It looks like the self-publishing and e-book markets are going to evolve a bit further when a new operation called Smashwords hits the scene in the (hopefully) not too distant future. Here's a press release with the details.
Some of the highlights that should make this an attractive service:
- Anyone can become a published e-book author in "minutes" and the service is ideal for just about any length work including "full length novels, short fiction, essays, poetry, personal memoirs, non-fiction and screenplays."
- The effective royalty rate is hard to beat as authors will get 85% of the net proceeds from each sale.
- They're planning to offer all the latest marketing and PR tools like embedded YouTube book trailers and widgets.
- The sampling and pricing models are extremely flexible and should allow for a great deal of try-before-you-buy activity. In fact, authors can make up to 99% of their work available as a free sample.
I also like the fact that they're planning to offer DRM-free files in a variety of formats, including .mobi. I don't want to speculate too much on this, but if it's done properly it could create an entirely new content service for Amazon's Kindle. That's right. DRM-free .mobi files should load seamlessly onto a Kindle via the USB cable with no intervention from Amazon. If this takes off it would make the Kindle less of a closed/proprietary system, at least from a content point of view. Very interesting...