SMASHWORDS v. PRESSBOOKS
Recently, I re-published my novel IN THE ST. NICK OF TIME, a Santa Claus tale aimed at adults, which has been available in print for sometime (here, among other places), as an ebook.
I started out putting the book in Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing Select program where you give Amazon a 90 day exclusive in exchange for the opportunity to earn additional royalties by making the book available in Kindle’s lending library. The 90 days recently ended and I am, honestly, still ambivalent about the benefits of this exclusivity. A little more thought is required.
To reformat the manuscript for Kindle, I used Pressbooks. I found it to be very easy to format. It was a little tedious submitting each chapter one by one, but very easy to do. Also, after using Smashwords, I’ve come to appreciate that chapter by chapter submission process. Pressbooks built a table of contents for me. Smashwords doesn’t really do that. (No, a table of contents probably isn’t vital for a novel that doesn’t really use chapter titles, but it’s kind of nice for the convenience of jumping to a particular chapter if, perhaps, you didn’t bookmark it.) Uploading from Pressbooks to Amazon, was also very easy. Kindle gives you a 35% royalty on sales.
When the 90 day exclusive with Amazon was up, it was time to expand the vendors for my ebook. I chose Smashbooks, for various reasons. You can sell books right from their site, which do. (HERE) and they make the book available to many, many other vendors and in many formats – mobi, epub, pdf, etc.. Oddly, Smashwords doesn’t affiliate with Amazon at this time, which is why I used Pressbooks for the Kindle version of my book.
Like Pressbooks, Smashwords is a free service. Smashwords also pays better than Amazon – 60-85% through Smashwords or affiliates versus 35% through Kindle Direct.
The Smashwords formatting process felt a tad more arduous, though I’m not sure if it really was, or if it just seemed that way because they couch the need to adhere to their strict formatting rules on line spacing, paragraph style, and copyright page content in terms of “If you don’t do this, you won’t get into the ‘premium’ catalog which is available only to the best ebook sellers” so it felt like more pressure to do the formatting “right.” I will say, that the free 145 page style guide Smashwords offers for download is invaluable. For all that, though, the finished product is pretty cool. And, like Pressbooks, it wasn’t that hard. Just time-consuming.
I’m pretty new to Smashwords as of this writing, and may discover more things, good and bad, about this service. I’ll try to share them here as they come up.
In the meantime, what thoughts about Pressbooks and Smashwords can you share? Sing their praises? Air your grievances? Got a better service?