Smashwords Reaches a Milestone: Publishes 250,000th Book

In News by Dennis Abrams

smashwords art

By Dennis Abrams

Last week, an indie author released the 250,000th book on Smashwords.

Fun facts: In all of 2008, 140 books were released on Smashwords. Over the last 30 days, over 9,000 books have been released at Smashwords. Those 250,000 books contain 8.5 billion words.

As Smashwords’ founder Mark Coker points out, “Five years ago when we launched Smashwords, self-publishing was viewed as the option of last option of last resort for writers. Today, it’s becoming the option of first choice. The stigma of self-publishing is melting away as the stigma of traditional publishing increases.”

Indie authors, he says, are fast becoming professional publishers.

“Writers have learned that with ebook self-publishing, they can enjoy faster time-to-market, greater creative control and 4-5 times higher royalty percentages,” Coker writes. “The higher royalty rate enables indie authors to price lower while still earning more per ebook sold. This gives indies a significant competitive advantage over traditionally published authors. When readers are given the choice between two books of equal quality, and one is $3.00 and the other is $12.99, the $3.99 title is more desirable. The $3.99 indie earns about $2.50 for every book sold, whereas the $12.99 author earns $1.60 to $2.25”

In fact, according to Smashword’s survey data, a book priced at $3.99 will sell more than four times as many copies as a book priced over $10.00. This pricing power, Coker argues, is what gives indies a huge advantage in building their platform. Which means that authors who “reach the most readers today will have the largest fan bases ten years from now.”

In his post, Coker also asks, “I wonder if the traditional publishing industry has yet come to terms with the ramifications of the rise of indie authorship.”

“Indie authorship isn’t a noun. It’s an attitude. A mindset. It’s about believing in yourself. It’s a movement. It’s a movement that believes every writer has a right to publish. It’s a movement that understands that every writer — regardless of commercial potential or metrics — has something to share with the world. It’s a movement that celebrates the value of the book above the value of a dollar. Every writer is important. Indie authorship leaves no writer behind.”

In additional Smashwords news, they announced today that they’ve reached a distribution agreement with Oyster, the new ebook subscription service that offers consumers unlimited access to more than 100,000 ebooks for $9.95 per month.

As Coker said in his post, “I still feel like we’re getting started at Smashwords. Wait until we reach 500,000 books, or one million. Our amazing authors have barely scratched the surface of what’s possible.” Watch, you’ll see.”

About the Author

Dennis Abrams

Dennis Abrams is a contributing editor for Publishing Perspectives, responsible for news, children's publishing and media. He's also a restaurant critic, literary blogger, and the author of "The Play's The Thing," a complete YA guide to the plays of William Shakespeare published by Pentian, as well as more than 30 YA biographies and histories for Chelsea House publishers.