Smashwords to Distribute to Mobile Apps


Raise your hands if you have a smart phone loaded with apps.

Now raise your hands if you have no idea what I’m talking about.

Smart phones, tablets and other devices are taking the world by storm, but I know a lot of people who don’t have one. My mother, for example. So I thought I’d take a minute and do a quick run down so that you can understand what Smashword’s new distribution agreement means for you as an author or reader.

Apps – short for applications – are like programs that run on your smart phone (such as the iphone or Android), on tablets (like the apple ipad) and other devices (I imagine all ereaders will  eventually be able to run these, too.) Applications are purchased through the marketplace, a “page” on the device (think like a web page), and they can be anything from wallpaper to ring tones, games, kitchen timers, movie players and yes, even books.

With Smashword’s new agreement with ScrollMotion, the Smashwords Premium catalog will now be available to purchase in the app marketplace – and as an author you don’t need to do anything to opt in. If you’re in the premium catalog already, it will be automatic. Of course, you can always opt out, if you want to. But, with authors getting 60% of the sale price, and with the potential to reach readers who are using Apple, Android, Windows Phone 7 and WebOS, why would you?

What’s it like to read a book on a phone? I read Stephannie Beman’s My Lord Hades using the Kindle app on mine, and it was okay. I wasn’t a huge fan (of reading on the phone, not of the book. I LOVED the book), so I bought a Kindle. But, I know people who not only read on their phones (Or on the much bigger ipads) but love it because their phone goes where they go – meaning their library is always with them, too, and they don’t have to buy an expensive, second device such as a nook or kindle.

However, books are expected to be delivered to the app marketplaces later this month, and I’m going to have to check it out. From what I understand, unlike the Kindle app, each book will be an individual application, meaning you will download and install each book without having to also install the program to read the book. Is that going to take up more of the precious phone space, or less? I’m not sure yet, but when they become available I intend to find out.   

You can read more about App ebook distribution on Smashword’s official blog, including all the numbers; how many people have these gadgets, how many are projected to buy these gadgets, etc.

11 thoughts on “Smashwords to Distribute to Mobile Apps

  1. Ruth Ann Nordin May 5, 2011 / 10:26 pm

    I don’t have a smart phone, but I have an ipod touch with a kindle app and have downloaded books via ibooks. I use my Kindle a lot more. I’m not a big fan of the small screen, but the ipod touch would be convenient if I was on the go somewhere. 😀

    And yay for Smashwords!

    • Joleene Naylor May 6, 2011 / 4:41 am

      I know some authors have been doing this themselves for awhile now, so I was happy to see Smashwords do it for us 😉

  2. Catana May 5, 2011 / 11:46 pm

    There’s been some discussion about this, particularly with reference to potential advertising revenue, since that’s apparently ScrossMotion’s focus. Personally, if it means having ads put in my books or in any way connected with them, I’ll opt out.

    • Sarah Ettritch May 6, 2011 / 2:38 am

      That’s interesting. Where is the discussion taking place? I could only find a blog post and a forum post, both by the same guy.

    • Joleene Naylor May 6, 2011 / 6:41 pm

      If they do put advertising in it that will have to be a personal choice every author makes. I for one have to admit I don’t mind advertising so long as it is not outlandish or cross purpose/inappropriate (like adult ads for children’s books!).

      To convert the books and store them, even digitally, costs resources, man power, electricity, time, money, etc. Advertisement revenues are usually what keep things free, so the fact that Smashwords has been able to let authors offer free books without advertising has been a constant source of amazement to me, considering their operating costs.

  3. Lauralynn Elliott May 6, 2011 / 1:35 am

    I have a friend who reads books EXCLUSIVELY on her Blackberry. So there’s definitely a market for it.

    • Joleene Naylor May 6, 2011 / 6:41 pm

      Exactly. I can think of at least five people off the top of my head who do, too, from their various devices.

  4. Ascension For You May 7, 2011 / 2:39 pm

    Hi ya Jo, thanks for the info. I think that the book apps on mobiles is going to be really huge market place. I saw other articles on a tech programme a while back (in the UK) and the anticipated figures mentioned were amazing. I am with you though , personally if i was reading something i would much prefer it on a larger type of screen…. just like watching a film on a big TV screen compared to laptop or portable device. That said, i can definately see the positives of it for a lot of people. The way tech is heading we’ll probably just end up with chips inside us…. microchips that is he he.

    • Joleene Naylor May 9, 2011 / 9:20 pm

      hee-hee, not potato chips? 😉

      My hubby used to watch tv on his phone, he still watches youtube videos that way and it drives me crazy. I like to see what I’m watching. Maybe I’m just going blind? 😉

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