords Store and its myriad exclusive book marketing tools, including Smashwords Coupons, self-serve merchandising, Author Interviews, and the patent pending Smashwords Presales tool for book launches. Sales at the Smashwords Store have grown consecutively each of the last five years, with December 2021 sales up 20% over December 2020. Draft2Digital’s erotica authors can look forward to expanded distribution enabled by Smashwords’ proprietary erotica certification system, which allows retailers to carry erotic romance and mainstream erotica with greater confidence.
Smashwords authors will gain access to new tools that simplify print and digital publishing and drive greater success. Among these tools are D2D Print, the company’s Print on Demand service for paperbacks; improved metadata management tools for better book discoverability at retailers; automated end-matter for series books; payment splitting for co-authors and collaborations; and more payment options, including direct bank deposits.
Retailers and libraries served by the companies can expect greater title selection and unmatched merchandising recommendations. The new, merged company will offer retailers, subscription services, and libraries unprecedented data-driven insights into the world’s largest dedicated catalog of independently published books. This represents a unique and first-of-its-kind offering that Draft2Digital believes will improve the publishing industry.
Michael Kozlowski has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past twelve years. His articles by him have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times. He Lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.