Author Topic: Smashwords Year in Review and 2018 Predictions  (Read 1454 times)  

Offline ebooklaunch

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Smashwords Year in Review and 2018 Predictions
« on: January 03, 2018, 11:40:45 AM »
I always look forward to reading Mark's yearly review and prediction posts as he's got a pretty good insight into the industry:

Year in Review and 2018 preview: http://blog.smashwords.com/2017/12/smashwords-2017-year-in-review-and-2018.html

2018 Predictions for the Industry: http://blog.smashwords.com/2017/12/2018-book-industry-predictions.html

What do you think? What are your predictions?


Offline ilamont

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Re: Smashwords Year in Review and 2018 Predictions
« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2018, 12:55:34 PM »
I'm impressed that Smashwords is profitable and able to invest in new technology. Not many niche media platforms can make that claim.

The industry predictions post is more bitter about Amazon than in past years. E.g.,

Quote
Authors who now derive 100% of their sales from Amazon are no longer indie authors.  They're dependent authors.   I suppose we have indie authors and de-authors now.

Quote
At this point, it's clear that the publishing industry (I'm including everyone here - publishers, retailers, indies, myself and everyone else in the industry) has shown itself inept and incapable at organizing a cohesive, effective response to Amazon.  Instead, the industry complains about Amazon's dominance while continuing to surrender more independence to Amazon every day.

Quote
What most of these indies failed to realize, however, was that KU itself is a scam.  KU is an artificial construct designed to strip pricing power away from authors so Amazon can offer ever-lower prices to its customers.  In the long run, it's great for Amazon but not so great for authors.

KU steals visibility and sales opportunity from non-participating authors and hands it to participating authors.  KU participants are trampling their fellow indies. 

(Mark goes on to note that he blames Amazon for creating incentives that put authors in these positions.)

In my opinion, Mark's latest call for the government to break up Amazon is unlikely to happen in the near term, and not just because of which party controls the White House, Congress, and the Supreme Court. Bezos is careful not to go too far when it comes to steamrolling other platforms and players, thereby maintaining a semblance of "competition." And, while B&N and Apple and Walmart and others continue to sell millions of books every year, it will be difficult for the government to bring a successful antitrust suit against Amazon, as it has in the past against the AT&Ts and Standard Oils of the corporate world.

One prediction of Mark's that I would urge other KBoarders to pay attention to:

Quote
9.  Email list fatigue - One of the most powerful platform-building tools for indie authors is the private mailing list.  A lot of indie authors will see their email lists shrink this year as readers attempt to retake control of their inboxes.
 

The other thing that's contributing to email fatigue is the backlog of cheap or low-cost ebooks now on everyone's Kindle. Why subscribe to an author's fanclub or a free book list when there is this huge glut of interesting stuff already loaded onto people's Kindles?


Offline Jim Johnson

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Re: Smashwords Year in Review and 2018 Predictions
« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2018, 02:03:52 PM »
My annual reminder for why I don't use Smashwords.

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Re: Smashwords Year in Review and 2018 Predictions
« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2018, 02:16:09 PM »
My annual reminder for why I don't use Smashwords.

This.

Actually, I do use it. I even appreciate it, but I wish he'd put a sock into the Amazon hate spigot. Everyone knows I have no love for Amazon. I have no hate either. They're a company. Use whatever they offer where it seems fit.

As for the email thing, I could not disagree more. That sort of stuff is only said by people who don't know how to use lists effectively and don't understand the dynamics and all the different reasons why people are on lists and how you have to tailor the stuff you send to those reasons and how incredibly effective this can be.

Offline Annie B

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Re: Smashwords Year in Review and 2018 Predictions
« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2018, 02:23:33 PM »
My annual reminder for why I don't use Smashwords.

Yep, this.

Also, a bunch of his 2018 predictions still had 2017 as the date. Ha.  It's a broken record.

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Re: Smashwords Year in Review and 2018 Predictions
« Reply #5 on: January 03, 2018, 02:28:23 PM »
My annual reminder for why I don't use Smashwords.
This.

I'm glad it's not just me that feels that way after reading that.

Offline RBN

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Re: Smashwords Year in Review and 2018 Predictions
« Reply #6 on: January 03, 2018, 02:53:15 PM »
I've never cared for the hysterical tone of these missives, either, but much the same way I don't like many things Amazon does, I use the service insofar as it benefits me. The falling sky has never delayed their payments, and I like the coupons for handing out discrete discounts not subject to price matching.

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Offline Bookread

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Re: Smashwords Year in Review and 2018 Predictions
« Reply #7 on: January 03, 2018, 03:48:21 PM »
I love these posts.
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Offline Speaker-To-Animals

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Re: Smashwords Year in Review and 2018 Predictions
« Reply #8 on: January 03, 2018, 04:14:22 PM »
Prediction: Smashwords will enter 2019 with an interface that looks at least ten years out of date, a converter that lags far behind competitors like D2D, and bad customer service.

Prediction: Smashwords will blame all their problems on Amazon instead of updating their interface, replacing the meatgrinder with something modern like D2D, or improving customer service.

Offline kw3000

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Re: Smashwords Year in Review and 2018 Predictions
« Reply #9 on: January 03, 2018, 05:14:38 PM »
Quote
Authors who now derive 100% of their sales from Amazon are no longer indie authors.  They're dependent authors.   I suppose we have indie authors and de-authors now.

Well, that's just like...your opinion, man.

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Re: Smashwords Year in Review and 2018 Predictions
« Reply #10 on: January 04, 2018, 02:07:21 AM »
The other thing that's contributing to email fatigue is the backlog of cheap or low-cost ebooks now on everyone's Kindle. Why subscribe to an author's fanclub or a free book list when there is this huge glut of interesting stuff already loaded onto people's Kindles?

Not to mention the number of authors who are sending more and more emails to their mailing list and wearing out their tolerance.

But I'm still seeing a steady trickle of signups (to my Regency romance list, at any rate) which tells me that people are still keen to know when there's a new book out, or a freebie on offer. Since Amazon's follower emails are so unreliable, an author's mailing list is pretty much the only guaranteed way to find out about a new release.
 

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Offline ThomasDiehl

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Re: Smashwords Year in Review and 2018 Predictions
« Reply #11 on: January 04, 2018, 02:17:58 AM »
Prediction: Smashwords will enter 2019 with an interface that looks at least ten years out of date, a converter that lags far behind competitors like D2D, and bad customer service.
Ha, you lost! It's not out of date, it's just plain bad. This site is so hard to navigate and find anything at, I'm pretty sure it was never up to any date to begin with.

Though I am impressed with a platform this bad turning a profit, especially now there are better options for wide distribution readily available. So props for salesmanship to Coker!
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Offline Annie B

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Re: Smashwords Year in Review and 2018 Predictions
« Reply #12 on: January 04, 2018, 04:33:24 AM »
I'm not that surprised they are still around, though. Smashwords does two things that keep them viable (in terms of they make money, not viable in terms of I would bother using them personally anymore.) The lesser factor, imo, is that they offer the ability to make coupons.   The bigger factor is that they allow almost anything when it comes to book content. Want to write tentacle pr0n? Amazon will block it. Smashwords will sell it! Stuff like that. I know a few erotica writers who basically make bank just from Smashwords because there they are able to publish super niche fetish stuff that nowhere else will allow.  Same with text book authors who need to be able to offer a range of formats directly like PDFs etc.

However... for the bulk of authors, I don't think they offer much these days that you can't get better (coughD2Dcough) elsewhere. And Coker's rants are just blergh.

Offline Kessie Carroll

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Re: Smashwords Year in Review and 2018 Predictions
« Reply #13 on: January 04, 2018, 02:17:43 PM »
Prediction: Smashwords will enter 2019 with an interface that looks at least ten years out of date, a converter that lags far behind competitors like D2D, and bad customer service.

Prediction: Smashwords will blame all their problems on Amazon instead of updating their interface, replacing the meatgrinder with something modern like D2D, or improving customer service.

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Re: Smashwords Year in Review and 2018 Predictions
« Reply #14 on: January 04, 2018, 02:33:43 PM »
Yeah, Smashwords is the only place where I use the adult filter, because so much of the content is seriously gut-churning, with not just badly-made, but disgusting covers and content that's just like--wow. I think that's their financial engine. I think the coupons thing is very minor, especially with the advent of Bookfunnel. They also tend to display a lot of non-English titles, so maybe they have a good share in foreign language markets?

Offline Anarchist

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Re: Smashwords Year in Review and 2018 Predictions
« Reply #15 on: January 04, 2018, 02:39:02 PM »
From http://blog.smashwords.com/2017/12/2018-book-industry-predictions.html:

Quote
Prof. Scott Galloway of NYU has had some great insights into this problem of these too-powerful platforms.  He's been waging a lonely campaign in recent months calling for government intervention to break up these companies and restore fair competition.






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Offline Jena H

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Re: Smashwords Year in Review and 2018 Predictions
« Reply #16 on: January 04, 2018, 03:30:59 PM »
My annual reminder for why I don't use Smashwords.

At one point, a few years ago, I sold better on SW than I did on Amazon.  Now, only my free books ever get action over there.  Plus, if I update a book (like backmatter, for instance), I always forget to update the SW version.
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Offline notjohn

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Re: Smashwords Year in Review and 2018 Predictions
« Reply #17 on: January 05, 2018, 03:30:23 AM »
Quote
Authors who now derive 100% of their sales from Amazon are no longer indie authors.  They're dependent authors.   I suppose we have indie authors and de-authors now.

Well, that's certainly true, and one of the first intelligent things I've ever read by Mr Coker. Like most of us, I was on SW for a time, until I got sick of their awful formatting (that MeatGrinder!), the slow payments, the ugly website, and above all that cringe-worthy copyright statement once required (and I understand no longer so).

Kindle Select is a suicide pact whereby unaware authors hasten the day when Amazon has no competition and cuts us back to a 35 percent royalty (that's where we started, until Apple broke the mold) and probably a $99 a year fee to use the KDP platform, just as happened to the Amazon Advantage program. Jeff will not always be satisfied with milking advertising money from desperate authors.
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Re: Smashwords Year in Review and 2018 Predictions
« Reply #18 on: January 05, 2018, 03:44:27 AM »
More "the sky is falling!" nonsense. I have my own issues with Amazon, but they darn sure sell books for most of us. They took a chance, for whatever reason, to let people publish and sell their own work without a go-between. They're reaping the reward for that.

It's the fault of these other stores if they don't try to compete, or give us usable things, like author pages, good search engines, and the like. No one is forcing them to treat books like an afterthought. Heck, even Barnes & Noble isn't all that up on the latest book selling needs. Displaying copious amounts of ADS isn't going to change anything.
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Offline Jim Johnson

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Re: Smashwords Year in Review and 2018 Predictions
« Reply #19 on: January 05, 2018, 06:58:22 AM »
At one point, a few years ago, I sold better on SW than I did on Amazon.  Now, only my free books ever get action over there.  Plus, if I update a book (like backmatter, for instance), I always forget to update the SW version.

I just can't imagine supporting a business owner's site when he so consistently rails against the competition. Bezos said a long time ago "Complaining isn't a strategy." If we had more ebook retailers and distributor doing more to innovate and challenge Amazon, it'd be great. Coker has made inroads with some trad pub bastions, like Publishers Weekly, something I haven't seen Amazon do, and I bet he could leverage that into something if SW was updated for the 21st century and could be more competitive feature- and function-wise. But instead we get annual rants about Amazon sprinkled with a little good information.

Offline Speaker-To-Animals

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Re: Smashwords Year in Review and 2018 Predictions
« Reply #20 on: January 05, 2018, 09:24:46 AM »
Quote
Kindle Select is a suicide pact whereby unaware authors hasten the day when Amazon has no competition and cuts us back to a 35 percent royalty (that's where we started, until Apple broke the mold) and probably a $99 a year fee to use the KDP platform, just as happened to the Amazon Advantage program. Jeff will not always be satisfied with milking advertising money from desperate authors.

If the entire world of indie authors simply disappeared tomorrow, it would not make any difference to Amazon's bottom line nor would it make any difference to their ability to monopolize book sales.