On Friday, Smashwords, the website for self-published authors, announced it will hook up with Barnes & Noble to sell eBooks through the mega book retailer’s website.
As you might imagine, we’re thrilled.
Until today, it was difficult if not impossible for many independent authors and publishers to gain such mainstream digital distribution. Now with Smashwords, virtually any deserving author, anywhere in the world, can receive broader distribution for their ebook.
This is an important milestone for Smashwords. 15 months ago when we launched, we were an ebook publishing platform for self-published authors. Earlier this year we opened our services to publishers. And today, we expand our role to that of an ebook distributor as well.
Smashwords ebooks are now distributed via multiple online channels, including Smashwords.com, Stanza (the e-reading app used by 2 million + people on the iPhone/iPod Touch), Aldiko (for Google Android phones) and soon, the Barnes & Noble network (Barnesandnoble.com, Fictionwise, Ereader app, others).
Because Amazon already provides a portal for self-publishers via the Kindle Store, and thus a method of beefing up their inventory of ebooks, this looks like Barnes & Nobles’s bid to do the same. Currently, they have only a fraction of the romance eBooks Amazon offers.
Critics may get snarky, claiming that the move will pollute the publishing gene pool with sub-par manuscripts, but those in favor are bound to point out one important fact. The Smashwords-B&N nuptials are another step toward the democratization of American publishing.