2,000+ ebooks from Smashwords authors and publishers appeared on the iPad yesterday. Click here to learn how to publish Apple iPad ebooks in the iBookstore.
Very few people in the publishing industry understand the profound implications of this. It's not just about the iPad - it's about how any author, anywhere in the world, can go from a Microsoft Word document to worldwide ebook store distribution in a matter of seconds or days.
Welcome to the age of fully democratized, instant publishing where the bookstore is moving to a screen near you. Authors can now publish and distribute with unprecedented freedom.
In the old days, like two or three years ago, the best route for any author to reach readers was to find a literary agent who could sell your book to a large print publisher. After the big sale, you'd wait another 12-18 months before your book appeared in bookstores. For many authors, that's when depression set in, because sales rarely matched expectations, and if books don't sell quickly they're yanked from shelves and cast out, condemned to out-of-print oblivion like some unwelcome refuse on its way to the remainder bin.
Imagine spending years or a lifetime to write your book, only to have it disappear for all posterity?
Things are starting to change now. Based on my analysis of the January ebook sales reports from the IDPF, I expect ebooks will account for at least 10 percent of the U.S. book market this year. Unit market share will actually be higher, because ebooks sell for less than print books.
In this new age of ebook publishing, an author's book can be published and distributed in near-real time. A book never need go out of print because it's always stocked on a digital shelf, ready for instant digital printing and delivery to any reader. An indie self-published author can now share virtual shelf space with any other author.
Some folks might find find this idea of democratized book publishing terrifying. I consider it liberating, because now readers - not publisher gatekeepers - determine which books are worth reading. I blogged about the community filter concept last year, here: Inside the Smashwords Community Filter.
Book shelves are moving from the physical realm to the digital realm. Most of the major ebook retailers have opened up their shelves to indie authors. These visionary retailers and mobile phone app developers include such players as Barnes & Noble, Sony, Kobo, Amazon, Stanza, Aldiko and now the Apple iPad iBookstore. As an author, you want to be on these digital shelves. Smashwords helps you distribute to these retailers.
Yesterday, after Smashwords author Susan Klopfer (pictured above and below) tweeted a picture of herself holding her book on the iPad, I invited other Smashwords authors to send me their pictures too.
Below is a collection of some of the first Smashwords books on the iPad. In sequential left-to-right order, pictured below are Susan Klopfer and her book, Who Killed Emmett Till?; Patrick Dodson's Psychotic Inertia; Laudizen King's The White Mountain Chronicles; J. Alexander Greenwood's Pilate's Cross; David Derrico and his novel, Right Ascension; and last but not least, an injured Jacob Ray with a big thumbs up for Smashwords and the iPad, showing off his novel, The Undead of the Low Country.
Jacob, who recently broke his hand while playing flag football to research a book on the topic of flag football (that's what you call, "throwing yourself into your book."), tells me publishing on Smashwords was so easy he could do it with one hand.
Do you want to publish your book on the iPad, the Barnes & Noble nook, the Sony Reader and multiple other mobile apps and online bookstores? Learn how by visiting our page, How to Publish Ebooks on the iPad or How to Publish on Smashwords. It's fast, easy and free.
I'll probably blog more about the Apple deal tomorrow, because that's when we issue our official press release.