Though this 12+ year-old company was recently merged with Draft2Digital, Smashwords still operates. One reason D2D gave for their interest in the acquisition was the Smashwords Store. What is that?
Ebook publishers not connected to a retail site that sells more than what they publish themselves, such as Amazon and BN, may choose not to sell the books they produce. For example, D2D has not. Other, smaller sites may get your books formatted so they or you can independently load them to online booksellers, but don't maintain their own store.
Smashwords does not publish as many books as Amazon, but nearly 600,000 is nothing to sneeze at. Here are some reasons to buy directly:
1) Books can be downloaded in multiple formats, including epub and pdf, and you can download a book in varied formats multiple times.
2) New books may be available on Smashwords a day or two earlier than other sites.
3) Smashwords has sales several times a year.
4) Smashwords lets authors give coupons for free books on that site, even if the book is sold for a much higher price on other sites.
It's this last point that is a special benefit. As an author, I make coupons available to readers of my newsletter for a few weeks at a time. If you see an author on Smashwords, you can ask them for a coupon to try one book. They can say no, but you could also get a discounted or free book.
As a reader, Smashwords sales let you buy a book for less than at other retailers without that retailer requiring the author to lower the price on their site. It's a benefit for readers and gives an author the incentive to periodically reduce prices. It's a great way for readers to find new authors and for authors to attract new readers.
Publishers can use Smashwords, but most who do are self-published authors or those who run a press that largely publishes their work (as I do, with Lifelong Dreams Publishing). However, you'll also find authors who have gotten the rights back for older books and are reissuing popular titles. Check out Leigh Michaels. Or authors who publish prolifically with traditional publishers and add some independent titles via Smashwords. Check out Heather MacAllister or Jeffrey Marks.
I've used Smashwords to download a bunch of children's books so I have them on my Kindle when I'm with very young friends or nieces and nephews. You email yourself the book to your Kindle email address or jus on a computer.
If you haven't looked at the Smashwords bookstore, check it out. You could find a new author to love.
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