Things are looking up for authors who distribute their ebooks through Smashwords and want to get them into libraries. Reports are coming in today that a handful of indie titles have escaped the self-published ghetto and are now listed in the main Over Drive catalog with all of the "regular" ebooks.
Ever since OverDrive started carrying titles distributed by Smashwords earlier this year, those works have been singled out for special treatment and have been locked away from the rest of OD's catalog. This makes the titles difficult for librarians to find, much less buy, and this has obviously impacted visibility and sales.
But as thereported today, that situation is slowly beginning to change.
We are now hearing from Smashwords-delivered indies that SOME of their titles are appearing in the main OverDrive catalogue. It’s not clear yet if this is the early stage of a full flood of indie titles and that OverDrive have opened the ghetto gates, or if these are hand-picked titles selected by Smashwords and that the rest of us are still consigned to the can.
At this time a search for Smashwords as publisher (which all Smashwords-delivered ebooks will carry even though Smashwords isn't our publisher) shows about 4,000 titles in the OverDrive store.
Out of 200,000.
That's not much of an improvement, but it's better than nothing.
If you're an indie author with titles at Smashwords, can you check your ebooks and see if they escaped the ghetto?
If your titles are still being singled out for the Smashwords treatment, and you want to get them into library collections, I would suggest that you consider a different distributor.
For example, the UK-based distributor Ebook Partnership has a contract with OverDrive, and any title sent through this distributor are included in the main OD catalog. Ebook Partnership charges an annual fee and not a commission, so the cost structure is different, but escaping Smashwords could be worth the hassle.
And frankly, I am beginning to feel more and more that indies would be better off avoiding Smashwords entirely. This issue with OverDrive is but the latest example of Smashwords dropping the ball. There's also things like SW continuing to identify itself as the publisher of the ebooks it distributes (this happens on Scribd and OverDrive) or the way SW only just changed their policies to no longer require that they be mentioned in the front matter.
I've also heard from some authors that titles distributed through SW have "the indie stench", to use a colorful phrase. I would tend to discount that claim (I also don't think indie ebooks stink), but given the ongoing issue with OverDrive, well ...
What do you think?
image by Editor B