Smashwords – A Chance for Authors and Readers Alike

Though the music and movie industries have been the ones to monopolize the topic of file-sharing, the book-publishing industry has been also dealing with how to find its place in this digital era. Yesterday we were telling you about how best-selling writer Paulo Coelho managed to turn a most acknowledged problem (that of file sharing) into major sales increase.

We learn how Smashwords.com came into existence from Mark Coker (founder of a Silicon Valley public-relations company whose domain of activity is startups) according to whom the site is a hand given to the today’s authors in meeting and understanding today’s online environment and its demands.

Basically, Smashwords, offers authors the possibility to upload their works (as Word documents) and choose for themselves how much they charge. This way, users can then download the chapters or books as “e-books” and read them on mobile devices such as Amazon’s Kindle electronic-book reader, all digital rights management and DRM free. The deal is like this: Smashwords receives 15%of the revenue from the book downloads and the author receives the rest. Offering free chapters is seen as a good way of letting yourself known (as an author) and promoting your literary work.

On May 6 the site was lunched for “public beta” testing, and already contains the works of a dozen writers, according to its founder. To sum up, Coker revealed the dream behind this project “someday, some aspiring author who lives in a hut in Tanzania, and who has to travel 3 hours by bus to the nearest town with an Internet terminal, publishes a breakout book on Smashwords and touches millions of people. How cool would that be?”