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Smashwords Accepting New Formats in 2012

This is pretty huge news. The biggest mark against Smashwords is their meatgrinder – it’s necessary to submit a bare bones files or else the meatgrinder will convert it with myriad formatting problems, and the file won’t be eligible for distribution. That has been the main way that Smashwords can distribute the same file to many different outlets, as each retailer has different requirements. Now that ePub is becoming standard (except at Amazon) it only makes sense to allow direct ePub upload. In 2012 you’ll be able to submit your already-formatted ebook to Smashwords, which can then be submitted to retailers. So: better formatting plus complete distribution makes Smashwords one of the best possible tools for self-published distribution.

The news via eBookNewser:

Smashwords is well known for Meatgrinder, its automated conversion platform. Meatgrinder is the reason why Smashwords can sell ebooks in many formats, including everything from HTML, RTF, and DOC to Epub and Kindle.

But one problem with Meatgrinder is that it doesn’t offer output that satisfies ebook design pros, many of whom think that (compared to making an eBook from scratch) it’s not easy to control the quality of the output. A lot of the pickier eBook creators (like myself) don’t like it for just that reason.

Starting in 2012, Smashwords is going to allow everyone to submit other eBook files instead of the DOC file that is used as the source for Meatgrinder. This new service will be called Smashwords Direct, and it means that an author can make a beautiful Epub and offer that as the preferred format.

About Henry Baum

Avatar of Henry Baum
Author of The American Book of the Dead, which won Best Fiction at the DIY Book Festival and the Gold IPPY Award for Visionary Fiction. Largehearted Boy says it's "reminiscent of Philip K. Dick and Haruki Murakami, a book that boldly explores the future and defies genre." Also the author of North of Sunset, winner of the Hollywood Book Festival Grand Prize, and The Golden Calf - first published by Soft Skull Press, with editions in the U.K. (Rebel Inc.) and France (Hachette Littératures). He was a finalist along with Alan Moore and Dr. Brooke Magnanti for his novel " God's Wife" for Best Writer at The Erotic Awards London UK in 2013. He lives with his wife Cate Baum in Los Angeles. He's the founder of SPR.

4 comments

  1. Avatar of John Sparger

    Good to hear. I pulled my book from Smashwords for exactly that reason: lack of control over output. Due to its format (shorts, poetry, artwork), I had quite a bit of coding that didn’t translate well after the “Meatgrinder” got done with it. Just might have to take another look at Smashwords in the New Year. Thanks for sharing, Henry.

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  2. Well, it’s 2012. I’m still waiting for Epub submission capability.

    Here’s what Smashwords has to say on their FAQ about “Smashwords Direct” as of today:

    Q: Can Smashwords accept bulk uploads of pre-formatted .epub files?
    A: If you’re a publisher with over 300 pre-formatted, EPUBCHECK-compliant .epub files, we can support a bulk upload by special arrangement as part of our experimental Smashwords Direct program. In the latter half of 2012, we will extend this program to support single-file uploads from authors.

    – so other than that, Meatgrinder rolls on.

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