Smashwords continues to expand its reach for ebook distribution. Ebooks published via Smashwords are now becoming available in public libraries thanks to an agreement with OverDrive. They have also signed agreements with both the Scribd and Oyster subscription services. Not only do these services provide the reader with affordable access to a growing catalog of books, they also add to the author/publisher’s revenue stream.
OverDrive is the service used by a number of public libraries to make ebooks available to their readers. OverDrive provides the platform that manages the discovery and lending functions while the library chooses which books it wants to purchase for lending.
Both Scribd and Oyster are direct-to-consumer services. For a monthly fee, members can read any of the ebooks in their collections. There’s no checkout or return – you just find a book and start reading. And you can read as many as you wish at the same time.
None of these platforms currently allow self-published authors to submit their own books so the Smashwords agreement is our only access. And, while Smashwords will get its share of revenue from your books in addition to the commission each book store takes, it saves you time and effort by providing one dashboard to manage all your publishing and sales.
NOTE: Smashwords does not support print publishing nor is Amazon distribution included in Smashwords’ services.
Mark Coker, Smashwords’ founder, is also promoting the idea that libraries are in a unique position to encourage and support self-published authors. I would carry this idea a step further and include local historical and genealogical societies.