If 2012 was the year of anything, it was not the year of the E-Single but the year of the Self-Published Author. We can see that fact in the recent moves by Penguin and Simon & Schuster to fleece this group by buying Author Solutions and partnering with said scammer, in the growing number of self-published books to hit the NYTimes best seller list, and in the increasing number of self-published books which have been picked up by the legacy press.
We can also see that 2012 is the year of the self-published author in the continued growth of Smashwords. This ebook distributor posted record gains this past year, and has maintained their position as the leading distributor of independent authors and publishers.
On Monday Mark Coker posted his annual year in review post, and he revealed that Smashwords was now carrying over 190 thousand titles from 58,800 clients (both authors and small publishers). That’s nearly double the number of titles carried by Smashwords at the end of 2011.
In other news, Smashwords reported their 27th month of profitability, earning 15 million in ebook sales in 2012. That’s more than double income from 2011, and SW is also expecting to show over a million dollars in profit from the 2012 sales. And what’s nearly as good as an ebook sold is a devoted reader who finds an author via a free ebook. Mark has noted that “Smashwords authors are generating about 3 million downloads at the Apple iBookstore each month” just for the titles which they are giving away.
Last year SW added several new distribution channels, including library platforms Axis 360, 3M Cloud Library, and they even set up a new purchasing channel for libraries pursuing the self-hosted model championed by Douglas County. They also added a new option to allow for authors to submit an Epub, thus bypassing Smashwords free automated conversion services, the MeatGrinder.