Amazon KDP VS Smashwords And What I’m Doing Now

by sjbgilmour

Right.  I’ve used both platforms, and they each have their pros and cons.

Things I like about Smashwords:

  • They distribute to B&N, iTunes and others.
  • I can make the price anything from $0.00 (Free!) to anything I like.
  • They pay into my PayPal account.

Things I don’t like about Smashwords:

  • The ‘meatgrinder‘ *  ebook compiler is truly awful, making formatting for Smashwords a nightmare.  For example, I can’t get my text to look the way I want it to, with both indents and after spacing.
  • The dashboard is lumpy — accurate, but difficult to navigate and well, just lumpy. *
  • They insist I submit the work in .doc format or similar – not pre-formatted in epub or mobi.

* You’ll see what I mean about it being lumpy by checking out the above links.  Wading through the Smashwords Style Guide is like trying to swim in molasses.

Things I like about KDP (and KDP Select):

  • It’s the market leader in ebook sales.  I’ve made more money through Amazon through sales and borrowings than with all the other channels at Smashwords combined.
  • The 5-day free promo periods work — providing you shell out and do a promo tie-in with a dedicated Kindle promo site like Kindle Nation Daily.
  • The dashboard and the reports it provides are beautiful.
  • It’s EASY.  I can upload my work in mobi format, formatted perfectly with Scrivener, without having to put up with a second-rate compiler like Smashwords’ meatgrinder.

Things I don’t like about KDP:

  • Amazon won’t pay into my PayPal account.   That’s a biggie, that one.  If you’ve ever tried to open a foreign currency account in Australia, you’ll know what I mean.
  • I can’t set the price to $0.00.

So, what am I doing now?  Well, here’s the plan.  All my shorts, I’ll continue to release on Amazon KDP Select first.  Once I’ve used the initial 5-day free promo period, I’ll keep it on Amazon, but un-enroll the book from KDP Select, and put it out through Smashwords, ticking all the distribution boxes except Amazon.

Angela of Troy and The Department are both now available for FREE through Smashwords.  They’re still $0.99 on Amazon, but once Amazon gets around to price-matching — and they will, I’m sure — They’ll be free everywhere.  I’ll add Run Ronny Run! and Benjamin McConnell, Silver Shroud as their KDP Select periods expire.

Similar story for my full-length novels, only I’ll leave the prices at the same as they are on Amazon.