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Smashwords

I was very excited to stumble upon Smashwords today. Many bloggers publish e-books, either to sell or to give away as promotional items. The problem is choosing a format to publish in. PDF is the lingua franca of the web, but now people also want to be able to use their iPhones, Kindles and other devices. It's annoying and sometimes difficult to provide all the desired formats.

Smashwords will take your Microsoft .doc file and convert it to HTML, Javascript, Kindle, Epub, PDF, RTF, LRF, PDB and plain text. For example, I uploaded one of my e-books to Smashwords: Psst at Smashwords.

The results are a bit rough. Of course I had converted from OpenOffice.org format to Microsoft and then uploaded; you might see better results if you originally created with (ugh!) Word.

Smashwords doesn't begin to offer the sales tools that E-Junkie has, but they do let you set a price and create discount coupons. They also let you set a sampling percentage - for example, I set this to allow 15% to be sampled for free. That came out to letting you read up to about page 27 - that's easy enough.

I think if I could merge E-Junkie and Smashwords together, that would be ideal. If I were going to use this in addition to E-Junkie, I think I'd have to re-do the books, following their Style Guide. The problem for me is that I detest Microsoft Word. They do allow RTF uploads also, but that eliminates graphics.. I don't like tradeoffs!

Smashwords is certainly worth investigating. If you are giving away your work, I think I'd definitely use this. E-Junkie has advantages for sellers like being able to combine products into bundles, offer complex pricing and discounts, but if you don't care about all that, being able to offer multiple formats easily may be exactly what you want.



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The man who receives five thousand dollars a year wants six thousand dollars a year, and the man who owns eight or nine hundred thousand dollars will want a hundred thousand dollars more to make it a million, while the man who has his millions will want everything he can lay his hands on and then raise his voice against the poor devil who wants ten cents more a day. (Samuel Gompers)

On two occasions, I have been asked [by members of Parliament], "Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?"...I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question. (Charles Babbage)







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