Smashwords as Dirty Book Store

Do you ever go to the Smashwords.com website, and find the first page makes you want to puke? I mean, with great regularity, Smashwords is making itself, not the Grove Press of the 50’s and 60’s, but the Adult XXX Open All Nite of the 21st century. Freedom of the press is a dead issue. Selling porn is a business. I’m seriously considering joining many other writers, and telling Smashwords to go away. Not over Kobo or discounts or any other issue. Over aesthetics.

I don’t want to send readers there, to be confronted with “Knocked Up And Ready For A Lay” or “Liquid Fetish” as an example of self-published writing. I’m sick of it. Readers don’t find it at Barnes&Noble, Kobo, Apple or Amazon without digging for it. Why does everyone have to get a cum shot in the face, going to Smashwords.

You know I’ve done a lot to help Smashwords authors. This is another attempt to help, to do something about the horrible abandonment rate Smashwords.com has, due to its hideous front page, its mismanaged content, and its exposure of adult content to anyone who clicks in. When you walk into Borders, they don’t put the stroke books on the front table. Smashwords is the only non-porn site that does this. It makes me think, maybe non-porn is not an accurate description.

  • Ha – I was wondering what to use for an image on this post, and here this was on the front page.

  • I’m not going to argue that there isn’t some kinky stuff on smashwords.com, because there is. However, I feel I must point out that there is a link at the bottom of the book list on the intro page to “Turn the Prude Filter On.” The name of the link is unfortunately, as well as it’s placement, but they do make some effort to filter adult material from what most consider regular material.

    How much farther they have to go than an effort, well that is up to the business and marketing departments. Personally, I think that a better named link should be at the top of the page as part of the “filter by: free/short/long” bar.

    Especially, since adult material has different definitions for a lot of people. Do we adopt movie ratings? Do we trust another agency to do this for us? This is a razor thin line with censorship on one side and anarchy on the other. Which is probably why personal responsibility seems to be the rule that smashwords.com is going with.

  • klcrumley

    You know I’ve been pondering the same thing. Every time I go to smashwords, I feel as if I’ve walked into a Pr0n bookstore in the 1980’s. hahaha.

    The “prude filter” works, but a lot of the covers of even “prude filtered” books are very sexy. I guess even us indies recognize the concept that “sex sells.” Scantily clad assassins of aliens attract more attention than one wearing a turtleneck and jeans.

    I’m not on smashwords (yet) and I wonder how my books would fair in comparison to a lot of those I see on the site. Mainly because I basically prefer facial cameos.

  • I agree. I’m beginning to feel like my poor little PG books accidentally walked into an alley behind a strip club.

    Interestingly, some of the Amazon Community forums I frequent (pitching my books, of course) had a post describing certain practices that I’d rather my granddaughters didn’t know about. Crap, I don’t want to know about them.

    Anyway, Amazon started deleting those posts. The perpetrator could have adverted their material with less specificity and not had a problem.

    TMI, Belle, TMI!

  • For marketing purposes, authors can direct people to their “page” at Smashwords and the pages of their novel or novels. No author need link to the home page where the adult titles parade along with all the other newly published titles.

    And the site is hardly all sex stuff. There are all kinds of titles.

  • I said this from the very beginning that their website looks like a 15 year old porn junkie down in grandma’s basement designed it.

    I never point people to smashwords unless I am running a coupon and then I make sure to link directly, but I sell very little at smashwords without a coupon because I just cannot force myself to send people there. They really need to take a look at other bookstore websites and seriously think about a redesign as their first and priority resolution for the new year.

    I love Smashwords aside from that, but in an industry where a cover makes the first impression, the site design just doesn’t have that professional appeal we self-published authors so desperately need.

  • A lot of their most popular downloads are ‘adult’ of one kind or another. Where there’s money to be made, there’s sex to sell – that seems kind of universal. They certainly do have the bases covered there. I even saw something categorized as Christian Erotica, which was a news blast to me! I do try to avoid the home page, though, except for the chance of a good laugh now and then.

  • I use Smashwords for low-cost distribution to other sites, like Apple and B&N. I don’t see how I’m hurt by also being listed on the Smashwords site, among all the pr0n. Anyone who would be offended isn’t shopping there anyhow.