2014 was a big year for Smashwords, the e-book self-publishing platform founded by Mark Coker. The number of titles available via Smashwords grew to more than 300,000 titles, the site now distributes more than 100,000 authors and indie presses. Last year also marked the company's fourth year in a row of profitability.
In his annual report on the Smashwords blog, Coker outlined a long list of accomplishments and growth at the self-publishing vendor. In 2014 the site grew from about 83,000 authors and indie presses (Smashwords distributes both individual authors and small presses on a global basis) to 101,300; the number of titles available grew 22% to 336,400 and the company made three hires for a total of 26 employees.
Coker was particularly proud of Smashwords' fourth year in a row of profitability, noting that “profitability is important to our authors and publishers because it allows us to reinvest in the development of new tools and capabilities to serve our authors and publishers.” Coker emphasized that “we don’t employ sales people and we don’t sell services or publishing packages. We only make money if we help our authors and publishers sell books.”
In addition, Coker noted that in 2014 Smashwords added new distribution channels, among them OverDrive, Txtr, Oyster, and Scribd; the vendor offers faster distribution to its retail channels (including multiple daily shipments and “near-real time” or same-day uploads to iBooks); and added support for ePub 3, which includes new language support and layout options. Coker also cited faster sales reporting, including a “daily sales tool which provides next-day and same-day sales reporting from iBooks, B&N, OverDrive and Kobo.”
Coker noted that the growing diversification of Smashwords distribution channels helped its author deal with “an industry-wide slowdown in e-book retailing.” Coker claims that Smashwords authors were “partially insulated from the damatic sales drops many Amazon authors reported following the introduction of Kindle Unlimited.”
Looking at 2015, Corker said to look for more distribution and merchandising tools; an upgraded “Meatgrinder,” Smashwords' conversion tool; new price management tools; and new retailers and libraries to its distribution network.