Smashwords wins promising accolade from Forbes

Self-publishing ebook pioneer Smashwords is the sole entry from the world of book publishing in Forbes Magazine’s list of America’s Top 100 Most Promising Companies for 2014 published this week.

Smashwords is placed 69th in the list and the firm’s founder Mark Coker says: “Our most important partnership is our partnership with writers. I founded Smashwords to put the power in publishing in the hands of writers. We make it fast, free and easy for any writer, anywhere in the world, to professionally publish and distribute an ebook. Thank you Forbes and thank you Smashwords authors, publishers, retailers and readers.”

Smashwords, which was set up in 2008, had a stellar year in 2013, with revenue growing to $20 million from $15 million in the previous year. The company also published its 250,000th ebook and signed deals with two of the major players in the new ebook subscription service market, Oyster Books and Scribd. It’s the second year that Smashwords has made the list.

The firm’s entire revenue comes from the sale of ebooks as it doesn’t sell publishing packages or services, with 90% of revenue from retail distribution partners Apple iBooks, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Sony, Flipkart, Oyster, Scribd, Baker & Taylor and others.

Forbes says its criteria for inclusion on the list covering high-growth, privately held companies with under $250 million in annual revenue, looks at growth numbers but focuses on sustainable growth, taking a holistic gauge of companies.

The final assessment was based on growth in sales and recruiting, quality of management team and investors, margins, market size and key partnerships.

No 1 in the Forbes promising list is Fuhu, which sells the Nabi, an Android-based tablet for children.