Smashwords authors can get a free subscription worth over $100 in the company’s new deal with Scribd’s ebook subscription service which also includes a range of marketing support.
Self-publishing pioneer Smashwords has been busy in the pre-Christmas period as it has also completed a wide-ranging website redesign, making the site fully responsive to mobile devices.
The distribution deal with Scribd could triple the number of ebooks available on Scribd’s catalogue to over 325,000. Scribd is one of the main players in the ebook subscription market and charges an $8.99 monthly subscription. Smashwords titles will also be available for individual sale on the Scribd site.
As well as a free one-year subscription to the Scribd service, the deal also covers marketing support for Smashwords authors, including featuring throughout curated book merchandising, inclusion on the site’s home page in a new Scribd Selects merchandising feature and a profile page for each author to promote their own books and books they like reading.
Smashwords authors will aso get a data dashboard and Scribd will feature the authors on its blog and social media channels.
The Scribd deal follows rival ebook subscription platform Oyster linking up with Smashwords recently. Oyster also signed a deal this week, adding titles from independent publisher Perseus to its catalogue.
The changes to the Smashwords website, which did previously have a dated Web 1.0 look, are the first revamp since the company’s launch in 2008 and Smashwords says it will introduce many new tools and features for authors and readers in 2014.
The number of books listed on the Smashwords home page doubles from 10 to 20 and 27 new book category filters have been added to increase discoverability. There are now live stats for the number of books published and the number of free books and navigation elements have been organised ound logical categories.
Smashwords admits that the previous mobile version of the site was limited, so one of the most important aspects of the changes is the new responsive design which optimises viewing of the wesbite across mobile devices and screen sizes.
Redesigned book pages make it faster and easier for readers to discover, sample and buy books. Download links have been moved to the top of the page to cut down the need for scrolling. New slider bars display book covers of other books in the same series, other books by the author and other books by the publisher.
The updated Dashboard sees features that owere previously on the vertical left navigation column been moved to grids at the top of the page under categorizes of Sales Reporting, Metadata Management and Marketing & Distribution Tools.
The Account tab has been reorganised around logical categories to give quicker access to controls. The categories include About Me, Buying Books, Selling Books, Payments for Authors and Publishers, and Account Status.
The library is now faster, prettier and provides better support for power-users with hundreds of books.
Smashwords was set up five years ago and the site now gets over 10 million page views a month.
Case Talbot, on the Smashwords engineering team, led the redesign with design consultants Jami and Bryan at 2Wongs Studios, and Smashwords authors, customers and team members who contributed to this redesign.