Big publishers are flocking to publish electronic versions of their bestselling books on Apple’s iPad, which launches on April 3. But small publishers and self-published books will make it to the iPad as well.
Smashwords, a site that lets writers self-publish their eBooks, said today it has signed a distribution deal with Apple to put its books into the iPad iBookstore. Mark Coker, chief executive of Smashwords, said in an email to authors that his company was working on signing the deal ever since the iPad was announced. And, yes, this means that unpublished authors can sell their work on the Apple iPad for virtually no cost.
To get books on the Apple store by launch day, Smashwords authors have to have their works submitted to Smashwords’ premium catalog by March 31. The book has to be in the EPUB format and have a big cover image.
The deal hasn’t been announced yet, but I got the notice from Smashwords’ Coker because I published my own eBook, The Xbox 360 Uncloaked, on Smashwords back in December. It was a very easy process, where I took a Microsoft Word file and uploaded it to the Smashwords site, set the price, and decided where I wanted the book published. Smashwords published my eBook in nine formats and began distributing the book over a number of weeks to sites such as Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Stanza (on the iPhone), Aldiko and others.
Smashwords also said it is adding ISBN support (the codes that go on published paper or eBooks) as required by Apple, and it is preparing a large shipment of books to Sony’s Ebook store. Apple’s requirement is that all eBook prices end in .99, so you can sell at 99 cents, $1.99 etc. The price must also be less than the print counterpart. The distribution cost to get the book on the iPad is free. Smashwords and Apple divide the remaining 40 percent of the eBook price.