Regulars here will know I’m dedicated to a diverse and healthy global ebook market, and for that reason alone I would continue to support stores like Smashwords even if they had very little to offer.
But Smashwords has lately shown, after a faltering step with the Flipkart debacle (which as it happens matters not, as Flipkart has now formally closed its ebook store) that it very much still in the game, and slowly but surely grasping the global nettle.
This past week Smashwords announced three new partners that, in Mark Coker’s own words,
“further expand the reach of the Smashwords ebook distribution network in the US, Europe and South America.” (LINK)
Actually, Mark, it does even better than that, encompassing S.E. Asia as well. More on that below.
But first, the bad news. Smashwords erotica authors need not apply. Yet again the Smashwords partner stores have followed the example of OverDrive, Flipkart and Gardners and said “No thanks” to Smashwords erotica, while all happily distributing erotica titles from other aggregators.
There’s a message there for you, Mark Coker.
But let’s stick with the good news.
How good? Well that depends on which other aggregators we use alongside Smashwords.
Let’s start with the Tolino deal.
The Tolino Alliance is, put simply a bunch of ebook stores centred in Germany (but active in neighbouring countries) that collectively packs a punch comparable to Amazon’s Kindle Germany store.
Depending on which stats you want to believe, Tolino is slightly bigger or slightly smaller than Kindle Germany.
ither way, it’s well worth making the effort for, and not only if we have German-language translations available. Germany is a major English-language market too.
If the only aggregator we use is Smashwords then this a great new addition, and will further our reach across western and central Europe.
But if we use Draft2Digital, StreetLib, PublishDrive or XinXii we’re probably already enjoying the benefits of distribution to Tolino. Smashwords is late to the game on this one.
No matter. It’s great to have even more indie titles flowing into the Tolino stores.
Let’s take a look at Yuzu next.
Those of us involved in the higher education sector in the USA may have heard of Yuzu, as the store is, in Mark Coker’s words,
“the digital education platform and retailer operated by Barnes & Noble College, which operates 743 college bookstores serving 5 million college students and faculty members.”
But it’s not all text books and academia.
“The agreement will make it easier for a wide range of Smashwords Premium Catalog books to be assigned for classroom use by educators,” says Coker, adding “Students can also purchase Smashwords titles for their own enjoyment outside of the classroom in the Yuzu eBook store.”
Well, we’ll have to see how that pans out. Over at The Digital Reader Nate Hoffelder is not impressed, dismissing Yuzu as a “failed” store. Yuzu is
“still only half functional, making this a platform you should avoid if at all possible unless you want to cause more grief for students.”
Nate’s words. (LINK) Not mine. I’ve no familiarity with the store, so am diplomatically reserving judgment.
Besides, higher education is not a sector I have any plans to write towards, but never say never.
But while I’m mildly indifferent to the deal with Yuzu, I’m delighted to see the deal with Odilo.
As Mark Coker says,
“Odilo is a leading ebook supplier to over 2,100 public libraries in 43 countries across Europe (1,000 libraries), Latin America (1,000 libraries) and North America (100 libraries). In October, they announced a deal with the ministry of culture in Spain to provide ebook services to over 15 million library card holders in Spain. The company is also running preliminary pilots to expand into Australia and New Zealand.”
But it gets better. Mark Coker obviously hadn’t checked the Odilo news feed or he could have added 180 libraries in the Philippines to that list. (LINK)
The Philippines is one of my priority countries for 2016, so this deal is especially welcome.
Kobo gets our titles into the Philippines (National Book Store), and so does Google Play and eSentral, but neither Amazon nor Apple are there, so this new access point to Filipino readers is a great asset.
“About 40% of Odilo’s ebook sales are books in English, 40% Spanish, 15% French and 5% German.”
40% Spanish sounds good to me! I’m already delighted with the way my Spanish translations are taking hold across Latin America, and Odilo will hopefully help find me a lot more readers both in Latin America and in Spain as the new deal with Spanish libraries takes effect.
Last year (2014-15) Smashwords reported ebook sales worth $25 million. By 2016-17 that figure could be much higher as these new stores start bringing in revenue for Smashwords and its authors.
As we begin the second half of this decade Smashwords is shaping up to be a truly global player in the aggregator field.
And just as the new globile (global mobile) reality is beginning to strike home.
Reading the industry blogs over the past six months it’s hard to find any credible commentators not now talking about the globile future. Even JK Rowling’s Pottermore is at it!
The future is globile!
# # #