Home » Ebooks, Smashwords » Smashwords Announces Distribution to Gardners Books: Expanded distribution to over 400 retail stores, 2,000 public libraries and 400 academic libraries

Smashwords Announces Distribution to Gardners Books: Expanded distribution to over 400 retail stores, 2,000 public libraries and 400 academic libraries

16 October 2015

From The Smashwords Blog:

Smashwords today announced a comprehensive distribution agreement with Gardners, the UK’s largest book wholesaler.

The agreement significantly expands the global footprint of the Smashwords ebook distribution network, enabling Smashwords authors and publishers to reach hundreds of online retailers, public libraries and academic libraries.

On October 22 Smashwords will begin delivering 230,000 ebooks sourced from the over 100,000 indie authors and small independent presses to 400 ebook stores powered by Gardners operating in 32 countries and serving customers in 138 countries; 2,000 public libraries in the U.K.; and 400 academic libraries in the UK, Europe and Middle East.  The agreement excludes Smashwords erotica titles.

. . . .

Gardners powers the online ebook store operations of over 400 small and medium-sized booksellers globally as part of its white label ecommerce and digital content fulfillment & distribution services.

Notable retailers with ebook stores powered by Gardners include www.hive.co.uk, www.books.telegraph.co.uk ,www.indieebook.co.uk in the UK, www.bokus.com in Sweden ,  www.takealot.com in South Africa and www.saxo.comin Denmark.  Hive.co.uk, which is owned and operated by Gardners, is interesting because it features and supports hundreds of independent brick and mortar retailers.  Every sale benefits the consumer’s selected shop. Hive features a large range of titles from the Gardners catalog of over five million items which include ebooks, print books, DVDs, audiobooks, stationary supplies and more.

Smashwords authors and publishers will earn 60% of the after-VAT list price at Gardners-powered ebook stores, the same terms as they earn with Smashwords at iBooks and other major retailers.

Link to the rest at The Smashwords Blog and thanks to Stephen and others for the tip.

Ebooks, Smashwords

24 Comments to “Smashwords Announces Distribution to Gardners Books: Expanded distribution to over 400 retail stores, 2,000 public libraries and 400 academic libraries”

  1. Too little, too late.

    Excluding erotica titles as well, huh? Gosh, that’s a huge segment of the market.

    Overall, I might have been interested in this a year ago, before making the switch to D2D. We’ve listed off the shortcoming of Smashwords many times here, but quarterly payments, reporting, and site design are some of the big ones.

    There’s just not a lot to get excited about here. More locations where my book won’t sell, that’s about it.

    • I agree, Greg.

      Also, I hate Microsoft Word. I’m forced to go indie because the whole industry runs on Word.

      • I thought you could get open office to save ‘like word’?

        Now if only someone could get indies into the US libraries …

      • I was under the impression that Smashwords lets you upload epubs. Or is it that they just not do this very well? I don’t use them so I have no dog in this, just curious.

        • They do allow epubs, which meants the book will look the way you want. But they won’t produce a sample, or any other format, for you from it, so you still need a doc file for those. And OO does allow a suitable Word version.

          • Yes. I take my Createspace LibreOffice file, run a script that creates an epub and a Smashwords-compatible Word document from it, and upload them there.

            Works a lot better than uploading to Amazon these days, with all the munging Amazon is doing to books after we upload them (Why did my indents suddenly stop working on iPads? Why does the previewer show my book opening in different places on different devices? Why can’t Amazon just sell the file we upload? Why is the preview file itself different to the file they actually sell?)

            • Edward, it’s not just you. There’s a whole thread on this at mobile reads. A guy named Aaron Shepard says this is part of Amazon’s new “typographically correct” formatting on the Kindle. I found out about it here, http://www.newselfpublishing.com/blog/, and he links to the Mobile Reads forum. He says,

              … as I said previously, there is no way to proof your book before or even immediately after publication. A recent new book of mine took a month to receive its secondary processing, at which time its formatting changed significantly. The signal for this reprocessing is that the book’s detail page shows that “Enhanced Typesetting” is enabled.

              What’s worse is that books uploaded a while ago will be changed without warning to the new format — some people mentioned that books they bought a year ago have been “updated” to the new format. I haven’t had a chance to test anything. You’re the first person I “know” who has reported this. Very alarming.

      • We’ve been welcoming direct epubs for almost three years now – http://blog.smashwords.com/2012/12/smashwords-supports-epub-uploads-with.html 🙂

        … but with the limitations already noted – no sampling in the Smashwords store, no multi-format conversion. For authors who want custom epubs but also want to get the benefit of multi-format, you can upload both a custom epub (which we don’t touch) and a Word .doc (which we’ll convert to pdf, html, mobi, etc).

    • Greg, try to stow that pessimism under the seat in front of you, tolerate the shortcomings of Smashwords, and recognize that your career depends on having your work for sale in as many markets as possible.

      • I still publish via Smashwords. I do better there than with D2D. But I agree with Greg’s sentiments this time- just more places that I’ll never sell anything.

        I’m glad Mr. Coker is able to get some books into England- good for those authors. But I’m not one of them.

        My erotic romances are usually not accepted.

        • Erotic romance (at Smashwords: Fiction: Romance: Erotic) will ship to Gardners. It’s the straight erotica (Fiction: Erotica: XYZ) that won’t go.

          • Thank you. I will have to check my categories to see if they are listed under romance. (They are romance).

      • Smart.

  2. I have no hatred towards Smashwords. I’m delighted to hear that they are expanding their reach. You can upload epubs to them. I still format it to their guide and have made it into their premium catalogue. Isn’t Overdrive a way into US libraries? In any case I’m always looking for new retailers.

    • With the addition of Gardners, we now offer three paths into libraries:

      1. OverDrive – the largest library aggregator serving 20,000 public libraries
      2. Baker & Taylor Axis 360
      3. Gardners – 2,000 public libraries, 400 academic libraries

  3. I hadn’t heard that about the new Kindle formatting. That is alarming.

    Count me as one of the people who has problems with Smashwords MeatGrinder. But this might be a reason to test them again with a couple of books.

    • Ruth, send me an email at mc@.. and I’ll be happy to either get you over the hump myself or connect you with a staffer who can provide some personal hand holding.

    • I used Mr. Coker’s guide and never had a problem with Meatgrinder. Just set up your word doc the way he recommends and there shouldn’t be a problem.

      • Me too! Follow the steps in the guide and no hesitation once uploaded. Works first time, and distributed every time. And I love the payments I get every three months from Smashwords. 🙂

        And I have had at least 1 sale at Boston Public Library, so our ebooks are available at US libraries through Smashwords. 🙂

  4. Smashwords “signed” all authors “up” for the two Gardners things, and says we can opt out, but I do not see any way to opt out on the Smashwords site. Maybe it is something to be glad about, but I resent being signed up for something without my permission. Maybe I don’t like the 45% that I’ll get from libraries instead of 60%. I know others can say “Oh you should be glad etc.” but I still think I should get to make the decision. I resent the way this thing is being done.

  5. Please disregard my previous message. I see now how to opt out.

    • No, your comment is very valid. It took a great deal of complaint and presumably lost business before SW was drug kicking and screaming into allowing people to make these sorts of decisions for themselves. The history of this issue does leave a rather bad taste for many who experienced it.

      *Now*, as you found, there is a global preemptive opt-out from new channels, which is an improvement. But it is too little too late, and last I looked, the opt-out process involved reading through something like 4 or 5 mildly patronizing attempts to convince you that SW knows best and you should stay opted in. Nobody will ever care more or know more about my business than I do. It is my choice to make. End. of. discussion. Or it should have been.

      If an author authorized an agent to sign agreements on their behalf without consulting them first, I wonder what PG would say? That was basically what SW was doing. Oh, you did get something like 48 hours to object, but by then your file was “test” shipped and, given the incompetence of some of these retail channels, you can never be confident that it will not pop up for sale when you least expect it. Happen to be off-grid on a camping trip that week? Too bad for you.

      And no, despite MC’s usual refrain, the problem here is not that Amazon is willing to send out nastygrams over this. The problem is that authors lost control over their own business because there was no alternative to SW if you wanted to get into certain channels. The irony is that MC is a big supporter of agency pricing and (correctly) avoids a deal with Google Play b/c they won’t stop messing with everyone’s prices. Would that he could mentally step into the authors’ shoes and extend that thinking about control into terms that make sense in the relationships b/w authors and aggregators. D2D hain’t never shipped a book without I said so. Nixon would be proud.

  6. The simple truth is that no one is building the distribution system that Mark is for free.

    Only Vearsa and Bookbaby had the most competitive distribution, and Vearsa has a weird pay-per-book schedule while Bookbaby charges $300 per book, which only works for those with the start up money early in their careers and is not very sound for those publishing short stories. Also, they charge for metadata changes and even that is a multi-step process. It’s not flexible for indies.

    I use Draft2Digital then Smashwords. If D2D expanded like SW, I would use only D2D. D2D is being very slow in expanding their networks. But if they nail Ingram then that would be a game changer. Ingram distributes to Gardner’s, and is essentially one stop distribution to any retailer worth being in.

    When it comes to foreign retailers, Xinxii is probably a good network.

    I’ve been waiting year after year for D2D to complete their deals with

    ARe and Omnilit
    Google Play

    It would be major of they got it done. But Smashwords is really working to get indie authors everywhere that traditional publishers are. Gardners is a huge victory. And if you do not understand that (even if you are in Select), then you are not thinking like a true indie publisher. Gardner’s has been a big hurdle for years for indie authors who did not want to go through conservative distributors who tried to cater more to small presses than true indies.

    The more little streams that plug into the big river that is a indie publisher’s secondary distribution system the better. You never know where your books will start trickling in sales from. And the more that indie writers with publishing companies can look like the traditional companies and be where those traditional companies are, the better.

    And I never knew you could upload a SW document AND a custom epub. I’ve been so upset about that for years. I only uploaded the epub b/c I wanted a professional looking file to go to retailers. But I was always missing out on discoveribility in the SW store. I’ll have to go back and upload docs for my back list. Thanks, Mark!

    At the end of the day, faster payments is always nice. But I would rather have to wait several months than not have the income at all. Other bloggers who are not super famous, and who often don’t get their posts on The PV, or remain in KBoards,share their SW statements. Once some of those secondary distribution retailers start bringining in sales, they add up. It’s small, but not insignificant. It just takes a lot of time, which seems to be the concensus.

    Even if you are in Kindle Select, it’s good to know the larger game if something happens to force you into wider distribution. A lot of people leaving Select have issues adjusting to the time factor. It doesn’t take months to build an audience wide. It often takes years. So even in Select, building as much of a back list as possible instead of just one series or a handful of books is important. If you leave Select, you will at least want to do it with as long a catalog of books as possible. The only way to break through the secondary distribution network is to just keep publishing and wait while you keep doing promo and active marketing for the primary distribution system.

  7. Smashwords isn’t a good place to browse, but it’s useful to me for giving readers coupon discounts.

    The quarterly payment isn’t a big deal for me (especially since it can actually be more timely than Amazon, which pays monthly, but your payment is what you earned a couple of months ago). And I don’t have to deal with stupid wire transfer charges or this relentless push to exclusivity.

    Meatgrinder has been annoying occasionally, but it’s usually been me not rigorously following all the table of contents rules.

    Every outlet has advantages and disadvantages. I like the getting into libraries part a lot.

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