I have written before about Draft2Digital and Smashwords. Both platforms have advantages when it comes to open publishing for Indie authors.
Draft2Digital shines with its interface and automatic end-matter. Smashwords has a far wider distribution network and its own ebook store.
For self-publishers, it’s a matter of choosing the best platform that suits your publishing needs.
Both platforms can help you publish high-quality ebooks. They offer fast publishing to the leading ebook retailers such as Apple, Kobo, and Barnes & Noble.
However, there is one aspect of their service, which you may rarely need. But it is very important when the need arises.
No matter the rights or wrongs, fair or unfair, Amazon’s KDP Select rules demand that your ebook must be exclusive to Amazon.
This can cause real problems for self-publishers when they want to enroll an ebook after it has been published elsewhere.
The problem came to a head for Smashwords when it had to end its association with Flipkart.
The problem was that Flipkart did not respect title delist notifications from Smashwords. Many authors were punished at the time by Amazon when they enrolled in KDP Select in the belief that they had delisted their published books correctly.
I used Smashwords for many years. I know how hard Mark Coker has worked to fit Smashwords into an Amazon dominated ebook market.
That he took such strong action against Flipkart showed how important he believes it is for self-publishing authors to be able to trust the delisting an unpublishing process.
Delisting an ebook on Smashwords or Draft2Digital
I have been using Draft2Digital for about two years now. I have been impressed with all aspects of their service. However, one aspect I haven’t had the opportunity to test is its delisting process.
I am a proponent of open-publishing for ebooks. But the reality of the ebook market is that from time to time, it can be beneficial to enroll a title in Amazon KDP Select.
For me, this time arrived recently, because I wanted to see the other side of the coin so to speak.
I am an author, but I also write a lot about self-publishing. I have been open-publishing for a long time. But I wanted to update my first-hand knowledge of the pros and cons of KDP Select. Especially the effect of Amazon Kindle Unlimited.
With that decision made, I had to delist some of my ebooks from Draft2Digital before I could enroll in KDP Select. I hadn’t done this for some time. I expected that it would take a few days to a week to complete the process.
Well, I can happily report that my expectations were very much outdated. The delisting process on Draft2Digital was a lot faster than I expected.
Apple, Nook, and Kobo were confirmed as delisted within only a few hours. Page Foundry, Scribd, and Tolino took a little longer. But they were confirmed as delisted in less than twelve hours. 24Symbols took the longest to delist. But it was just a little over 24 hours, which was fine.
I recall that a few years ago, I would have been happy if the delisting process took five days. However, I can happily report that Draft2Digital is now extremely prompt in delisting and unpublishing ebook titles.
Why does it have to be like this?
The reality of today’s ebook market is that Amazon makes its rules. If you want to have access to KDP Select, it means following the Amazon exclusivity rules.
There are some benefits as a marketing tool. So it is sometimes worth enrolling in KDP Select for one or two 90 day terms. To be able to do this, though, your ebook titles must be removed from all other retailers and ebook subscription services.
It’s all a pain for sure. It would be much easier if Amazon relaxed its demand for exclusivity. But don’t expect Amazon to change its mind anytime soon. It’s something self-publishing authors, Smashwords and Draft2Digital have to live with, and negotiate.
However, it is reassuring to know that both Smashwords and Draft2Digital have accepted the reality of today’s book market. They are both assisting self-publishing authors to be able to enroll in KDP Select without any difficulty.
Of course, returning an ebook listing is very easy on Smashwords and Draft2Digital. Simply republish your ebooks. I believe both aggregators work on the principle that their authors will, like me, return to open-publishing soon enough.
Update: It has been a little while since I originally wrote this post. I have to say now that my latest effort to delist my books from Draft2Digital is a bit disappointing. It is now five days and I am still waiting for OneDrive and Bibliotheca to delist my ebooks. So the process is definitely not as fast as it used to be.
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