This news from Smashwords comes at an appropriate time, given the death of Steve Jobs. The self-publishing revolution is entirely because of Apple. Entirely. You can point to the Kindle as being the change agent, but the Kindle more than likely wouldn’t exist without the success of the iPod. Though ereaders existed prior to the iPod, the iPod and iTunes changed how people access content. As always, Apple provided the model which other people then adopted into other platforms. The Kindle Fire is now mimicking the iPad.
Also worth noting that the Mac spurred the age of desktop publishing:
PostScript enabled computer users to at last escape the world of a single typeface in only a single point size that could only be capitalized and underlined for emphasis. PostScript allowed computer owners to pick from scores of typefaces, adjust character size as needed and switch to italic or bold or shadow at the press of a key.
In its own way, PostScript was just as exciting as PageMaker, and it had many times the potential user base. Like PageMaker, it required a crisp, bit-mapped display and a precise laser printer to really show its stuff. PostScript made the Mac special, not just clever. The marvelous thing about PageMaker and PostScript was that they went together beautifully and in turn, they could only work well on the Macintosh. The combination of desktop publishing and a graphical user interface sent waves of delight and terror, respectively, through the market and the competition.
The Macintosh had found its niche. John C Dvorak’s question, “Why would I want this?”, now had a clear and compelling answer. The Macintosh of the 1980′s was primarily a desktop publishing machine. Its GUI simplified the life of users, but the GUI alone did not make the Mac a viable platform. Apple’s clever machine changed the desktop publishing world forever and eventually came into its own as a home computer for the rest of us.
The Kindle or the smartphone are just smaller versions of the home PC revolutionized by Apple in the eighties. The democratization of technology and content is at the heart of the self-publishing revolution.
Now the news: great news for Smashworders:
Apple this week dramatically expanded the international reach of Smashwords ebooks by distributing our catalog to 26 new iBookstores across Europe and Scandinavia.
Prior to this week, over 50,000 Smashwords ebook titles were available in Apple iBookstores in the US, Canada, U.K., Germany, France and Australia.
All Smashwords authors, publishers and agents enjoy immediate access to this expanded distribution.
Below is the list of new iBookstore countries now reachable through Smashwords.
Mark Coker adds:
I expect the US will end 2011 with ebooks accounting for 15-25% of trade book sales. Contrast this with markets outside the US, where ebooks will account for probably between 1% and 5% of the market this year. These markets are only now beginning to enter, or will soon enter, exponential growth phases that will take them to 15-25% the next few years assuming their growth trajectories follow similar patterns seen in the US and other English speaking countries.
Now imagine this being possible without Apple’s innovations.
About the Author: Henry Baum
I’m the author of The American Book of the Dead. The novel 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." I'm 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). Visit henrybaum.com for more information. I’m the editor of Self-Publishing Review.