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Old 06-17-2010, 01:12 AM   #1
J. Strnad
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Why my book isn't on Smashwords

I have a Kobo reader, which has a problem with some epub files: the type comes out really teeny-tiny and can't be enlarged. The books are literally unreadable. The files can be fixed but that's a pia.

I was going to upload my book to Smashwords, but they only accept Word ".doc" files. I was able to create an epub file that works perfectly on the Kobo, with a clickable table of contents, but Smashwords' "Meatgrinder" formating software won't accept a raw epub file (created with Calibre).

So I either upload a file that won't work on the Kobo, or I don't upload anything. Right now I'm opting for not uploading anything, because I can't see charging people for a book that won't work on what I believe is going to be a major reading device.

Either Smashwords or Kobo needs to upgrade their software. If Smashwords lets me upload a raw epub file that works on Kobo, I'll do it; if Kobo upgrades their firmware to properly read all epub files, I'll do it.

But right now, Smashwords isn't an option.
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Old 06-17-2010, 02:59 AM   #2
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Mark Coker at Smashwords is very hot on personal customer service, J. Why not drop him a line about this? You'd certainly get more sense and interest from him than from Kobo. Good luck. Neil

PS: My own wee house has eighty-odd titles with SW (it's one of the few legal ways a small non-US publsher can get into the major new ebook stores these days). We've tested on the Kobo several of the ePub versions they've prepared for us with 'the meatgrinder' and, while they're not up to the standard of the ePubs we careflly prepare in house, they come across well and text size can be adjusted. N
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Old 06-17-2010, 03:23 AM   #3
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Why not upload the file (that doesn't work properly with Kobo) but then put in a disclaimer that if you own a Kobo to please contact me via email and I will send you a epub file of the ebook that works properly on Kobo.

That way you ebook is out there getting attention but people with Kobo's still have an option to get a file that works properly.
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Old 06-17-2010, 08:54 AM   #4
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Perhaps if enough authors/publishers bug them Smashwords will make the meatgrinder optional and let you upload individual hand formatted books if you want to. Maybe let you select specific formats (ePub and Mobi for sure, don't know how others look after their conversion). I know most Mobi files I've downloaded from them look like crap too.
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Old 06-17-2010, 10:20 AM   #5
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Good suggestions. I've emailed Smashwords.
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Old 06-17-2010, 10:27 AM   #6
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^^I've had a problem with the Smashwords .mobi version of my book - to the extent that I'm now working on getting a standalone Kindle version out there. Like you, I've emailed Smashwords about it, and they're looking into the problems. I definitely think it would a good idea if authors had the option to upload individual formats if they so wish, and bypass the meatgrinder. However, I'm still sticking with Smashwords, mostly because they can get your book into the iBook store!
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Old 06-17-2010, 11:18 AM   #7
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What's this meatgrinder you all are speaking of?
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Old 06-17-2010, 11:23 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by speedtouch View Post
What's this meatgrinder you all are speaking of?
To publish at Smashwords you're required to upload your work as a Word (.doc) file. It's then run through their auto conversion service to produce the various formats they offer. The auto conversion service is often referred to as the "meatgrinder".
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Old 06-17-2010, 11:38 AM   #9
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Ah, I see. Thanks.
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Old 06-17-2010, 11:47 AM   #10
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Another place that will let you publish in ePub (and PDF) with or without DRM is Lulu. I don't know what kind of cut they take & don't know how they are to deal with business wise, but with them you can upload your own hand formatted files. They're also an Apple Approved Aggregator which I know matters for some folks.
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Old 06-17-2010, 01:15 PM   #11
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Have you fell out with Ghostwriter? If you are going to publish it yourself, why bother with Smashwords at all? Just deduct their commission from the price and sell it on your own website.
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Old 06-17-2010, 01:29 PM   #12
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I once downloaded an eBook via Smashwords and all the lines were underlined. Way to go automated document destroying software called Smashwords.

I think they need to change the auto conversion software and allow authors to upload a properly formatted eBook. I've found that if you have a well formatted eBook, it can usually be converted to other formats well enough. But starting from Word has all kinds of crap in it thanks to Word that make auto-conversion a nightmare.
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Old 06-17-2010, 01:32 PM   #13
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I've found that if you have a well formatted eBook, it can usually be converted to other formats well enough.
I've had particularly good luck with ePub. If you can get yourself a good ePub as your "master" format it'll generally convert easily and nicely to other formats.
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Old 06-17-2010, 04:52 PM   #14
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^^Calibre seems to do a nice job of converting between formats.
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Old 06-17-2010, 04:55 PM   #15
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^^Calibre seems to do a nice job of converting between formats.
It does, as long as you're starting with something good. I've found that starting with a well formatted ePub almost every conversion comes out great. Of course crap in = crap out so it has to start with something good.
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