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Old 03-30-2009, 11:56 PM   #1
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Format Popularity Statistics from Smashwords

Smashwords, an indie author ebook retailer/publisher, has posted an interesting overview of their format popularity statistics, making a case for publishing ebooks in multiple formats.

http://blog.smashwords.com/2009/03/w...ks-matter.html
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Old 04-03-2011, 11:35 AM   #2
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Interesting article and chart. This seems to be the norm in the tech world. Everybody has their own format and these formats are ever changing. Ever notice that a computer language is hot now, and everybody uses it. Then, just a few years down the road that language is old news and now a new one is the hot one. It just never ends and so it goes with eBooks too.
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Old 04-03-2011, 11:58 AM   #3
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Seems like a slightly biased article to me. The author took several opportunities to demonize one company for using DRM (bad, bad), yet nothing was mentioned about the vast majority of epubs that are also plagued with DRM. But otherwise, I agree... I'd love to see multiple formats offered by more ebook sellers--but I'm not at all interested in forcing anyone to sell anything but their own chosen format if that's the way they want to do business. Let Darwin sort it all out.

The problem has never been "too many formats"... the problem is DRM. Without it, nobody would be screaming for "one format to rule them all."
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Old 04-03-2011, 12:15 PM   #4
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...making a case for publishing ebooks in multiple formats.
It seems more a case showing how silly it is to waste so much time and money on all these different ebook formats.
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Old 04-03-2011, 12:21 PM   #5
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So, Smashwords has what, less than 1% of the ebook market right?

I'm not sure this will tell you anything too cogent about Smashwords' customer base, except that it's probably a good idea for authors to offer their works in ePub, PDF, Text and MOBI formats, or else you might leave a good slice of customers in the cold.

Otherwise, it certainly doesn't tell you anything useful about the market at large.
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Old 04-03-2011, 12:39 PM   #6
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This is interesting to look at, but I'm mildly curious about how much of that ePub slice can be attributed to downloaders who don't necessarily use the format as-is, but to convert from, since the Meatgrinder's Mobi (and possibly other) auto-conversion often seriously mangles things.

But I suppose it that would just go to show that ePub is slightly preferred among Smashwords users because it's more versatile overall (and maybe they don't want to spend too much time fixing the metadata)?

In any case, the posters upthread are right in that it's the restrictions imposed by DRM that are causing the real barriers, rather than differences in format.
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Old 04-03-2011, 12:46 PM   #7
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Old 04-03-2011, 01:14 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anurag View Post
Smashwords, an indie author ebook retailer/publisher, has posted an interesting overview of their format popularity statistics, making a case for publishing ebooks in multiple formats.

http://blog.smashwords.com/2009/03/w...ks-matter.html
If we accept the figures as valid, I'm pleased - and a bit surprised - to see that epub leads mobi, but I'm curious that pdf and txt are so high, higher even than mobi. Is this the iPad effect, cos if I were downloading ebooks to read on anything other than something with a screen to compare with a laptop, I'd definitely avoid pdf which doesn't shrink well, and in any event I'd avoid txt, which doesn't display well anywhere?
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Old 04-03-2011, 01:54 PM   #9
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I'm surprised that epub leads mobi ..two years ago.... when this report was written. I would love to see the figures now, especially seeing epub has started to really take off not long after this report was written
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Old 04-03-2011, 02:01 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by yarndog View Post
Interesting article and chart. This seems to be the norm in the tech world. Everybody has their own format and these formats are ever changing. Ever notice that a computer language is hot now, and everybody uses it. Then, just a few years down the road that language is old news and now a new one is the hot one. It just never ends and so it goes with eBooks too.
You should have necro'd this thread on Friday, for the April Fools lulz.
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Old 04-03-2011, 03:53 PM   #11
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Oh crap! I'm going to ask for a new feature - that threads blink or turn red or something, if the original post is over a week old. I thought this forum was called News.
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Old 04-03-2011, 04:49 PM   #12
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Since this was from 9 months before the Nook was introduced, and also well before Sony switched from LRF to EPUB, I wonder what devices people were using to read epub?
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Old 04-03-2011, 05:12 PM   #13
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Where does it say what format people are downloading? All I see is total downloads.
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Old 04-03-2011, 07:50 PM   #14
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He updated the chart for Jan 2010

PDF has most downloads.

http://blog.smashwords.com/2010/02/m...-revealed.html
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Old 04-04-2011, 11:35 AM   #15
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I'm curious that pdf and txt are so high, higher even than mobi. Is this the iPad effect?
No. They're preaching to the converted again. If you offer downloads to the whole world (as opposed to the small number who own e-readers) more than half will go for pdf.
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