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.