On Friday we quadrupled the ebook conversion capacity of the Smashwords Meatgrinder.
Lately, the queue time has been running 30 hours from upload to conversion completion. That's unacceptable. Two years ago, it was 5-10 minutes.
Today, we're back to near-instant conversions. Upload a book formatted to the Smashwords Style Guide and watch Meatgrinder convert your book in real-time to multiple ebook formats. No other ebook publishing platform offers such rapid publishing and updating.
We now have the architecture in place to scale our capacity further as volume warrants.
The long queues were caused by an influx of new books, as well as an increase in regrinds from authors and publishers upgrading their books with improved formatting and navigation.
In addition to the increased throughput, we've made multiple improvements over the last few weeks to Meatgrinder's NCX generation for EPUB. EPUB is the format used by our retail distribution partners Apple, Barnes & Noble, Sony, Kobo and the Diesel eBook Store.
NCX stands for Navigation Control file for XML. Think of the NCX as a meta-Table-of-Contents, since the file and the navigation actually reside outside the book, but point back into it (What you know as an EPUB file is really a zipped combination of multiple files of which the .NCX is only one). A well-formed NCX adds useful navigation for your reader. See Step 20 in the Smashwords Style Guide for more on how to construct an NCX and linked Table of Contents at Smashwords.