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Old 11-14-2010, 09:48 PM   #1
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Books removed from Smashwords

For the second time, I have no review for my blog this week because I was dumb enough not to double-check before I started reading, and a book that was once on Smashwords is no longer there. The first book was by Lynda Hillburn and the second by Nick Spalding.

I get that authors sometimes might have reasons for experimenting with their marketing plans or whatever, but I wonder if too much experimenting might be a bad thing and prevent the author from developing an on-line presence. I am going to be checking from now on, and any book in my TBR pile that is no longer available will be removed from my queue. I can't read a promote a book that is no longer available, and I have enough to read without them.

I wonder why these authors removed their books. What do you think?
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Old 11-15-2010, 02:22 AM   #2
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Is it possible to email the authors and ask?
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Old 11-15-2010, 02:42 AM   #3
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I suppose it is, but I certainly don't have the time to go chasing them
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Old 11-15-2010, 03:10 PM   #4
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Well, that's what you get when the authors can yank their titles from the publisher/retailer/"whatever Smashwords is best described as" at any time.

There's no way to know what happened without asking the authors. But if one of the books in question is "Undead in the City," it looks like the author is self-publishing it without DRM on Amazon....
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Old 11-15-2010, 03:36 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kali Yuga View Post
Well, that's what you get when the authors can yank their titles from the publisher/retailer/"whatever Smashwords is best described as" at any time.

There's no way to know what happened without asking the authors. But if one of the books in question is "Undead in the City," it looks like the author is self-publishing it without DRM on Amazon....

One can publish on both Smashwords and Amazon - the only caveats are you have to price your book at $2.99 or higher on Amazon to get the 70% royalty, and you can't price your book lower than the Amazon price elsewhere.

I got tired of waiting for Smashwords to get the Meatgrinder up for Amazon publishing, so I opted out of the Amazon channel and published my novel there myself, but it's still up on Smashwords.

EDIT to add: Although some authors were getting in trouble with Amazon because some Smashwords partners were discounting, but I believe this has been straightened out (or is in the process of being straightened out).

But that might explain why the books disappeared from Smashwords.

Last edited by khalleron; 11-15-2010 at 03:39 PM.
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Old 11-15-2010, 07:37 PM   #6
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I'm pretty sure Nick Spalding is a member here on this board, and I know his book has been doing pretty well on Smashwords and on Amazon (especially UK). Maybe he will chime in and answer...

--Maria
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Old 11-16-2010, 07:16 AM   #7
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Auto-formatting can generate some uncomfortable error. My own indie house has withdrawn more than eighty titles we had running with Smashwords in favour of carefully preparing each format on a title-by-title basis and dealing with the ebook stores direct. SW, though, does provide a valuable service to self-publishing authors who may not have access to sound technical assistance and to whom the 'meatgrinder' process is the only option. Best wishes. Neil
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Old 11-16-2010, 10:28 PM   #8
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Found this on Lynda Hilburn's blog...maybe this is the reason?

"...And, I've been working on an expanded version of my first two novels. I'll likely upload the new version of The Vampire Shrink -- including previously unpublished material -- before the end of the year."

Her name has disappeared from some other sites where I know she was listed, so it's a little odd.
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Old 11-17-2010, 12:07 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neilmarr View Post
Auto-formatting can generate some uncomfortable error. My own indie house has withdrawn more than eighty titles we had running with Smashwords in favour of carefully preparing each format on a title-by-title basis and dealing with the ebook stores direct.
Yes I agree with this. Sometimes a book needs a bit more control than what is allowed through a "common denominator" approach such as the aptly named 'meatgrinder'.
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Old 11-17-2010, 12:09 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kali Yuga View Post
Well, that's what you get when the authors can yank their titles from the publisher/retailer/"whatever Smashwords is best described as" at any time.

There's no way to know what happened without asking the authors. But if one of the books in question is "Undead in the City," it looks like the author is self-publishing it without DRM on Amazon....
In other words, the author removed the books from Smashwords that was accessible to everyone and put it up on Amazon where it is not accessible by everyone. Way to go (idiot).
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Old 11-17-2010, 12:12 AM   #11
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Auto-formatting can generate some uncomfortable error. My own indie house has withdrawn more than eighty titles we had running with Smashwords in favour of carefully preparing each format on a title-by-title basis and dealing with the ebook stores direct. SW, though, does provide a valuable service to self-publishing authors who may not have access to sound technical assistance and to whom the 'meatgrinder' process is the only option. Best wishes. Neil
But why can't Smashwords allow eBooks to be uploaded if the author has it already formatted and any other formats not uploaded can be meatground.
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Old 11-17-2010, 08:13 AM   #12
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I believe Smashwords can now accept ePub files, Jon. Not sure.

Whatever, we were underwhelmed by our experience of SW conversion quality and also find we're much more successful in getting our own carefully and individually prepared files into all major and minor retail outlets than Smashwords has ever been.

It has taken almost a year of darned hard work at our technical end to convert 120 titles in our current catalogue to PDF, ePub and Mobi, but in the mere two months since our additional US registration came through to allow us to deal direct with all the big new ebook retail stores, we are now everywhere (and several places Smashwords can't reach), with the exception of Apple's iBookstore where we've had to buy in expensive new hardware and even more expensive new Apple-specific publishing software to ensure perfect presentation of our titles. We'll fix that very soon -- and we'll do it ourselves.

Meatgrinding -- aptly named, as has been mentioned in this thread -- can do a very basic job, but it cannot produce excellent results. Mark Coker is an honest man and openly admits this (my only beef [sorry for bad pun] with him is his author-mill approach to what he ambiguously calls 'publishing').

For instance, Kobo demands that each of our ebook titles to be broken down into separate files for front matter and each chapter to ensure an excellent result. That is something auto-fonversion cannot handle. And each store differs wildly on what meta data, etc it needs. One size does not fit all.

Best wishes. Neil
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Old 11-17-2010, 02:54 PM   #13
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Correction, it's Spalding's book (Life... With No Breaks) that is on Amazon but not Smashwords. I can't tell if it has DRM.


Quote:
Originally Posted by JSWolf View Post
In other words, the author removed the books from Smashwords that was accessible to everyone and put it up on Amazon where it is not accessible by everyone. Way to go (idiot).
Right, it can only be read by people with a Kindle, or iPhone, or iPad, or an Android device, or Mac or Windows PC. What morans.

As to Smashwords, according to their FAQ, they only accept Microsoft Word files. I'm guessing they don't accept ePub or other formats, since they most likely have automated processes to quickly crank out the 9 different formats they offer.

They do offer ePub, which they might not have done in the past.
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