Friday, January 2, 2015

Smashwords Continues to be Successful, by Leveraging the Amazon Boogeyman

smashwords growth 2008-2014

Smashwords is continuing to be a self-publishing juggernaut with 101,300 authors now using the service and who collectively published 336,400 titles, up 60,300 titles from 2013. New distribution channels were established in 2014, such as OverDrive, the world's largest ebook supplier serving over 20,000 public libraries, and Txtr, a European retailer. New partners Oyster and Scribd were brought fully online. In all of the hype on another year of success, Smashwords CEO Mark Coker continues to leverage the Amazon boogeyman to promote his company.

One of the ways that Smashwords is successful is via their massive distribution system. They will put your books in libraries, on e-Book lending sites and also Amazon, B&N, Apple and many others, as long as its formatted correctly. There is no curation team in place, and the Smashwords mantra is “all books deserved to be published.”

In order to continuously grow and attract other authors to the Smashwords platform, Mark Coker actively discourages people from publishing with Amazon. Here are a number of notable quotes throughout 2014.

“Authors who fully distributed their titles with Smashwords were partially insulated from the dramatic sales drops many Amazon authors reported following the introduction of Kindle Unlimited.  If you know indie authors who only upload to Amazon, invite them to diversify their distribution with Smashwords. ”

“I've been speaking out against KDP Select exclusivity since the program first launched in December 2011.  In my first post, I cautioned that KDP Select could trap indie authors like tenant farmers tilling Amazon soil. ”

“Indies would do well to avoid Kindle Unlimited for one simple reason:  it requires KDP Select exclusivity.”

“The industry can cry until it’s blue in the face about how Amazon is ruthless and heavy-handed, and how other retailers are kinder and gentler. The truth of the argument doesn’t change the reality.  Amazon does what it does because it can, because authors and publishers let them do it, and because it’s in Amazon’s nature to act this way.  Lions eat wildebeest.”

In all of these blog posts Mark makes, he constantly makes reference to his own company and how its better for authors. In one breath he lambastes Amazon and in the other portrays his company as being the savior to indie authors. There is never any mention on how Amazon controls over 70% of the e-Book market in North America,  or how many titles Smashwords sells through them. The Smashwords blog is nothing short of a propaganda machine, used as a self-serving vehicle to promote the company and tear down the competition.

Smashwords Continues to be Successful, by Leveraging the Amazon Boogeyman is a post from: Good e-Reader

Scribd Raises $22 Million for New Book Recommendation Service


Scribd initially started out as a document file sharing service when it launched in 2007. The company diversivied into selling subscriptions for their entire library of e-Books in October 2013. They have raised over $25 million during the lifetime of their business in order to stay operational. Today, the company has just announced they have raised another $22 million dollars.

Scribd currently has over 80 million users globally and has an e-Book portfolio of 500,000 titles, including New York Times bestsellers, classics, and reader favorites in every genre. A pioneer of the all-you-can-read model, Scribd's subscriptions service allows readers to have unlimited access to more than 500,000 books from nearly 1,000 publishers, including Harper Collins, Simon & Schuster, Open Road Media, Lonely Planet, National Geographic, Rosetta, Workman, Wiley and Smashwords.

Just a couple of months ago, the company also expanded into digital audiobook, which will be the next big trend. Scribd CEO Trip Adler said the response "beat our expectations." with users accounting for 180,000 listening hours.

What does Scribd intend on doing with the capital they have raised? The big plan for 2014 is to improve the overall product, with a focus on algorithmic book recommendations and the reading experience itself, as well as continuing to expand the content available in Scribd.

Scribd Raises $22 Million for New Book Recommendation Service is a post from: Good e-Reader

Onyx Boox AfterGlow 2 Now Available on Amazon for $129

Back in November when Arta Tech first released the Onyx Boox AfterGlow 2, a 6-inch ebook reader with a frontlit HD E Ink screen and open Android 4.2, it was available exclusively from for 124 euros. Now Arta Tech has made the AfterGlow 2 more accessible by listing it on for $129 with […]

How to Recommend eBooks for Libraries to Add to Their Catalog

The folks at OverDrive posted a 10 most frequently asked questions article today with some helpful tips for librarians and people that get ebooks from public libraries. Number ten on the list highlights a feature that I didn’t know existed. Some public libraries allow customers to recommend specific ebook titles for the library to purchase […]

OverDrive’s 10 most frequently asked questions

In 2015, more people will use your OverDrive-powered digital library than ever before. To help you stay on top of growing traffic, we've rounded up answers to ten of our most frequently asked questions:

10FAQs_11. How to return digital titles

Topping our list is how to return titles before the end of your lending period. Our help article explains how the Return Title button works, how to return titles you've downloaded to a computer or device, and some exceptions to the rules.

2. How to reset a download link

Users may get an error if they try to download a digital title too many times. In those cases, you can reset the title's download link in OverDrive Marketplace by using the Reset downloads button under the SUPPORTtab (here you can also manually Return titles and Manage holds for your users).
For step-by-step instructions on how to use these features, refer to our Marketplace user guide (also located in OverDrive Marketplace under theSUPPORT tab).

3. How to get started

First-time users never fear! We've put together three short steps that will help you get started with OverDrive on any device.
Need more help? Scroll to the bottom of our getting started page for more detailed getting started guides, organized by topic.

4. How to enable cookies

OverDrive websites require the use of cookies to deliver higher performance and better functionality. By default, most browsers are set up to accept cookies, but in case yours isn't, we have steps for enabling cookies on a mobile device or computer.

10FAQs_25. How to borrow Kindle Books

Borrowing and reading Kindle Books from the library (currently available in the U.S. only) requires a few extra steps on Amazon's website. We walk you through the process in how to borrow Kindle Books from your library.

6. How to get titles on a specific device

Also popular are our help articles that explain, step-by-step, how to get all kinds of titles on Android devices, Chromebooks, iOS devices(iPhone/iPad/iPod touch), Windows Phone 8, Windows 8, and Windows and Mac computers.

7. Why do I need to verify my OverDrive account?

Visit our help article on verifying your OverDrive account to learn about this privacy-protecting requirement.

10FAQs_38. How to use OverDrive Read offline

Did you know that you can read eBooks in your browser even when you don't have an internet connection? How to read OverDrive Read eBooks offline shows you how.
Also helpful may be our articles about getting started with OverDrive Readand what devices and browsers work best with OverDrive Read.

9. Where is the title I put on hold?

We've created a help article listing some of the common reasons why users might have trouble finding titles they put on hold.
Users may also be interested in our articles on placing holds, borrowing available holds, automatic hold borrowing, suspending holds, and changing your email address for hold notifications.

10. How to recommend a title to your library10FAQs_4

Learn how users can recommend titles for your digital collection in how to recommend titles to your library for purchase.
If you or your users have other questions, OverDrive Help is a great place to look for answers. Best wishes for a busy, happy new year!


Carrie Smith is a Technical Writer at OverDrive

New QPU macro assembler

Since Broadcom released complete documentation for the VideoCore IV GPU back in February 2014 we’ve seen a number of fun uses of our 24GFLOPs of QPU compute, from Andrew Holme’s FFT library to Pete Warden’s deep learning experiments. It’s not unusual to see a 10x increase in performance over the ARM for algorithms with a decent amount of parallelism.

A platform is only as good as its development tools, so it’s a great start to the New Year to see a new QPU macro assembler from Marcel Müller. This builds on Pete and Eman’s earlier QPU assemblers to include support for macros and functions. Along the way, he’s even managed to squeeze another few percent out of the size and run time of Andrew’s FFT library. You can find source, binaries, documentation and sample code here.