|Country of origin||United States|
Smashwords (Smashwords, Inc.), based in Los Gatos, Calif., is an ebook self-publishing and distribution platform. The company began public operation in May, 2008.
While Smashwords allows any author to publish their book online, like many self-publishing providers, it does not provide some benefits typical of traditional commercial print publishing. For example, it does not provide editing, quality control, proof reading, or book cover design. Instead, Smashwords publishes manuscripts on an as-is basis and requires author to assume responsibility for the quality of the book and for their own book promotion. 
Smashwords is a self-serve publishing service. Authors upload their manuscripts as Microsoft Word files to the Smashwords service, which converts the files into multiple ebook formats for reading on various ebook reading devices. Once published, the books are made available for sale online at a price set by the author. Whereas many traditional book publishers still publish their e-books with digital rights management (DRM) copy protection, Smashwords does not use DRM.
Books published with Smashwords are listed in the Smashwords bookstore, and are also distributed on iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad devices via a relationship with Lexcycle, makers of the Stanza e-reading app. Smashwords content is also being made available through the iBookstore application for iPad and, in the 4.0 revision of iPhone OS, for the iPhone and iPod Touch. The complete list of retailers to which Smashwords distributes includes the Apple iBookstore, Barnes & Noble, Sony, Kobo and the Diesel eBook Store. In addition to Stanza mentioned earlier, the Smashwords catalog is also available on Android-powered devices for users of the following mobile apps: Aldiko, Word-Player and Kobo.
Smashwords was founded by Mark Coker in May 2008. Coker was previously the founder and president of BestCalls.com, a directory of earnings conference calls. The story behind the founding of Smashwords is similar to the story behind the founding of BestCalls.
Coker was quoted in the Globe & Mail newspaper as saying he founded the company to offer self-published authors an alternative to mainstream commercial publishing.
The company gained notoriety by claiming the traditional book publishing industry was denying quality authors the opportunity to publish, based purely on perceived commercial merit. Instead, the company advocated that every author should have the right to publish, and the quality of written works should be decided by readers, not by agents and publishers.
In 2008 Smashwords published 140 ebooks. In 2009 it had published 6,000 ebooks. In 2010 it had published 28,500 ebooks. In March 2011, Smashwords published its 40,000th ebook. http://blog.smashwords.com/2011/03/smashwords-publishes-40000th-book.html It ended 2011 with 92,000 ebooks published http://blog.smashwords.com/2011/12/smashwords-year-in-review-2011.html
- Self-published authors to get in iBookstore via Smashwords
- Smashwords home page
- Smashwords blog
- First mainstream news coverage of Smashwords, from VentureBeat
- Smashwords recommended in "Six Picks" article by Christian Science Monitor
- Interview with founder Mark Coker by Maria Schneider of EditorUnleashed
- Story in Web Worker Daily examines Smashwords' new approach to publishing
- Writer's Digest examines Smashwords and what it means for future of self-publishing