Smashwords vs Amazon

Brian G Turner

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I'm curious - I know there are self-published writers here who recommend Smashwords over Amazon distribution.

However, I'm curious as to why?

Although Smashwords can deliver to different platforms, isn't it the case that Amazon is the prime online distributor for eBooks, with something like 85+% of the market?

Just curious from those already walking that path, as the reasons could be interesting. :)
 

TheDustyZebra

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I have a friend who has a book on Amazon, and he was just trying to put it together with Smashwords (I think for a self-printing machine in a bookstore?), but ran into a lot of difficulties. It was telling him he had all kinds of formatting problems, which were deliberate for appearance purposes, and it was looking awful with their formatting.

I don't know about either one, so I don't know how much sense that makes.
 

Teresa Edgerton

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There is no reason not to do both, although you'll have to do a lot of reformatting. (And expect that all other sales combined will be fewer than Kindle sales.)
 

Rafellin

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Amazon has the eye of the punter, without a doubt.

Now, I have not checked the Kindle terms and conditions since 2011, so what I say may no longer be true.

When I investigated ebook publication in early 2011, I was going to go with Kindle until I saw that in amongst the fine print of the terms, you signing up meant that you agreed to Amazon having the option of reformatting or editing your work, without notification or consent, at any time.

That's when I went and found Smashwords. Been very happy with them ever since, and Mark Coker's guides as to the differences between print books and ebooks were a real eye-opener.
 

Rafellin

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As an aside, Smashwords has been in negotiations with Amazon over becoming another online stockist of the Premium catalogue, but the talks have ground on for years. Some high selling Smashwords authors are now featured on Amazon, but it's nowhere near full adoption.

Cynics may note that Amazons Createpage initiative is a lot like single outlet (but the biggest) Smashwords with a print on demand facility added. When Smashwords started talking to Amazon, it didn't exist.
 

Gareth Lewis

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I use both Amazon and Smashwords (with all distribution option). Otherwise you're just limiting your potential distribution for not much reason.

The only thing you lose by using both is access to KDP Select. I've tried it (the access is on a book by book basis, not all or nothing) but it didn't do much for me.

Amazon do have overall better numbers, but for my sales it hasn't been overwhelming, and some of my stuff sells better through Smashwords distributors.

The area where I find Smashwords do better is pricing, especially if you want to do free stuff (of limited use these days, but I find it keeps a steady stream of downloads to avoid dispiriting blank patches in the stats).
 

thaddeus6th

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Why pick?

Amazon's the 800lb gorilla of books, and Smashwords sends your work off to everybody else (just about). I never had any issues with Smashwords formatting, but I've switched to Open Office and reserve the right to bitch and moan later :p
 

tinkerdan

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There are some differences depending on how you publish and KDP is one of the things that have to be considered before you realize the notion of going with both; because amazon creates some limitations.

I've published POD with full control of the copyrights and my publisher deals with amazon and Barnes and Noble and a few others which for that publication means no KDP. I've published with Smashwords for free books and price control and it's much easier with smashwords to make corrections so that the Smashword edition is my best.

I have not published directly to amazon with the ebook which would give me better control of the updates of the ebook. Presently with the POD it cost me several hundred dollars to make updates for corrections and that doesn't necessarily ripple down to Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

The Smashwords edition might ripple into Amazon but right now there is a limit of 1000 sold on Smashwords before Amazon will consider carrying that ebook.
 

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