Tag Archives: Smashwords

Left Amazon Select exclusivity and all I got was this blog post.

I experimented with selling Kevin and the Seven Lions, in the other stores by not renewing the exclusivity to Amazon.  I was hoping to set Kevin and the Seven Lions free and then have Amazon price match.  I learned though that Amazon doesn’t always price match, it’s up to them if they want to.  So that threw a wrench into my plans.

Uploading to the other stores was a big learning event, and I posted here about what I learned.

The argument against Amazon exclusivity is that you want to reach all readers, and you don’t want to have all your eggs in one basket.  I whole heartily agree with that argument.  The problem is the real-world application of the idea.  And after learning what I did, I decided to bring both books back solely to Amazon.

But by staying in the Select program, the Amazon exclusivity part, here is what I get as a writer.  I get 5 days that I can control easily where I can promote a book by giving it away for free, hoping that Amazon price matches another store is unpredictable.  The usefulness of free is really another blog post.  But I would recommend “Free: The future of a radical price” in seeing how free works in improving sales.

Second, the book can also be borrowed from the Kindle Lending Library, which is like a separate store to itself, and a great way for a book to be discovered.  Plus I get paid whenever the book is borrowed under the Kindle Lending Library.  That’s a great deal, considering there is data supporting that people that borrow ebooks end up buying ebooks.  Shocking.

Sometimes I read that Amazon is a monopoly and is beating everyone with monopolistic tactics.  That’s incorrect.  Amazon is winning because their business model is infinitely better than everyone elses.  Not because they are doing illegal things.

So let’s go through this store by store, with my frustrations and some suggestions.

1. Nook

The positives here was that the book was made available fairly quickly, uploading was simple, and Barnes and Noble automatically paired it with the paperback version of the book.  Take note here on this Amazon.

The negatives three big ones.  First the Nook’s days are numbered.  Barnes and Noble just got out of the tablet business and I am still unsure of the future of the Nook.  Is Microsoft going to be making the Nook now?  I don’t know and that’s a problem.

Second, borderline non-existent support, I wrote about this earlier.  Their support for publishers is Monday through Friday from 9 AM to 9 PM New York time.  Seriously.  It’s like they’re not evening trying.  Best of luck if you work during that time or have a problem on the weekend.

Third unable to set to free.  It’s seems in order for a book to be free it needs to be price matched elsewhere.  That’s too clunky.


How about an exclusivity with Nook with 85% commission. Or I thought if I signed an exclusivity with Nook, a local Barnes and Noble would then stock three print copies of the book.  You would have my attention with that deal.

2. Kobo

I had high hopes here, but I think their Kobo Writing Life should still be considered in beta. It’s not ready for prime time.

I really like they’re smooth and quick way to upload a book.  But the problems begin there.  When I first uploaded the book you see a notice saying that it will take 24-72 hours for the book to be published.  72 hours really?  Unfortunately it took almost a week for my book to get published.  And the nice people customer support didn’t know why.  They had to go to their tech support to find out why.  As a side note, I appreciated that they admitted they didn’t know why it wasn’t working.  Amazon support could learn from this, as opposed to just reading a prepared statement back to me.

I had to reupload the book to get it into the store.  And the second time I did it I noticed a little note below the upload button that says “If your book takes longer than 72 hours email us.”  So, apparently this happens enough to warrant a note.  Not good.

I set the book to free and Kobo pretty much turned it free immediately.  Great!

Then I tried to find the book.  Short of typing “Kevin and the Seven Lions” into the search bar it could not be done.  Children and teenage books are listed together.  Great.

But the kicker was that Kobo does not track free downloads.  Let me state that again, Kobo DOES NOT TELL YOU IF YOUR FREE BOOK IS DOWNLOADED.  Ummm…what?!

As a side note there is a category of Indie Next List on Kobo.  Cool!  I thought here are the up and coming self-published people.  I click on the category and a $12 Neil Gaiman book appears at the top of the category, and all the other books in the top ten were over $10.  A $12 ebook does not belong in a category labeled Indies.


More categories are needed, WAY MORE, and more ways for books to be discovered.  Let people track free downloads.  Fix the upload system so book don’t take a week to be available.  Also come up with customer service forms, sending a general email for help doesn’t inspire confidence.

3.  Apple

I went to Apple through Draft2digital.  The book was declined because I linked to the paperback version of the book on Amazon in back matter of the book.  My bad.  Nook or Kobo didn’t care.  But that’s what makes Apple, Apple.

Oh yeah, I also can’t upload straight to Apple because I don’t own a Mac.  I know.  I’m not cool.  Consequently, I can’t set a book to free in the Apple store.   99 cents is the lowest Draft2digital will accept, no free runs accepted.

Apple is just Apple.

Side thought, when you can read Kindle, Nook, and Kobo books on iPads, why does anyone need to go through the ibookstore anyway?


Let me upload through a PC.  It won’t kill you.

4. Smashwords

I got as far as opening an account then I stopped.  When I read the ebook stating the formatting needed for a book I stopped reading and lost interest in Smashwords.


The website looks like it was designed on Geocities.  Seriously, fix that.

P.S. Dear Mark Coker, Heads up, Amazon isn’t your competition, Draft2digital is.

Final thought

Anyway, I am going to stay with the exclusivity program with Amazon for the time being.  It is easier to focus on one store, and when that one store is the biggest store in the world, well that’s not much of a problem for me.


I had written earlier in the year about staying with Amazon and those reasons still apply as well.