Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Don't Be Afraid of the Big, Bad Smashwords!

       It's come to my attention that some people aren't familiar with Smashwords or are daunted by its somewhat complicated downloading procedure.  Today I'm going to try to make some of that clearer.
       Smashwords is a perfectly respectable and safe venue for self-publishing e-books that has several advantages over publishing only on Kindle.  It processes the submitted text so that it can be downloaded into a number of different e-reader formats: Epub (which includes Apple iPad/iBooks, Nook, Sony Reader, Kobo, and most e-reading apps including Stanza, Aldiko, Adobe Digital Editions, others); PDF (for reading on your PC or any other computer equipped with Adobe Reader); and Palm Doc (for Palm reading devices).  Last but not least, it can also be downloaded into Kindle.  I'll get to that in a moment. 
       Another advantage of Smashwords is that once you buy the book, you can download it as many times as you want, into any device.  You could put it on your Kindle, your iPad, and your laptop, so you can read it anywhere you like, on whatever device you happen to have with you.  And an advantage for the author is that once you have satisfied Smashword's undeniably complex upload procedures and gotten your book into the Premium Catalog, it will be published on Barnes & Noble (for Nook), and in the e-stores for Apple, Sony, Kobo, etc.  And moreover, Smashwords pays the author a better royalty percentage than Amazon does for Kindle!  Therefore, I would really like to see more people buy my books through Smashwords.  Once you learn the ropes, it isn't that hard!
       Once you buy a book at Smashwords, you return to the page for that book and scroll down to the line that says "Available e-book reading formats."  Below that is a link that reads "How to download ebooks to e-reading devices and apps."  Click on that and spend a little time reading through it.  You will know which device you plan to use to read the text.  Find the right one and follow the instructions (I'm working with Windows Vista and IE here).
        I'm going to focus my attention on how to download to Kindle, because that's the only one I've used.  I do it through the MobiPocketReader, which you can install on your computer here (it's free):
Once it's installed and you've bought your book on Smashwords, return to the book's display page, scroll down to "Kindle" and click on "Download."  (I think it will also give you the option of downloading a sample as well as the full version.)  The book will move automatically into the MobiPocketReader if it's installed in your computer.
       Now plug your Kindle into a USB port on your computer.  Navigate to your Desktop and click on the icon "Computer," which will include a listing for the Removable Drive called "Kindle."  Open that drive and you will see a listing that includes "Documents."  Double-click on that, and you will see everything that is contained in your Kindle.
       Now arrange the screens so that the MobiPocketReader and the Kindle documents list can both be seen (The Kindle screen will be smaller than the Reader, so the Kindle screen needs to go on top).  The book you just purchased will display its cover on the Reader.  Click on that and drag it across to the Kindle documents list.  And voila!  The book moves by magic into the Kindle, yet also remains in the Mobireader!  You can unplug your Kindle now and the book is ready to read.
       After you do this a few times, it becomes second nature, like most things you do repetitively.  Believe me, it isn't as difficult as it may sound.  But you do have to have the MobiPocketReader. 
       So now nobody has any excuse not to buy my books on Smashwords!  I think you'll be glad you set up this option!  Once it's done, it's done!


  1. Thanks for giving more of an explanation of Smashwords. I've bought two books on there and as I don't have a Kindle, I appreciated the range of formats that I could download it in.

    1. Yes, I'm trying to get more people to use Smashwords over Amazon Kindle. Thanks for commenting, Vanessa!