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Smashwords Nightmare

2 October 2015

From author Alice Sabo:

My books are for sale where?

Let me preface this. Back in 2012 when I self published my first book, I was happy to load White Lies into Smashwords and send it off to all the retailers they distribute to. Finding my ebook on sale at Barnes and Noble or iTunes was exciting. When Smashwords expanded, I thought that was fantastic. My books were available all over the world. And my reports showed me a trickle of sales in foreign countries. I was delighted.

Then the sales abruptly stopped. In the past 8 months, I’ve sold only 1 book through all those distributors. I thought it was odd that as I published new books my sales went down, but I haven’t been doing a lot of advertising.

Last month I decided to experiment with putting 2 books into KDP exclusively. I unpublished them from Smashwords on August 30, and waited. And waited… Luckily, Scattered Seeds was a pre-sale and didn’t go out to all the distributors. Lethal Seasons was another story.

First unhappy surprise – Kobo redistributes my books. I discovered this through a forum somewhere. So I went out to look and sure enough, there are my books on a French website. I have no idea what the market is for post apocalyptic survivor stories in France, much less for those in English in a non-English speaking country. As the author and publisher of that book I was annoyed that I didn’t know about this redistribution. Although I admit it could be in the fine print somewhere that I carelessly skimmed over.

Second unhappy surprise – Smashwords can’t control their partners. I am still waiting for Flipkart to remove Lethal Seasons from their website, 31 days after making the request. I have emailed them several times, only to be told that all they can do is ask. Even now that they have severed their partnership, Smashwords seems unable to retrieve its catalog from Flipkart.

Link to the rest at All there is . . . and the rest of it

Here’s a link to Alice Sabo’s books. If you like an author’s post, you can show your appreciation by checking out their books.


98 Comments to “Smashwords Nightmare”

  1. Thanks for this! I hope to hear from other people in my situation. And hear some opinions on this redistribution issue.

    • “Fine print somewhere that I carelessly skimmed over?”

      Perhaps you are referring to the Channel Manager, which is not exactly “hidden in the fine print.” Rather, it is a major feature of Smashwords’ website. If you can’t be bothered to look at one of the major publishing control features of an e-distributor, I’m sorry, but I’m not sorry for you. You might want to look into traditional publishing, which apparently is much more suited to nurturing authors whose little button heads aren’t up to dealing with clickyboxes. Although if you’re afraid of fine print, I have bad news on that score too.

      That being said, it does suck that they can take so long to get a book pulled from one of their channel partners. On that score I agree, having helped people try to deal with it. They need to fix that.

      • Marc, you’re right, the FNAC Channel is clearly visible on the Smashwords Channel Manager. Oh wait…

        • She complained about Kobo and Flipkart. Both of those channels are clearly visible in the Channel Manager. The Flipkart sub-distributor, obviously, is not – because it’s part of the Flipkart channel.

          As I said, the fact that channel partners are so unresponsive is ridiculous. The notion that it’s a mystery, and possibly some sort of malfeasance, that her books ended up with the channel partners in the first place is also ridiculous.

          Had she just complained about how long it takes to get books withdrawn, I’d be nodding my head and muttering, “Yeah. Stupid Smashwords.” But that’s not her primary complaint, as far as I can make out: it’s that the books were in all these mysterious places she had no idea about in the first place. She seems to think that if it hadn’t been for that forum, she’d have had no way to even know her book was on Kobo, etc.

          Except that they’re plainly listed in the Channel Manager.

          • I guess we are reading this differently.

            When Smashwords expanded, I thought that was fantastic. My books were available all over the world. And my reports showed me a trickle of sales in foreign countries. I was delighted.

            She knew her books were distributed all over the place, which is why she signed up for Smashwords in the first place.

            Her surprise is that after she thought she withdrew from Smashwords, she is still finding her books in places that they no longer should be in.

            Anyway, that is the way I am reading things. Not every blog post by a writer needs to be read in a literal legal manner, and sniped at in a literal legal manner….

            • If that is what she meant, then I apologize for misunderstanding, and withdraw my criticism. That is not how I read it.

              • I have searched the Kobo site long and hard for a list of their regional partners, and found nothing. I finally resorted to contacting Kobo, and it took a sequence of increasingly stern emails to get a list of their downstream distributors, mostly because they were playing stupid about why an author would even want to know. I was on the verge of taking the question to Twitter and inquiring of Michael Tamblyn when they coughed up a list.

                A few of their channels are unbelievably slow about updates, most particularly FNAC, the Hotel California of the European market. If you don’t even know what the regional store are, you can’t possibly police them for takedowns, and Kobo makes it nearly impossible to find out. Transparency is not even a word in the dictionary with these stores, and the OP is justifiably unhappy about it.

                • “We are programmed to receive.
                  You can check-out any time you like,
                  But you can never leave!”

                  You mean this? As a writer or as a customer?

                  Take care

                • Ferran, I mean as an author. FNAC finally took down a book after weeks of prodding Kobo to do something about their brat, and finally resorting to directly pestering FNAC in French and English.

                  These are computer-based businesses, for pity’s sake. You’d think they were updating via punch cards. Punch cards with typos.

                • I thought it would be the case. My point was that, as a customer, FNAC… could be easier to navigate. And their customer service… could use some work.

                  At least here (Barcelona), they started having readers for clerks… then it went down the drain.

                  Take care.

                • I don’t suppose you feel up to sharing a copy of that list? I only have seen the partial (real “Big Name”) distribution list that’s on their FAQ.

          • I read that not as her complaining about distribution to Kobo and Flipkart (the channels that Smashwords clearly says it distributes to, and which she was initially happy about until she decided to withdraw her book), but rather Angus and Robertson, WHSmith, Whitcouls, and many smaller places — stores that Kobo distributes to AFTER Smashwords sends it to them, that you may not realize Kobo is putting your book in because they aren’t listed in the Channel Manager.

            • I go direct to Kobo, but I didn’t know – until reading the OP and this comment – that Kobo distributes to “Angus and Robertson, WHSmith, Whitcouls, and many smaller places.”

              I’m rather horrified that I didn’t know. Did everyone else besides me know this? Is the information present on the Kobo web site? I thought I’d read all of the indie publisher info there thoroughly.

              • No, I didn’t know that either but then again I don’t take part in Select so it doesn’t matter. I go wide and stay that way.

                • Some have a lot of success going wide. Others hear the sound of crickets. We all have to do what works for us, and the good news is, if it doesn’t work we can do something else.

                • Others hear the sound of crickets.

                  That’s me. I’ve been widely distributed for nearly 4 years now. When I am lucky, I sell in a year on B&N as much as I’ll sell in a month on Amazon.

                  I’m not yet ready to pull my existing titles from B&N, etc. (although I suspect I should do so), but my next planned releases are going into Select and KU.

              • The information’s somewhere on the Kobo website. I subscribe to their RSS feed and read an article about it not long ago.

                • In the Kobo Writing Life FAQ, section 9 (retyped because I can’t copy and paste from the PDF file, so any typoes are probably mine), it states:
                  “Where Else Can Kobo Distribute My Ebooks:

                  Kobo is continuing to expand our global presence by partnering with a number of local and international eBook retailers. Some of our current Partnerships include:
                  Chapters/Indigo (Canada), Angus and Robertson (Australia), Whitcouls (New Zealand), FNAC (France), WH Smith (United Kingdom), as well as our own international ebook store at http://www.kobobooks.com/

                  So, yes, the information is there. Although I don’t think that’s a complete listing of all the eBook stores it deals with; after all, it only says that “SOME of our current partnerships” are a part of that list.

          • I sometimes (no, make that always) wish that getting personal (and dismissive, and superior) wasn’t the first place some people tended to go on the Internet. If someone thinks they know how to fix someone else’s problem, telling them “If you can’t be bothered to…” is an odd way to go about it. If that person’s goal is to make themselves feel better at the other’s expense, however, then they should just keep doing what they’re doing.

      • And that you cannot remove your books is there as well? I do NOT think so.

        • You can remove books. It just takes way too long. I can relate from personal experience that firm letters from attorneys can greatly hasten the process, although that should not be necessary.

          Again, on the “withdrawing books does not work very well” front, I am solidly on the OP’s side.

          • Having to use attorney’s letters is not ‘removing them from the channel’. That is a totally specious argument. Removing them from the channel does NOT remove them from re-sale. What Smashwords does not tell you (whether you like it or not) is that they do not control distribution by their vendors.

            • They will, eventually, leave the channel, even absent lawyer letters. And the removal will eventually propagate to the subdistributors. Both things just take way too long.

    • Alice, thanks for sharing your misadventures. It helps me to sharpen my publishing and distribution skills that much more.

    • I had EXACTLY the same experience. My book was on a French site. I actually called Kobo’s CS and got it removed that way.

  2. In case it’s not clear from the excerpt, the author isn’t complaining because she was surprised by Kobo’s network of partners or the fact that Smashwords is a distributor.

    She’s annoyed because she pulled the book so she could put it into KDP Select, only it hasn’t been taken down.

    • There is nothing in the posted article which negates the very plain complaint in the excerpted paragraph about Kobo. At least, calling something an “unhappy surprise,” when describing services provided to you by a vendor, is close enough to a complaint about that vendor in my book.

      • She has every reason and right to complain. I had a very similar experience having books being distributed MONTHS after requesting them be removed from ALL CHANNELS. Your defensiveness is showing. It has nothing to do with what she said.

        It is even difficult to discover where they may be re-distributed and who is controlling it in order to ‘cease and desist’ which should NOT be something an author should be forced to by Smashwords.

  3. I know many have been saying this for awhile, but when will Smashwords sell out to Amazon?

    The company is run terribly, and it seems to me that Mark Coker is spending most of his time…I dunno, drinking on the beach somewhere?

    Slow and sclerotic is how I’d describe that company. Quarterly payments say it all.

    Get with the times, guys!

    Really though, it’s the benefits more than anything. What is the benefit of being in Smashwords? Compared to D2D, I see none.

    When you weigh either of those against Amazon, however, there’s just no contest. I’ve had books sit on SW/D2D for months, quarters even, with no sales. At least with KU/KOLL you’re getting a borrow and now pages read.

    There’s just no way these other companies can compete with that.

    When will Smaswhords sell out to Amazon? Might be the big story of early-2016.

    • Why would Amazon want to buy it?

      That’s not intended to be denigratory towards Smashwords or Coker. I just don’t see any significant value there for them (in that I don’t see that they have much that Amazon wants and doesn’t already have,) and having Smashwords to point at is good PR when they’re (incorrectly) described as a monopoly.

      • To shut it down gracefully?
        Sometimes companies buy out competitors to keep somebody else from getting them.
        Not that I would *ever* expect Mr. Coker to take Amazon money.

        • That’s an excellent point, but for the same reasons I don’t see Amazon wanting it, I don’t see Amazon caring (much) if it continues to operate or somebody else gets it. Smashwords’ ebook sales numbers are a rounding error to Amazon: any potential business increase generated by Smashwords’ shutting down is probably literally not worth Amazon’s time to try to encourage.

        • @ Felix

          Anything will sell if the price is right! 🙂

          Usually this means a lowball price that a buyer will bite the bait on.

          But it can also mean a price so high that a seller will sign on the dotted line — no matter if the thing being sold is the seller’s “baby” and pride and joy. Lots of money can make a very joyful rest of life! 🙂

      • Why would Amazon want to buy it?

        Access to Overdrive? That’s the only real benefit to Smashwords over D2D that I can see, and I’d bet Amazon would love to have a special relationship with Overdrive.

        • If Amazon wanted access to Overdrive, they would negotiate for it or would have bought OD.

        • Surely Amazon does have a special relationship with Overdrive? It is certainly through Overdrive that I find ebooks available for loan at my local library, click to borrow the Kindle version, and am sent to Amazon, where I can download the Kindle ebook directly to my advice.

          • If you want to get your ebook into libraries, you have to go beyond Overdrive, which I was able to get into via eBookPartnership. Smashwords is the only way I know of to get into Baker & Taylor’s ebook system, which many of the libraries I’m dealing with use.

            Unfortunately, Overdrive is the only system Amazon lets you be in if you want to go exclusive with them. So right now it’s a choice: wide library distribution or Select. I’m hoping that changes at some point. And at that point, it sounds like I’ll then have to deal with the fun of getting my stuff out of Kobo.

        • Why would Amazon want Overdrive in the first place? If Amazon wanted to partner with Libraries to establish some sort of library lending through public libraries, I suspect Amazon would develop their own system that worked with the kindle app.

    • I do better via Smashwords than I do D2D. I sell through Smashwords’ store and through Apple.

      For some reason, Apple won’t take my stuff when sent via D2D. I’ve made $10 via D2D in 8 or 9 months. I make a lot more via Smashwords without trying.

      That being said, I think payment every 30 days or even 45 days would be preferable to the long wait.

      As for Flipkart not taking anything down in a timely manner- old old old news. If the polite requests don’t work and it’s been 30 days, send a DMCA notice.

      • I like this suggestion, but to heck with waiting 30 days; if the book is still up after a week then send the DMCA notice.

      • I will never go Select and I use Smashwords. Coker was very upfront recently about the months of negotiations with India’s Flipkart trying to speed up their response to KDP requirements for people bailing out on Coker’s service. Finally, he explains on his blog, the Indians just admitted they couldn’t manage.
        There is something a little ‘hissy fit’ about this post, although in an ideal world, yes, Coker would speed up payments (he does use Paypal which Amazon won’t. Any compliments his way for that?) and he’ll get all his distributors to respond at the push of a button(s.)

        For those of us overseas, it is really not easy to use the alternative aggregators so directly.

        Right now, imhexp. Smashwords earnings (mostly iBookstore, B&N and Kobo) are running a third of amazon.uk.co sales, while (because of KU) we are selling practically nothing anymore on amazon.com. Nadda. Why would we risk going KU, which seems to cater mainly to the US market when our earnings are entirely overseas? Why would we put thousands of dollars at risk to ‘go narrow’ in the hope that we’ll suddenly reverse course?

        Yes. The US amazon sales simply tanked in the face of KU while the UK site zoomed and keeps zooming.

        I believe part of the problem is another topic: amazon.com’s insistence that US reviews are the default for all English-language books. In the case of many UK-published books, the UK reviews, which reflect market tastes which vary widely from Americans’, should be the favored assessment for potential readers for UK-targeted books, even if they live in the States.

    • Smart Debut Author

      In what bizarro-world universe would Amazon bother to buy Smashwords?
      They’ve got absolutely nothing that Amazon would want.

    • Hi, I’m new to the self-publishing, checking out distributors and such, and I’m not hearing many good things about SWs, and now Kobo is in question. Although, I have heard good things about D2D. Who are we to trust?

      • If I were starting out new today, I wouldn’t bother with Smashwords. However, if you’ve decided that you’re going to go wide, it’s worth it to go direct to Kobo.

        • I do want to go wide, but I just read above that Kobo wasn’t too good either because you don’t know who their distributing to? What do you think?

          • It only matters if you want to pull your books and go into Select, so if you already know you want to go wide, no problem. And if Amazon ever drops their asinine exclusivity requirement, then it matters even less.

      • Hey Debbie, welcome to self-publishing, and good luck with your books.

        I signed up for Draft2Digital this year, and have found them very easy to work with. Any questions are responded to quite quickly, the interface is very easy to work with. I know they are growing, adding new sales channels, but the growth seems steady and sensible.

        • I can second the recommendation for D2D. I have nothing but good things to say about them.

          • I third it. My sales have increased since switching to D2D for distribution. I still sell direct through Smashwords because I have a handful of readers who do buy there.

            • Make it a fourth. I’ve been doing this going on five years and was originally direct to B&N and Kobo, then used SW to reach Apple. Though I believe Mark C’s intentions were good, I believe he focused FAR too much on growing his author client base at the expense of serving the authors he’d already attracted. I changed over to D2D some time ago (for Apple distribution only). I was so impressed with the excellent customer service I experienced I then changed over and distributed to B&N and Kobo through D2D. The ease of maintaining one account and making necessary changes in one place rather than three trumped the extra cost, at least for me. Another benefit not mentioned is the fact that when there IS a problem with a distributor, D2D seems to be able to sort it out much more quickly than I could on my own. I think Apple and the other retailers are likely more responsive to the requests of a distributor with thousands of titles than to an individual author with a handful. Just my opinion. YMMV.

        • +1. And their customer support is excellent.

          I once accidentally responded to a sales update, which you’re not even supposed to reply to. I was responding to my wife about a business account, but I clicked on the wrong email when I replied. I ended up sending them a few lines of gibberish and numbers that couldn’t possibly have made any sense. Less than an hour later, I got a personal response trying to explain what my sales report had meant. I felt too stupid to write back and explain my mistake 🙂

  4. And this is why, once I have books on wide distribution, they stay there.

  5. I started out publishing with Smashwords in 2010 because it seemed like a good company — helpful and responsive — and I liked the idea of having a central distribution point to reach all the retailers. At the time, Amazon was something that was “coming very soon” to Smashwords and I thought, “Okay, no problem. I can wait for them to get it lined up and then I can have what I wanted with having to only format once and be everywhere.”

    Weeks turned into months with continued promises of “we’re almost there” and still “coming soon.”

    Biggest mistake of my publishing career thus far.

    I missed the freebie gold rush and everything that came with it. I don’t blame Smashwords for my decisions. Those were my own. But it made me realize that middlemen aren’t good things. Which is something I should have already learned from deciding to self publish in the first place. Agents, trad pub, even Smashwords, are just barriers between us and readers.

  6. I’ve had this same experience with smashwords. It is great that they distribute widely, but when it comes to managing updates, or removing books from retailers they seem to have no control or communication about the process. Recently removed my books from everywhere except Kindle and when I enroll in Select I have to hold my breath and hope it’s down from everywhere after waiting a month.

  7. I upload direct to Kobo and I had the same problem when I moved my pen name books into KDP Select — they were still on sale in the French store that I’d never heard of, and I got a nasty-gram from Amazon. I had to write Kobo a few times to figure out how to get them removed.

    I think that no matter who distribute with, you just have to face the fact that it’s probably going to take a month to get your books down from everywhere and for them to be ready to enroll in KDP Select.

    • Agree,

      I’ve taken books down from both Smash and Kobo and it took about the same amount of time for each. I think this is a case of the Author not understanding the enormity of the task. Taking a book down for us is a button click, for them to actually do so takes a bit more.

      Since I drink “Go Wide” kool-aid in my office I don’t really have this issue anymore.

      • “I think this is a case of the Author not understanding the enormity of the task.”

        I agree with you Randall because all I could find was anecdotal evidence on how long to wait. Maybe I am frustrated with the system – Click this button and at some point it will be done. If I saw somewhere that it could take 30 – 60 days to take down ebooks, I think I would have had more patience. But the distribution channel says it delivers daily and that made me think it would be as quick in reverse.

        If you don’t use Smashwords or Kobo, how do you “Go Wide”, if I may ask.

        • A lot of commenters here seem to like Draft2Digital. I do myself. That said, they distribute to Kobo, so that same problem may occur.

          When I needed to remove a book, however, I waited a few days and as near as I could tell, the books were down.

          • When I’ve seen D2D deal with problems, they’ve sent updates, worked it out, and solved it. Can’t say I’ve seen the same through SW, but I’m not following either _that_ close, so I might be wrong.

            Take care

  8. It’s my understanding that D2D gets books down very quickly, within days. That’s why I decided to go wide with them, rather than Smashwords. I only have a short story collection live at SW, and I’m seriously thinking about taking it down and getting it into KU. That and the UF novel will come off D2D as well. I’m going all-in with KU for a few months, until I build some name recognition and fatten my catalog.

  9. Smashwords skated a long time on people overlooking growing pains, but enough is enough. From their 1995-chic web site to their terrible customer service to quarterly payments to Mark Coker’s constant whining and rants about Amazon, who even cares anymore. D2D is much better if you want an aggregator. Smashwords had their chance, but they’ve worked themselves into irrelevance.

  10. I have been permanently banned from KDP Select for ‘persistent violations of the rules’ because of exactly the problem you describe. I unpublished a book because of poor sales at Smashwords. I waited a couple of months to be certain it was gone from other listings and then listed it with KDP Select, but Amazon’s relentless bots quickly discovered listings for it at various foreign-language websites I had never heard of.

    Worst of all, Amazon issued its ban me a week before a BookBub promotion was supposed to run and I was forced to cancel it because I no longer had any way of making my book free during the promotion period. That pissed BookBub off and now I have apparently been blacklisted by them, too.

    Thanks to Smashwords and the problems they caused my sales are now down by 80-90%. Jerks.

  11. No, I get it. I understand her complaint. I removed- unpublished – meticulously unpublished – compulsively checked and re-checked to be certain – all my work from Smashwords. I switched everything to KDP/KU. Lo and behold, two months later a book I’d unpublished from SW reappeared– as if by magic! I only learned it had reappeared as active on my SW dashboard because I received an email from SW asking if I’d like to improve my metadata for that particular book.
    I was horrified. An author agrees to be exclusive to Amazon for 90 days. Through no fault of my own I discovered I was not exclusive. Amazon could have really dinged me big time.
    Now that I read her article, I think I’ll make it simple – I’ll close my SW account altogether.

    • Will closing the account take our books out of Smashwords?

      I unpublished two books a couple of months ago, and enrolled them in KDP after a month. But checking just now, SW owes me $8 (that I never expect to see) from books they shouldn’t be selling.

      My channel manager has no links to distributors in it. Or do I need to check every company listed on the help page? I’m so confused.

      • I don’t know. I checked the FAQs. If we want to close the account we have to email customer service. There is no other way to close an account with SW. As in there is no ‘close this account’ function.

        • To what extent can you do that, document it, and sue for loss of revenue if you have problems on KDP?

          Take care.

          • Well, I guess I can take screen shots of my SW dashboard- which states the books are not published anywhere but are archived. (Archived since I have not yet heard about closing my account. I’m unable to remove the books altogether, which in my mind, is a big no-no for any self-pubbing site.)

            • I wonder if it is even possible to remove one’s book entirely? My understanding is that the ebook file remains, even when it is no longer for sale, so that readers who purchased it when it was for sale can download it again at any time from the site.

              • I know D2D differentiates between “un-publishing” a book and deleting it. I deleted one I wanted to put in KDPS, and apparently it worked. I checked back a few days later and Kobo didn’t list it. I can only assume it was also pulled out of Kobo’s distribution channels, since I had no problems enrolling it in Select.

                • Yes, with D2D you can unpublish (and the book will remain archived on your dashboard in the event you want to relist a book with D2D) or you can remove a book altogether. But then D2D is incredibly user-friendly. As J.M. pointed out above, SW still allows anyone who has purchased your book to download it multiple times. Thus while I can discontinue my account I cannot entirely remove the books.

                • Without checking on the other channels that Kobo distributes to, I do not think you can assume that your books are not out there. FNAC in particular has had books up on their site that I unpublished months ago, even though those same titles disappeared from Kobo within a few days. I requested Smashwords customer service contact Kobo, and that worked to get the books removed from FNAC.

    • I hear ya, Julia.

      I removed all my books from there. I havent even logged in to Smashwords for 2 years.

      And a few days ago I got an email saying I needed to update some metadata, as they were sending my book to new distributors!


      Alice, hope you get your books back soon.

  12. I removed several titles from Smashwords, waited a couple of months, and then placed them into KDP Select. Within a week I started getting nasty emails from Amazon with links to foreign language websites where their relentless bots had found my books for sale. Italy? Turkey? Romania, for God’s sake?

    After a month or so, I got a final email from Amazon removing all my titles from KDP Select, even the unconnected ones, and permanently banning me from ever placing any title into KDP Select “because of persistent violations of the program’s rules.” I attempted to correspond with Amazon to resolve the problem, but they simply wouldn’t response except with canned emails telling me it was my responsibility to obey all KDP Select rules.

    Worst of all, the banning came only a few days before a completely separate title in KDP Select, one that had never been available though Smashwords or anywhere else, was scheduled for a free promotion through BookBub. I had to cancel the BookBub listing at the last minute because I was left with no way to make the title available for free. That thoroughly pissed off BookBub and ever since they have refused every request to promote one of my titles. I gather I have been blacklisted there as well.

    Thanks, Smaswords. Because of you, my sales are now down 80-90%. Jerks.

  13. I agree that something’s broken. I’ve seriously had stuff be on sub-distributors a full year after Smashwords & distributors were notified that I was no longer authorizing them to distribute said items.

    “All they can do is ask”? Um… If that’s true, then my not-a-lawyer read on things is that someone’s screwed up the contracts, because if an agreement to redistribute something can be terminated per party request, then any and all sub-distributions should, logically, be held to the same standard, because that limited license should have been all the original distributor was authorized to distribute to begin with.

    But again, I’m not a lawyer, so maybe I’m missing something.

    • One would have to see the contracts between SW and the distributors.

      • Why do you need to see SW’s sub-contract? Surely the contract between author and SW would be sufficient?

        ie- if the author no longer authorises SW as a distributor of the work, then they no longer have the authority to redistribute either.

        Or is this one of those cases where the law doesn’t follow common sense? Or one of those cases where it doesn’t matter which way the law falls unless you’re willing to take it to court?

  14. I grew up in Oklahoma, where there was a phrase that fits this chain of comments, IMHO:

    “Sometimes you should ride with a loose rein.”

    Be there to help, but also to see what happens and discover something about the horse you rode in on.

  15. This is why I’m very careful how I use Smashwords, because I had a similar problem getting books pulled from distribution “partners.” I only direct-send to Kobo, Kindle, and Nook, and use Smashwords now just to sell on their site. Most of my sales come from Kindle anyway. I’d prefer to direct-distribute and get that money every month right from the sources. I also use ARe/OmniLit as well. It’s actually easier (IMO) to direct distribute files to the other outlets than it is to Smashwords, but at least I can offer PDF through them.

  16. I signed on with Smashwords in 2009. My 5-5.5 years distributing to its partners resulted in 327 total sales, not counting a few refunded due to a suspected credit card fraud issue at one point. Freebies did much better (over 8K copies). Of course. 😉

    In mid-2014, I pulled all of my books out of partner distribution there, and switched them to D2D for distribution (June 2014).

    Beginning in July 2014, I’ve sold nearly 1,000 copies via D2D, and I only have 11 of my 21 books listed there so far (I had 19 listed at Smashwords).

    Neither aggregator has come close to the sales I see through Amazon, but the difference in sales results between Smashwords and D2D has been surprising, especially considering the relatively short time I’ve been using D2D compared to years at Smashwords.

    I had a lot of issues with updating at Smashwords. New book covers never made it to some of retailer listings. Price changes took a few days for some, and months at others. Now that I only sell direct through Smashwords, those issues aren’t issues anymore. =)

    I’ve wondered if my sales are better through D2D because I have a series that’s actually gained some traction, or because D2D has more BISAC categories and a better conversion process, etc., or if there’s some other reason.

    Possibly, it’s a combination of both of those things, but…one of my friends followed my lead, and switched to D2D for distribution, and immediately began to see sales too. She hadn’t seen many via Smashwords in the 3 years or so she’d been using it.

    • Things like this make me think an audit might not be a bad idea…

      Take care

      • I’ve had a few sales report experiences at Smashwords that have left me scratching my head. Plus, my sales there crept upwards from 2009 to 2011, and then dropped 50% from 2011 to 2012, and 50% again from 2012 to 2013. Not something I’ve seen happen at Amazon, or now, at D2D.

    • Thanks for sharing that. I will definitely look into D2D.

  17. I took a book down from Smashwords and had some trouble getting it off Flipkart too. Don’t remember how many times I emailed them before it happened. When I put the book in Select, I had my fingers crossed that I had waited long enough and it was down everywhere.

  18. I’ve not read the comments here, but I’m sure there are a ton that are shoulding on this author with the many variations of,

    “Well you should have known bla bla bla…I’m so smart it’d never happen to me superior inferior blame judge…”

    I call them ‘shoulders’. They ‘should’ all over everything. 🙂

    EDIT: Actually there aren’t that many shoulders in the comments. Good job team! Jazz Hands! High Kick! Spirit Fingers! 😛

  19. Every cloud has a silver lining , at least her books are not on Tuebl

  20. When I was wide, I used both D2D and Smashwords to distribute everywhere that I could, and I was direct with Kobo, B&N, and ARE/OmniLit. I also used XinXii for European distribution in places that the other aggregators didn’t reach.

    FlipKart turned out to be a nightmare. I had to send DCMA takedown notices repeatedly to remove my books from that awful place.

    I was so disgusted this last time with this process that I archived everything at Smashwords to remove the temptation of clicking “distribute” for FlipKart. Now that Smashwords has removed FlipKart, when I go wide again (notice I said when), I will consider at least selling through the Smashwords storefront. I don’t like the quarterly payment, but I sell so little there that it doesn’t matter, really.

    D2D is the best aggregator EVER. I never had any problems with them, and their customer service can’t be beat. If they actually come through with agreements with OverDrive and Baker & Taylor, they will be fantastic!

  21. Released my first self-pubbed book *yesterday* and already wishing I had made some different distribution decisions. I thought I did my homework, but apparently I didn’t do enough.

    I just want to drop my head on my desk at the thought of pulling a book from SW a few days after release, waiting who knows how long for it to disappear from iBooks and other places, and then trying to re-distribute it either direct or through D2D (or hell, trying out KDP Select).

    Would people recommend I just live with it for at least a quarter and do better with my next release?

    • Ii used to be that if you put it now through D2D it would reach most places before it did from SmashWords, but it seems to have changed. Check your dashboard at SW. Has the title shipped? Several channels don’t get titles on weekends.

      [From https://www.smashwords.com/dashboard/channelManager/ check “Next shipment to channel”]

      Also, you could risk having two copies of the title until SW takes its copy away, but I’m a tad uneasy about that.

      Take care.

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