31 Jul 2013

Smashwords.com CEO Mark Coker Interview - TeleRead

Mark Coker:

When we launched Smashwords in early 2008, our platform made it easy to publish and sell an eBook in our own store. We never planned to become a distributor.

In early 2009, however, I had an epiphany. Our small store was an island. Readers were going to bookstores to find their next read, so we needed to get our books into the major online eBook stores.

I studied the landscape and was impressed by the example of Ingram, which was the leading distributor of print books to retailers.

By efficiently managing the distribution and fulfillment logistics for print books, they were offering an incredibly valuable service to publishers, retailers and readers alike.

So I got the crazy idea to make Smashwords the Ingram of self-published ebooks. It was clear at the time that self-published eBook authors were unable to reach the major retailers. Only Amazon had a viable platform for indies.

By the end of 2009, we signed our first distribution deals with Barnes & Noble, Sony and Kobo. In early 2010, we became one of Apple’s first authorized aggregators.
Today, over 90% of our sales come from our distribution network, and it’s where we’ve placed 95% of our development effort over the last four years.....