Wednesday, February 14, 2024

15th Annual Smashwords Read an Ebook Week Sale Begins March 3rd

Clear your calendar and save the dates!

The 15th annual Smashwords Read an Ebook Week sale kicks off Sunday, March 3rd and runs through Saturday, March 9th.

Read an Ebook Week is the world's longest-running global celebration of ebooks and the readers who love them.  

For one week only, thousands of the world's most popular indie authors will show their appreciation to readers by offering exclusive deep discounts on over 100,000 participating titles.  Discount levels are 25%, 50%, 75%, and 100% (free!)

Read an Ebook Week was the original super sale at Smashwords.  It inspired our other major super sale traditions, the Smashwords July Summer/Winter Sale and the Smashwords End of Year Sale.

The creator of Read an Ebook Week, Rita Toews, is a long time Smashwords author.  You can find an interview I did back in 2012 with Rita at the Huffington Post here.

Back in 2022, Rita transferred leadership of Read an Ebook Week over to Smashwords so she could focus on a serious health issue. We're pleased to share, with Rita's permission, that she has confounded her doctors and is doing much better than expected. But she's not out of the woods. Rita says she would appreciate positive healing thoughts and prayers from her Smashwords community of authors and readers.

Authors and Publishers: Enroll Now

Smashwords authors and publishers can visit the sale enrollment page to add their books to the sale.  Authors and publishers who distribute to the Smashwords store via Draft2Digital can enroll from their Draft2Digital dashboard before February 29.

Visit our official Read an Ebook Week event page for official branded graphics you can download to celebrate your participation with your friends on social media.

Celebrate the Love

When you discover great deals your friends would enjoy, please do the author a favor and share a hyperlink to their book on social media so your friends can get in on the same great deal while it lasts.

Enjoy, and please tell a friend!

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Seventh Annual Smashwords End of Year Sale Begins December 15

Mark your calendars!   The annual Smashwords End of Year Sale kicks off December 15 and runs through January 1, 2024.

Enrollment is now open for Smashwords authors at  For authors who distribute to Smashwords via Draft2Digital, the enrollment period opens on or before December 1, and closes December 13.

Now in its seventh year, this Smashwords End of Year Sale promises to be one of our largest sales ever.  

If you're new to Smashwords supersales, either as an author or reader, you're in for a treat. Tens of thousands of incredible indie authors and publishers from around the globe will join together in this collaborative marketing event to celebrate indie ebooks the readers who read them.

For last year’s Smashwords End of Year Sale, the first to be open to all Draft2Digital authors following our merger with Draft2Digital in March 2022, a whopping 161,000 books participated.  This was an all-time record, up from 104,000 the year before.

At a time when other retailers are trying to find ways to pay authors less, or charge for advertising tools, or require exclusivity to gain access to best selling opportunities, Smashwords has always worked differently.  We look for opportunities to help authors sell more and earn more, and all without exclusivity.  This sale is open to all authors and publishers that distribute wide with Draft2Digital.

We pay authors and publishers up to 80% of list price or more when the customer's cart total is over $9.00.  Not only do we believe that authors and publishers deserve the largest possible cut of their sales, we also believe that higher royalties benefit readers.  High royalties enable authors and publishers to earn more while selling their books at affordable prices, a win/win for authors and readers alike.

Celebrate Your Participation!

All readers and authors are invited to celebrate their participation in the Smashwords End of Year Sale with these shareable images, perfectly sized for your favorite social media platforms.  Or use them on your website, blog, or private author newsletter.  Click the image to expand it to its full size.  We added more images on 11/21/23!


New Additions 11/21/23!

Enjoy, and please invite your author and reader friends to join the sale too!

Thursday, February 9, 2023

Draft2Digital to Distribute 500,000 Indie eBooks to Palace Marketplace, a Digital Content Marketplace for Libraries

Palace Marketplace logo
Smashwords and Draft2Digital today announced a library distribution agreement with The Palace Project, operators of the Palace Marketplace.  Palace Marketplace is used by librarians to acquire ebooks and audiobooks.

The Palace Project is a not-for-profit joint venture between Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) and Lyrasis.  Major funding for The Palace Project has been provided by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

Starting on February 14, the first of an anticipated 500,000 ebook titles from Smashwords and Draft2Digital will begin appearing in Palace Marketplace, available for purchase by libraries.  More than 50,000 of these ebooks, including many popular series starters, are priced at free.

Public library interest in independently published content has grown significantly in recent years.  This growth has been fueled by patron demand as indie authors scale international bestseller lists and capture an ever-greater share of the book market. 

The Palace Project views independently published books as strategically important to its mission of boosting equitable access to a greater diversity of digital content for library patrons.

DPLA logo
To make it easier for libraries to quickly build their collections of high-quality indie ebooks, DPLA is developing curated, recommended buy-lists within Palace Marketplace.  These thematic collections, created by librarians for librarians, are assembled by professional librarian members of the “DPLA Curation Corps.

One of the big challenges The Palace Project seeks to solve is simplifying patron access to a library’s disparate ebook collections.  Libraries often acquire their digital content from multiple suppliers.  These suppliers include many of the same library platforms – such as OverDrive, Baker & Taylor Axis 360 and Bibliotheca cloudLibrary – that Draft2Digital also supplies.

The content purchased from these different platforms invariably becomes locked in silos that require patrons to use different apps and interfaces to access the collections.  There’s no unified patron access.  That is, until now.

To solve this problem, The Palace Project developed the Palace App.  The Palace App, available for free download by library patrons for both iOS and Android devices (find it in your app store under the name, "The Palace Project"), aggregates patron access to their local library system’s formerly disparate digital collections.  From this one Palace App, patrons can search for, check out, and read titles.

The Palace App was introduced in June 2022 and is experiencing rapid adoption by public libraries across the country.  More than 400 library systems, including several state-wide systems from California to Connecticut, have already signed on to integrate the Palace App into their collections management systems. 

Already, news of the deal is generating industry excitement.  Earlier this morning Publishers Weekly covered the news -  Palace Project, Draft2Digital Strike Deal to Offer Indie E-books to Libraries - with additional details about Palace Marketplace and DPLA's excitement to bring more indie ebooks to public libraries.

How Indies Can Distribute to Palace Marketplace

Authors who publish with either Smashwords or Draft2Digital can now take immediate advantage of this new library distribution opportunity.

Like other library platforms, Palace Marketplace accepts most categories of books except erotica.  Books sold through Palace Marketplace are licensed as one checkout at a time, and will be distributed to US public libraries only. 

Draft2Digital authors will earn 60% of their library ebook list price, a significant improvement over other library checkout platforms.

For Smashwords Authors:   As defined in the Smashwords Terms of Service, all eligible Smashwords authors and publishers will receive automatic distribution to The Palace Project unless they’ve previously disabled automatic opt-ins from their Dashboard’s Channel Manager tool. Smashwords authors who choose not to distribute to The Palace Project can opt out any time in the next seven days before titles go live, or any time thereafter.

For Draft2Digital Authors:  As is standard practice at Draft2Digital, authors and publishers must affirmatively opt in to Palace Marketplace to achieve distribution.  The opt in is available starting today from the Draft2Digital dashboard.

Author Marketing Tips

All books distributed to Palace Marketplace will be discoverable for individual purchase by libraries.

To help drive library sales of your books, encourage your American readers to seek out your books at their local public library.  

To help support the widespread adoption of Palace App, which makes your books more accessible to patrons whether they libraries purchase from Palace Marketplace or another library platform supplied by Smashwords and Draft2Digital, encourage readers to ask their local library this simple question: “Do you support the Palace App yet?” 

For additional ideas on how indie authors can market their ebooks to public libraries, check out episode 6 of the Smart Author Podcast (21 minutes).


Saturday, December 31, 2022

Smashwords 2022 Year in Review and 2023 Preview

Welcome to my annual Smashwords 2022 year in review and 2023 preview.

2022 was a pivotal year for Smashwords, our authors, our publishers, and our readers.

For those who haven’t heard, Smashwords was acquired in March by our former competitor, Draft2Digital.

When I founded Smashwords 15 years ago, I set out on a crazy mission to change the way books were published, marketed, and sold.  I wanted to publish authors that traditional publishers refused to publish, in a format (ebooks) that few readers were reading, and I wanted to offer this service at no cost to every writer in the world.  And I wanted to do this without venture capital backing.

Traditional publishers were unable and disinterested to say yes to every author.  We said yes.

We developed professional publishing tools any writer could use at no cost, and we opened distribution to major retailers and library platforms that were previously inaccessible to self-published authors.  In partnership with our authors and readers, together we pioneered many of the essential best practices for digital bookselling.

Most importantly, in everything we did, we always fought to give authors higher royalties, more independence, and greater opportunities to reach readers.  We've always believed that indie authors deserve complete control over their rights, publishing, distribution, pricing, and promotion.  And we believe an author's chosen publisher deserves those freedoms as well.

From day one, as embodied in our original tag line, “your book, your way,” we believed that writers should have the freedom to publish what they want, and readers should have the freedom to read what they want.

This core philosophy of ours marked a radical departure from the old thinking that believed only traditional publishers and their gatekeepers had the wisdom to decide which books were worthy of being read by readers.

This authors-first, readers-first philosophy remains remarkably rare among publishers and publishing service providers today.  Sure, many players pay lip service to this philosophy, but few deliver.  One company that embraced our model and improved upon it better than anyone was Draft2Digital.

At the risk of sounding gushy, I think our first nine months as a combined company have gone extremely well.  We share the same relentless commitment to put authors and readers first.

I think this is why our two companies and teams have meshed so well together.  We each strengthened the other with new approaches and new perspectives to achieve our shared mission.

Our union is already bearing synergistic fruit for the collective benefit of our authors, publishers, readers, retailers, and library partners.  And we’ve barely scratched the surface of what we’ll deliver for our constituents in 2023 and beyond.

As part of our business combination, I happily traded in my old CEO hat for a new role as Draft2Digital’s Chief Strategy Officer and board member.  FWIW, I think Kris Austin, Draft2Digital’s co-founder and CEO, is a much better CEO.  I think the entire team at Draft2Digital is awesome.  They respect and admire authors as we always have.

Much of my time over the last nine months has focused on developing plans for how we can create ever-brighter futures for indie authors, publishers, and readers.  I’m attacking this challenge with the same enthusiasm that inspired me to begin drafting the original Smashwords business plan back in 2005.  If you thought Smashwords 1.0 set the stage for the indie author revolution, then wait for what’s in store with Draft2Digital 2.0.  The best is yet to come as we work to place authors and readers at the center of publishing universe.

My other role here at Draft2Digital is overseeing the Smashwords store.  As we previously announced at the merger, the first phase of our merger was to make it possible for Draft2Digital authors to distribute their books into the Smashwords Store. We successfully completed that first phase on December 6.

Considering this is the Smashwords blog, my future blogging here and my annual end-of-year reviews and look-aheads will become more store-centric.  To follow what’s happening at our parent company, please subscribe to the Draft2Digital blog.

This is the first year in almost forever that I won’t be doing my annual predictions post and its “state of the indie nation” preamble.  I’m redirecting that crystal ball energy into my other aforementioned responsibilities.  

For the authors who looked forward to those posts each year and feel saddened by their end, I encourage you to revisit the prior posts, starting with last year's 2022 publishing predictions. You'll also find links there to all my prior predictions posts and preambles.  There's still much evergreen gold to be mined by authors seeking to navigate the confusing and turbulent cross currents of this industry.

So now to the summary of Smashwords milestones for 2022 and our plans for 2023.

2022 Milestones

  • Smashwords Store – The Smashwords store achieved all-time record sales, turning in its sixth consecutive year of increased sales.  During this same stretch to time, many other retailers have seen their ebook sales flat line or decline.  Thank you authors and readers!

  • Books listed in the Smashwords Store – We now list 731,100 ebooks, up 24% from 590,200 at the end of 2021.

  • Words represented – We now carry 27.2 billion words, up 31% from 20.8 billion words a year ago.

  • Authors represented – We now carry the books of 192,100 authors, up 20% from 160,568 a year ago.

  • Merger completion - We announced Draft2Digital’s acquisition of Smashwords in February, and completed it on March 1.

  • Completed Phase 1 of our merger integration - The first priority we set was to open the Smashwords store to the books of D2D authors.  This was completed December 6 thanks to amazing teamwork and effort at all levels of the company.  More than 120,000 Draft2Digital books have already arrived at the Smashwords store, with more flowing in each week

  • Opened the Smashwords End of Year Sale to Draft2Digital authors - This was the first time we allowed books from another distributor to participate in one of our annual site-wide super sales.  This allowed us to grow sale enrollment to 125,000 books, nearly twice our previous all-time record enrollment set during our July Summer/Winter sale earlier this year.  More books means more readers and happier readers for benefit of all our authors.

  • Achieved record December sales volume - As I write this on New Year's Eve, the Smashwords store achieved the highest monthly sales volume in its 15-year history.  If you're not yet distributing your ebooks to Smashwords, please join us by opening a Draft2Digital account today!

What’s coming to the Smashwords store in 2023

  • Phase 2 merger completion – In phase 2 of our merger integration, which we expect to complete in the first half of 2023, Draft2Digital will migrate Smashwords’ industry-leading book marketing tools – including Smashwords Coupons, Smashwords Presales, and Smashwords Interviews – over to the Draft2Digital dashboard.  Once these features become available at Draft2Digital, we’ll initiate phase 3.

  • Phase 3 merger completion – In phase 3 of our merger integration, anticipated for completion in the second half of 2023, we’ll migrate all Smashwords publishing and distribution operations over to Draft2Digital.  Ahead of this, likely in January or February 2023, we will stop accepting new author/publisher accounts at Smashwords.  Instead, we will direct new authors and publishers who want to sell in the Smashwords store to publish directly at Draft2Digital.  Current Smashwords authors and publishers can continue managing their publishing and distribution through their Smashwords Dashboard until Phase 3, at which point your publishing-related tools and interfaces will begin moving to Draft2Digital.

  • A better store-like shopping experience – After we migrate Smashwords publishing tools and operations over to Draft2Digital, we’ll remove those tools and their associated interfaces and documentation from the Smashwords website.  This will give customers of the Smashwords store a cleaner, more intuitive book discovery experience.

  • Preorders – Smashwords has been distributing preorders to other retailers since 2013, but we’ve never allowed customers to place preorders in our own store.  Last year I said we’d bring preorders to the Smashwords store in 2022.  I was wrong.  As we were nearing completion of this exciting project in early ‘22, the merger happened.  Now we’re aiming to complete this in late 2023.

  • Broader ebook selection – Now that we’ve opened the store to Draft2Digital, look for an ever-expanding selection of great books in 2023.

  • Opening the store to other distributors - By late 2023, we’ll take steps to begin opening the store to other ebook distributors and to larger DRM-free ONIX-capable publishers too.  This is all with an eye toward offering our store’s customers an even greater selection and diversity of titles in 2024 and beyond.

  • New blockbuster sales events – Smashwords is famous for our collaborative sales events, where tens of thousands of authors join together to show their appreciation to readers by offering exclusive deep-discounts, and to promote their fellow authors.  Look for us to introduce one or two new annual sales events in 2023.  Whereas our current site-wide sales include all genres and categories, these new super sales will be thematic.  To start, I’d like to do one focused exclusively on erotica, and another focused on romance. If the new thematic sales gain the traction I expect, look for additional thematic site-wide sales in 2024. These new events are sure to become popular traditions right alongside our 14th annual Read an Ebook Week Sale coming March '23, our 15th annual Smashwords July Summer/Winter Sale coming in July '23, and of course our 7th annual Smashwords End of Year Sale next December '23. 

  • More library distribution – With the completion of Phase 3 above, Smashwords will no longer serve as a distributor to retailers and library platforms.  But ahead of Phase 3, Smashwords authors and publishers can look forward to a new, exciting library distribution opportunity we plan to announce sometime in the first quarter of 2023.  It’s a new partner we’ve been working with behind the scenes since before the merger. We look forward to introducing you to them!  Authors that publish at Draft2Digital will have access to this new partner as well.

In closing, I want to give my heartfelt thanks to everyone who has supported our crazy startup over the last 15 years.  This includes current and former Smashwords team members; authors; publishers; readers; retailers; library partners; business partners; media; conference organizers; competitors; and industry supporters, mentors, critics, doubters, haters, and naysayers.  You made us stronger and more successful, and set the stage for the positive innovations yet to come.  My love and appreciation to you all!  

With your continued support and partnership, there’s no limit to what we can achieve for authors, publishers, readers, and the culture of books.

On behalf of all of us at Draft2Digital, we wish you a joyous New Year’s celebration and fabulous 2023.

Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Draft2Digital Authors Can Now Distribute to the Smashwords Store

After nine months of intense development effort, over 100,000 authors and publishers at Draft2Digital can now distribute their 300,000 ebooks into the Smashwords store.

The news comes in time for these authors to participate in the 6th annual Smashwords End of Year sale, which promises to be our biggest ever.  The sale kicks off December 15 and runs through January 1.

This important milestone marks the successful completion of the first phase of a three-phase roadmap following Draft2Digital's acquisition of Smashwords which completed in March of this year.  

It's the first step in a dramatic transformation to come.

In phase 2, during the first half of 2023, we'll port Smashwords' industry-leading book marketing tools over to Draft2Digital, and in phase 3, scheduled for the second half of the year, we'll migrate all Smashwords authors and publishers over to Draft2Digital.

The completion of phase 3 will transform Smashwords from a primarily author-facing site into an a reader-facing store front.  It will allow us to create a cleaner, simpler, and more enjoyable bookstore experience for readers. 

This is also the first time that Smashwords has allowed the books from other distributors into our store.  It won't be the last.  Later in 2023 we hope to open the store to other other ONIX-capable distributors and publishers of DRM-free ebooks.

As new books and authors flow into the store, they bring with them more readers who can then discover our already-amazing selection of 600,000 and growing independently published ebooks.

The Smashwords store is on track to close out 2022 with our sixth consecutive year of sales growth.  It's an impressive testament to the quality, diversity, and desirability of independently published ebooks.

You can read the full announcement over at the Draft2Digital blog.

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Sixth Annual Smashwords End of Year Sale Begins December 15

The sixth annual Smashwords End of Year Sale kicks off December 15 and will run through January 1. 

Enrollment is now open for Smashwords authors at

Over the last 15 years at Smashwords, our site-wide sales have become popular annual traditions for readers and authors alike.  

These sales are collaborative author marketing events.  Thousands of indie authors and publishers join to promote these massive sales that routinely include 50,000 or more exclusive deals on deep-discounted titles, and that's not including the over 80,000 ebooks priced everyday at free.

This sixth year of the Smashwords End of Year Sale promises to be our largest  EOY sale ever.  It will be the first time indie ebooks from Draft2Digital authors and publishers will join the sale. 

Draft2Digital authors will be able to enroll in the sale starting around December 6.  This means thousands of new authors will have the opportunity to contribute tens of thousands of additional titles to the delight of Smashwords customers.  

It's quite common for Smashwords customers to stuff their shopping carts with hundreds of dollars worth of deep-discounted titles during these sales.  Since Smashwords authors earn 80% or more of the list price as their royalty for customer cart sizes over $9, it means even 99-cent ebooks often earn 80% list during these sales, as do higher-priced books.

Enjoy, and please invite your author and reader friends to join the sale too!

Shareable Images

Authors and readers can use these shareable images across social media to celebrate their participation in the Smashwords End of Year Sale.

Tuesday, February 8, 2022

Draft2Digital to Acquire Smashwords

Dear Friends of Smashwords,

This letter isn't a goodbye; it's a new hello.

Today we announced that Draft2Digital is acquiring Smashwords. We're joining together to do more for authors, publishers, and readers.

Fourteen years ago when I created Smashwords, I set out on a crazy mission to change the way books were published, marketed, and sold.

I wanted to empower every writer in the world with free tools to self-publish ebooks with pride, professionalism, and success. I wanted to give readers the freedom to enjoy the wonderful diversity of indie-published titles that I knew our publishing platform could help unleash.

Thanks to your trust and partnership, today 150,000 authors and publishers around the world use Smashwords to publish almost 600,000 ebooks. Nearly $200 million worth of Smashwords ebooks have been purchased at retail, and over $110 million paid out to authors and publishers.  Many of our authors - authors who once couldn't get the time of day from agents and traditional publishers - became international bestsellers topping all the bestseller lists.  The books published by Smashwords authors enriched the lives of authors and readers and inspired a new generation of tomorrow's writers.

The impact of our little startup reached far beyond the numbers.  As a friend of Smashwords, you've been part of something really important.

Yet fourteen years later, I still feel like our mission is just getting started.

I'm super-excited about this combination with Draft2Digital, and I’m looking forward to broadening our mission in the service of authors, publishers, booksellers, readers, and books.

No, this acquisition doesn’t mean I’m running off to buy an island in the Caribbean. This will be an all-stock combination, meaning no money is changing hands. I’m investing our entire company into the new Draft2Digital, and together we’ll lead the next chapter of the indie publishing revolution.

Below you'll find our official press release and a detailed FAQ about the acquisition, which is expected to close on or about March 1.

If you have any questions about the acquisition, I invite you to attend a live online Q&A that I'm doing Wednesday with Kris Austin, Draft2Digital CEO.  The live event will be recorded in case you miss it.  You'll find details on how to attend in the press release below.

Thank you for your trust and partnership these last fourteen years. On behalf of the entire Smashwords team, we look forward to working with you in 2022 and beyond!

Best wishes,

Mark Coker

P.S. The press release and FAQ follow.

The Official Press Release


Draft2Digital to Acquire Smashwords, Creating
Self-Publishing Juggernaut


Combined Company will Publish and Distribute 800,000+ Titles from 250,000 Authors and Publishers


February 8, 2022—OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. and PACIFIC GROVE, Calif.—Draft2Digital, LLC and Smashwords, Inc., two pioneers in ebook self-publishing, today announced that Draft2Digital will acquire Smashwords. The acquisition unites the industry’s two most innovative and author-friendly publishing platforms into one, enabling the new Draft2Digital to drive even greater success for authors, publishers, and sales partners.

Draft2Digital and Smashwords are key catalysts behind the dramatic rise of self-publishing over the last fourteen years. Their publishing platforms enable 250,000 authors and publishers around the world to publish, distribute, market, and manage over 800,000 ebooks and 11,000 print on demand paperback books.

The combined company will operate under the Draft2Digital name and will be headquartered in Oklahoma City. All Smashwords and Draft2Digital employees are expected to join the combination.

Kris Austin, co-founder and CEO of Draft2Digital, will lead the combined company as CEO. Mark Coker, founder and former CEO of Smashwords, will join the Draft2Digital management team as Chief Strategy Officer and board member.

Both companies are entering the acquisition profitable and debt-free.

“I’m pleased to welcome Smashwords authors, publishers, employees and partners to the D2D family,” said Kris Austin. “Early in our discussions with Smashwords, we each immediately realized we can accomplish so much more for the indie author community by working together than working as competitors. The resources we once expended creating duplicative systems can now be redeployed to ramp up our R&D investments in next generation tools to empower authors and publishers.”

“I’m thrilled to join forces with Draft2Digital,” said Mark Coker. “Over the last decade, I’ve come to deeply admire Draft2Digital’s team, technology, and commitment to authors. Our shared business model is a key to our two companies’ success. We put authors first. By design, we only make money when our authors make money. This aligns our interests with the interests of our authors. Together we will lead the next chapter of the indie author revolution.”

The combination is expected to yield significant benefits for authors, publishers, retail and library partners, and readers.

·         Draft2Digital authors will gain access to the Smashwords Store and its myriad exclusive book marketing tools, including Smashwords Coupons, self-serve merchandising, Author Interviews, and the patent pending Smashwords Presales tool for book launches. Sales at the Smashwords Store have grown consecutively each of the last five years, with December 2021 sales up 20% over December 2020. Draft2Digital’s erotica authors can look forward to expanded distribution enabled by Smashwords’ proprietary erotica certification system, which allows retailers to carry erotic romance and mainstream erotica with greater confidence.

·         Smashwords authors will gain access to new tools that simplify print and digital publishing and drive greater success. Among these tools are D2D Print, the company’s Print on Demand service for paperbacks (currently in beta, which authors can join at; improved metadata management tools for better book discoverability at retailers; automated end-matter for series books; payment splitting for co-authors and collaborations; and more payment options, including direct bank deposits.

·         Retailers and libraries served by the companies can expect greater title selection and unmatched merchandising recommendations. The new, merged company will offer retailers, subscription services, and libraries unprecedented data-driven insights into the world’s largest dedicated catalog of independently published books. This represents a unique and first-of-its-kind offering that Draft2Digital believes will improve the publishing industry.

·         Customers of the Smashwords Store can look forward to an improved store experience and an increased selection of books from the many great authors and publishers distributed by Draft2Digital.

“This acquisition is great news for indie authors,” said Joanna Penn, host of the Creative Penn podcast and bestselling author who has followed each company since its founding. “Two of the industry’s strongest advocates for indie authors are combining their unique toolsets, technologies, and energy to do more for the indie community. There are exciting years ahead!”

What’s Coming Next

The acquisition is expected to close on March 1, 2022.

To minimize workflow disruption for authors, publishers, and sales partners, the two platforms will combine their systems in gradual and incremental steps.

Authors and publishers of both companies can continue utilizing their current platform of choice with the understanding that over time the authors and publishers of both companies will gain access to a common dashboard, common distribution outlets (including distribution to the Smashwords Store for current D2D authors), and an expanded suite of new and improved tools for book publishing, distribution, and marketing.

Draft2Digital will broadcast a live Q&A session (view the recording here on YouTube) for authors and publishers on Wednesday, February 9th, at Noon Central, with Kris Austin and Mark Coker, moderated by Kevin Tumlinson, Draft2Digital’s VP of Marketing & PR. Kris and Mark will share additional insight about their plans to support the indie publishing community and welcome questions from the audience.

Visit for links and launch time, and to attend live on either Facebook or YouTube. The live broadcast will be recorded for future inclusion in the Draft2Digital podcast, Self Publishing Insiders, and will be available as a blog post at

Additional FAQs about the acquisition can be found at:

About Draft2Digital

Founded in 2012 and headquartered in Oklahoma City, Draft2Digital is the world’s leading publishing platform for self-published authors and independent presses. The company offers a broad suite of free and powerful automated and self-serve tools that authors and publishers can use to build and grow their publishing businesses. This includes tools to simplify ebook and print publishing, distribution, metadata management, and marketing. Following its acquisition of Smashwords, Draft2Digital will serve more than 250,000 authors and publishers that collectively publish over 800,000 books worldwide. Visit Draft2Digital at or follow on Twitter @Draft2Digital.

About Smashwords, Inc.

Founded in 2008 by Mark Coker, Smashwords was an early pioneer in ebook self-publishing. The company’s platform made it possible for writers to professionally produce, publish, and distribute ebooks at no cost. As a distributor, Smashwords was the first to open multiple major retailers and library ebook services to self-published authors, and worked in partnership with sales partners and payment processors to establish systems, standards, and professional best practices to foster a thriving ecosystem of indie-friendly booksellers and libraries. As of December 31, 2021, Smashwords was publishing 590,000 ebooks supplied by 150,000 authors, publishers and literary agents. The company was originally headquartered in Los Gatos, Calif, and most recently based in Pacific Grove, Calif. Visit Smashwords at, or follow the store at @Smashwords.



FAQ Regarding Draft2Digital Acquisition of Smashwords


Draft2Digital and Smashwords are Uniting! 

General questions:

Q:  Who is Draft2Digital?

Draft2Digital is known for being “self-publishing with support,” and since 2012, the company has established a positive, glowing reputation in the author community. D2D is known for building tools and resources that answer indie author and publisher needs, with beautiful and functional design and responsive customer service.

Draft2Digital and Smashwords are so similar, it’s almost as if we sprouted from the same seed. And in many ways, we did.

Both companies, from the start, have been dedicated to building tools and services that make publishing fast, easy, and best of all, free. We only make money when our authors make money—a business model that puts authors first. The best business model we know.

Like Smashwords, Draft2Digital is one of the world’s largest distributors serving self-published authors and independent presses, with a global reach for ebook distribution. But D2D is about more than just ebooks.

Draft2Digital has an exciting Print on Demand solution for indie authors that Smashwords founder Mark Coker thinks will prove to be just as disruptive to print publishing over the next few years as Smashwords was to ebook publishing 14 years ago.

By combining the two companies into one, the new Draft2Digital can invest more into research and development (R&D), aimed at innovating and inventing more next-generation tools services and offerings, and to meet more author needs.

The combination of Smashwords and Draft2Digital is a historic step toward our shared mission to drive greater success for self-published authors, independent publishers, and our distribution partners.

Q: What’s the name of the merged company?

A: The two companies will operate under the name of Draft2Digital. In the near term, Smashwords will continue to operate under its current name. Over time, Draft2Digital will become the name of the publishing platform, and Smashwords will remain as the brand for the Smashwords Store.

Q: When will the acquisition complete?

The close of the acquisition is expected to happen on March 1, 2022, after which the work of integrating the two companies begins.

Q: What will the combined company look like?

Following the acquisition, Draft2Digital will represent a combined 250,000 authors and publishers that use the company’s tools to publish, distribute, and manage over 880,000 ebooks and 11,000 print books (and growing). The combined company will employ over thirty people across the United States and Canada, and will maintain its corporate headquarters in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Q: Why are the companies merging?

A: The decision to merge came down to a simple question: Can we drive greater success for our authors, publishers and sales channels by working together, or by working apart as competitors?

To answer this question, we considered: 

  • Both companies share common roots, missions, and values
  • Both companies were founded by writers to empower writers to become professional publishers
  • Both companies are expert at building free and powerful self-serve tools for authors
  • We’ve both built sophisticated distribution systems that help booksellers and libraries efficiently stock, merchandise and sell indie books
  • Both companies have built profitable businesses
  • We each built our successful businesses not by selling services to authors, but by helping authors and publishers publish, distribute, and market with greater efficiency and success

All of this led to our decision to merge both companies. The resources we once invested in building duplicative systems can now be redeployed to do more for all authors.

Q: What happens next for the authors and publishers of both companies?

A: As of March 1, 2022, if you’re an author or publisher with either Draft2Digital or Smashwords, there’s nothing you need to do; it will be business as usual. Over time, publishing and distribution systems for both Smashwords and Draft2Digital will be integrated onto the Draft2Digital website.

As a result, authors with both services will gain big benefits:

  • New sales partners will become available to authors
  • D2D authors and publishers will be able to list and sell their books in the Smashwords Store.
  • D2D authors will also gain access to exclusive book marketing tools from Smashwords, including Smashwords Coupons, the patent-pending Smashwords Presales tool, Smashwords Interviews, and self-serve merchandising in the Smashwords Store.
  • The Smashwords publishing platform operations and publisher Dashboard will be merged into Draft2Digital’s, with the goal of preserving the best capabilities of each.

At each stage of the integration, we’ll aim to make the transition as smooth and effortless as possible for our combined authors, publishers, store and library partners, and readers.

Q: What happens to the staff at both companies?

A: This is an acquisition of opportunity, not necessity. Because we are two successful companies coming together, all Smashwords employees, including founder Mark Coker, are joining the D2D team, and the D2D team will remain intact.

Kris Austin, co-founder of Draft2Digital, will serve as CEO of the combined company, and Mark Coker will join the senior management team as Chief Strategy Officer and board member.

Q: Is the new Draft2Digital Hiring?

A.  Yes! New growth means new opportunities!

Know any great software developers or customer support professionals who want to join our growing company? Visit learn more. 


Authors & Publishers

Q: How will the acquisition affect my books in distribution?

A: We will work with our sales partners to minimize any impact on book listings, listing web addresses, and reviews.

Q: Each company distributes to sales outlets not reached by the other. Will I have access to all sales channels?

Yes! Once our distribution systems are merged, authors will be able to opt-in to any and all sales and library partners currently offered by either Draft2Digital or Smashwords.

Q: Each company’s ebook publishing process is slightly different. How will the process change for me if I prefer one or the other?

A: We’re combining approaches to give you more options and flexibility!

Both companies allow authors and publishers to upload a professionally designed .epub file. However, the way each company handles conversion from Word or RTF files is a bit different.

We will be preserving both the granular flexibility of custom manuscript styling from Smashwords and the streamlined, automated professional layout and templates from Draft2Digital. This means that authors and publishers get the best of both worlds, with options to use either method.

Q: Can you summarize the unique tool sets of each company that you anticipate making available to all authors?

A: Yes! Both companies offer robust tools for: 

  • Distribution
  • Marketing
  • Sales reporting
  • Tax reporting
  • Metadata management

When these tools are integrated, Draft2Digital will seek to combine the best elements of each.

Both companies also offer unique tools not offered by the other: 

  • Simpler publishing tools; tools for automated end-matter
  • Books2Read Universal Book Links (UBLs), Author Pages, Book Tabs, and Reading Lists
  • D2D Print for POD paperbacks (Visit to be included in the beta)
  • D2D Payment Splitting for co-authors and collaborations
  • New payment options, including direct bank deposits
D2D authors and publishers can expect to gain access to: 
  • The Smashwords Store
  • Smashwords Coupons
  • Smashwords Presales
  • Self-serve merchandising
  • Author Interviews

D2D erotic romance and erotica authors will also gain access to the Smashwords erotica certification system (see next item).

Q: What are the erotic fiction policies of the new company?

A:  Each retailer, subscription service, or library platform has its own content policies. Draft2Digital will adopt the existing Smashwords erotic fiction policies for these platforms.

A few years ago, Smashwords introduced a certification system that allows erotic fiction publishers to self-certify the presence (or lack thereof) of various facets of erotica that are generally recognized as “taboo.” This accurate, more granular categorization provides retailers and libraries with the confidence they need to know that the erotic literature they’re selling doesn’t violate their policies.

The Smashwords Erotic Fiction Certification System will be made available to all Draft2Digital authors.

Q: Will the erotica policies change in the Smashwords Store?

A: Smashwords has a long history of supporting the erotic fiction community. No changes are anticipated to the policies documented at, nor have there been any changes in the last four years.

The policies on permitted, discouraged, and forbidden erotica categories remain in effect. The Smashwords Store has a more permissive approach to taboo erotica than most ebook stores. The store gives customers unprecedented control over the types of erotica, if any, that appear in their search results.

Q: What does the acquisition mean for existing store and library partners?

As the leading distributors of independently published ebooks, both companies have always worked in close partnership with major ebook retailers and library platforms to help them list, promote, and profit from the amazing diversity of indie ebooks.. We help our authors succeed by helping our sales partners succeed!

Q: Is the new Draft2Digital looking to expand its distribution network to new sales partners?

Absolutely! As a distributor, we’re always looking to support promising new booksellers and bookselling models. Given the size of our catalog, we can give new sales channels the critical mass they need to build businesses around our authors’ books. Draft2Digital and Smashwords have rigorous qualification procedures to ensure that new sales partners meet our high standards and requirements.

Potential sales channels can ask to be connected to the Draft2Digital Operations team at