Another intelligent analysis of our changing lit industry by the insightful and very experienced Mike Shatzkin.
My latest book is now available both as paperback (Amazon's Createspace) and as an e-book through Kindle or Smashwords. The amazingly versatile and well-organized Smashwords makes the same text available in a whole variety of electronic formats, including the open industry format Epub, LRF for Sony Reader, and .mobi for Kindle (as well as PDF, RTF, etc.). Thus if you are a Kindle user, you can get and read my book either through the Amazon Kindle site or from Smashwords.
The Amazon and Smashwords editions are very slightly different; in the Smashwords edition, which I just uploaded, I was able to correct a silly error (miscalculated Hegira dates in the three final chapter headings) and I added a reader review by novelist Jan Alexander as a blurb. (It'll be the first thing you see if you download a free sample of the book). I set the price exactly the same, $4.99. I get 80% from Smashwords, 70% from Kindle, so both because of the correction and the price, I would be happier if Kindle users got their copies from Smashwords. But I don't think that's going to happen: Amazon has so much huger a presence on the Internet, is so much more visible, and if you've bought a Kindle reader, you're already connected to their store. Shatzkin's essay confirms that guess. Of course, if you want to read an e-book on something other than Kindle, Smashwords is the place to go.
The other thing that is clearer now from Shatzkin's analysis is that it will take a whole string of lucky breaks for a book like mine to become a big seller. The on-line sellers aren't set up to make it easy to find the unusual and unconventional works. So far I have been lucky in two ways: readers' reviews (on the Amazon site) have been wonderful, and the book is being translated for publication in Turkey.
Do ebook consumers love bestsellers, or does it just look that way? – The Shatzkin Files
Oh well. I'll just have let happen whatever happens. And meanwhile go on to write the next thing.