|Country of origin||United States|
|Headquarters location||Los Gatos, California|
Authors and independent publishers upload their manuscripts as electronic files to the service, which converts them into multiple e-book formats for various devices. Once published, the books are made available for sale online at a price set by the author or independent publisher.
Coker began work on Smashwords in 2005 and officially launched the website in May 2008. Within the first seven months of launching, the website published 140 books. Due to initially low profits, the firm switched to a distribution model that offered retailers a "30% commission in exchange for digital shelf space". Smashwords achieved a profit in 2010 and has distributed some of its books via Apple, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Sony, and KDP, Amazon.com's e-book publishing website.
In 2012, Smashwords announced that it would partner with 3M Cloud Library, which would allow for the option for their authors' books to be available in libraries, and that it had reached about 127,000 titles by 44,000 authors.
"Mark was very forward-thinking, and the way he set the company up appeals to independent publishers," said the late Joel Friedlander, who was a book designer with Marin Bookworks in San Rafael and an expert in self-publishing. "There's no cost, no frills, it's a quick way to get your e-book into print, and you can do it in a day."
Coker, a former Silicon Valley publicist, started Smashwords in 2008 with the claimed goal of using technology to democratize publishing—allowing writers to appeal directly to readers without having to deal with gatekeepers such as agents and editors. In keeping with this mission, Smashwords applies no editorial screening. The only e-books the firm rejects are ones that contain plagiarism, illegal content or incitement to racism, homophobia or violence.
- DeBare, Ilana (2011-05-12). "Smashwords gets e-books to market". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2011-12-29.
- "Book Value" Forbes
- "3M's Tom Mercer Discusses Smashwords Partnership at BEA" Good E-reader
- "Smashwords Counts 127K Titles & Projects $12M in Revenue This Year" GalleyCat
- DeBare, Ilana (May 9, 2011). "Smashwords gets self-published e-books to market". San Francisco Chronicle.