Strong sales start for Smashwords ebook subscription deal

The Smashwords link-up with ebook subscription service Scribd has got off to a strong start, with early sales exceeding expectations and continuing to grow, and now showcasing indie authors on the Scribd website front page.

Smashwords titles went live at Scribd on February 28 and the figures for the first full month of sales in March were the biggest first-month sales for any new Smashwords retail partner in the last five years.

April results show month-on-month gain of 50%, although the sales volume at Scribd hasn’t reached the level of iBooks, Barnes & Noble, Kobo and the Smashwords store. The April results through Scribd represent nearly triple the recent combined sales of Sony and Diesel, two Smashwords retailers that quit the ebook business in March, and already represent one-third of Smashwords sales through Kobo.

Smashwords believes Scribd is on track to become a major contributor to the bottom lines of indie authors. If you distribute through Smashwords, you can use the Dashboard’s Channel Manager screen to make sure all your Premium Catalog titles are opted in.

The distributor believes the new breed of ebook subscription services like Scribd will expand the ebook audience and help authors reach readers who aren’t shopping at conventional retail channels. The firm considers the two models for ebook consumption are complementary. With subscription ebook services, readers surf books, as if visiting a massive online library, and once they hit a percentage threshold of pages read for an individual title, it triggers a full sale.

Scribd has launched a front-page merchandising promotion for Popular Indie Authors which features 18 Smashwords authors over a range of genres, including fantasy, biography, mystery, thriller, historical fiction, contemporary romance, paranormal romance, YA romance and dystopian science fiction. The curated row of books will rotate among other curated and suggested reading for Scribd subscribers.

In the last two months, all Smashwords authors with books opted into Scribd distribution channel by early January received a free one-year subscription to Scribd valued at $100. The activation links were sent out via email and the last batch went out last week. The offer expires on June 1, so links should be activated before then.

Smashwords get free subscription in Scribd deal