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Smashwords/iPad

Discussion in 'iBooks' started by TH, Jul 23, 2010.

  1. TH
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    TH iPF Noob

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    Anyone been able to download the free sample books from Smashwords? A lot of them are DRM free and I was wondering if this cause any problems?
  2. iPadCharlie
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    iPadCharlie iPad Super Guru

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    The only problem I have with some of the stuff on Smashwords is that some of these author wanna-be's should not quit their day jobs!
  3. mossman
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    mossman iPF Novice

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    Of course when you venture into the realm of self publishing, the quality of the works will vary significantly. That can mean a lot of weak material. But there's a lot of strong stuff there as well. Personally, I think it's worth the risk to find a fresh author with interesting ideas. Mainstream publishing, while much better in terms of quality control and consistency, is often painfully short on original concepts and well developed characters. When I look at the New York Times bestseller list, I see very few books that I would have an interest in reading.

    Basically I see this as a product of the marketplace. As fewer people are reading, and those that read do so less often, fewer books are sold. Publishing houses are looking to make a profit, and they find themselves becoming ever more risk averse in order to place a product that the remaining readers will buy. What that means is publishing houses are relying on brand recognition of authors or concepts and then they ride those things to death. It's a similar phenomenon with movies with endless sequels. Mainstream publishing can produce a solid book, of course, but really tends to mire in mediocrity. This isn't new, but I think the dimensions of the market have made this situation more pronounced over the past decade.

    From a business point of view this is perfectly understandable; I would run a publishing house the same way if I was in charge. But as a reader whose tastes don't align with the mainstream (even though I'm not that far off), I find myself either looking to classical literature from before 1900 or to independent works.

    That's a risk, for sure. I'm quite proud of my own works, but even in my instance I'm a much stronger writer than self editor. I'm working on that, however, and I know many of my fellow independent writers are as well. If you can hang with some of us, those that show promise in the midst of a few blemishes, I promise you will be rewarded in the long run as we tighten our craft.

    In a sense, this is where the iPad can really make a fundamental difference. If reading goes up as a result of the device, the industry will loosen up and take more risks as the margin for error won't be so tight. In the meantime, a place like Smashwords may very well be producing the most interesting contemporary material out there. Granted, along with a lot of very weak material as well. But I'll take the Smashwords catalog over any mainstream publishing house that continues to cater to a constant rehash of the same stories.
  4. TH
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    TH iPF Noob

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    I agree with most of what you've said there, mossman. As an author who has been published by a small press, I have witnessed myself how these small publishing companies are taking a chance on publishing more niche novels - that gap left by the big publishing houses as they focus on what they hope will be blockbusters. And smashwords is a good place to find such material. The only thing is is that it's often difficult to see which books have been self-published and which have not. Maybe that should be clearer. Smashwords is not just a self-pub clearning house - it offers much more by smaller, Indie publishers. I hope this is a trend which will be explored by the iPad and its perhaps younger following.

    You are spot on with the editing thing too. Self-pubbed books are not so well edited - and a decent book so often comes together in the editing process. As my publisher is small the budget is there, but not for a big-shot editor. I have therefore learnt a lot about the editing proccess as I have been more involved than I would have if I'd been at a large publishing house - whose editors would probably not have been able to work so closely with me. If that makes sense?!
  5. Bremen
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    Bremen iPad Addict

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    Be sure to get ePubs.....They download to your computer, and you drag and drop into iBooks... (at least that's one way to do it) and they work fine.... no issues...

    As far as the quality of the reading material available there..... just like anything else, it is in the mind of the reader....
  6. davidhburton
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    davidhburton iPF Novice

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    Also, that's what samples are for, so you can determine the quality and level of interest for yourself. And that goes for small press/self pub/traditional pub. As far as I'm concerned, it's always a slush pile.
  7. Valmore Daniels
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    Valmore Daniels iPF Noob

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    There are some incredible authors on smashwords. Worth the risk to check out a few samples.
  8. ASparrow
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    ASparrow iPF Noob

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    Increasingly on Smashwords and other independent ebook outlets, mainstream authors are publishing their backlisted books, so it's a changing scene, no longer limited to hacks (like me), but includes books that have been vetted by actual publishers. I agree that there's a lot of dross posted that should never have been released (including one of my books), but there are jewels there worth searching for.
  9. iVan
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    iVan iPad Ninja

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    One thing that bugged me with SmashWords. After acquiring a book I received an email notice to evaluate the work... Can I have time to read it first?
  10. j0yful
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    j0yful iPad Addict

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    I love smash books! And they are so easy to download
  11. iPadCharlie
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    iPadCharlie iPad Super Guru

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    Interesting that you chose two of your own books for the graphic!
  12. Mary McDonald
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    Mary McDonald iPF Noob

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    It's possible the graphic was his signature file.
  13. iVan
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    iVan iPad Ninja

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    "incredible" should always be used with another epithet. By itself It gives no indication of good or bad, only of an extremity...:p
  14. DaringNovelist
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    DaringNovelist Guest

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    I read on my touch not an iPad (yet) so I'm not sure if this will help.

    What I found is that, if you read through Stanza, you just have to click on "add to library" rather than download a sample. If you haven't bought it, what appears in your library is the sample.

    As for the quality, yeah, there are both well published authors and complete clueless newbies on Smashwords. But you can often sort out the worst writers by how bad the book description is, and the rest you can sort out with the samples.

    Camille

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