How To Delete An Ebook On Smashwords Or Draft2Digital

Delisting an ebook on Draft2Digital or Smashwords

Draft2Digital and Smashwords are aggregators that offer advantages in open publishing for Indie authors. But when it comes time to delete an ebook, take care.

Draft2Digital shines with its interface and automatic end-matter, and Smashwords has a far wider distribution network and an online 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 leading ebook retailers like Apple, Kobo, and Barnes & Noble.

How to remove and delete an ebook from sale

However, there is one aspect of their services that you may rarely use. But it is vital when the need arises.

No matter the rights or wrongs, fair or unfair, Amazon demands that your ebook must be exclusive to Amazon if you want to enroll in KDP Select and Kindle Unlimited.

It can cause problems for self-publishers when they want to enroll their ebook after publishing it elsewhere.

The issue arose some time ago 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. The authors believed that they had delisted their published books correctly from Smashwords.

But unknown to them, their ebooks were still available on Flipkart in India months later. Therefore, Amazon deemed that the ebooks were not exclusive and violated the terms of KDP Select.

I used Smashwords for many years, and I know how hard Mark Coker worked to fit Smashwords into an Amazon-dominated ebook market.

That he took such decisive action against Flipkart showed how important he believes it is for self-publishing authors to be able to trust the delisting and unpublishing process.

It is not a process self-publishing authors will use a lot. But it is vital that when you delete an ebook, it works when you need to use it.


Delist and delete an ebook on Smashwords or Draft2Digital

I have used Draft2Digital for years now.

Many aspects of their service are impressive. However, one aspect I haven’t had the opportunity to test is its delisting process.

I am certainly a proponent of open-publishing for ebooks.

But the reality of the ebook market is that from time to time, enrolling a title in Amazon KDP Select can be beneficial.

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 and 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, but I expected 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 I would have been happy a few years ago if the delisting process had taken five days.

However, I can happily report that Draft2Digital is now extremely prompt in delisting and unpublishing ebook titles.

Note: Please read my update at the end of this article. Things have changed.


Why does it have to be like this?

The reality of today’s ebook market is that Amazon and Kindle books make the rules.

If you want 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, you must delete an ebook from all other retailers and ebook subscription services.

It’s all a pain, for sure, and 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.


Article updates

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 was a bit disappointing.

The good news is that all the retailers, including Apple, B&N, Kobo, and Tolino, delisted within a few days.

But it is over two weeks, and I am still waiting for OneDrive and Bibliotheca to delist my ebooks. The process is definitely not as fast as it used to be.

When I contacted D2D support, they said that library vendors manage listings differently. I didn’t receive an explanation about what is different. 

If you want to be sure to be able to delete an ebook quickly, do not list with these library vendors. Only list your ebooks with the major ebook retailers.

Then you can be sure that when it comes time to delist your ebooks, the process will be completed promptly.

Update two: Finally, after more than two weeks, OneDrive has finally delisted my ebooks.

But frustratingly, Bibliotheca has still yet to do so. One thing is for sure; I will never list my ebooks with One Drive or Bibliotheca ever again.

Update three: It is now nearly a month since I delisted my ebooks. Of 18 books, Bibliotheca has only managed to delist 8. This is totally unacceptable.

I have received polite replies to my emails to Draft2Digital support complaining about the inaction.  But politeness is no replacement for action. Draft2Digital has a problem with Bibliotheca, and it needs to resolve it.

Update four. Finally, after 30 days, Bibliotheca has delisted all my titles. It was an unacceptable amount of time. In fairness to Draft2Digital, all other retailers delisted my books promptly.

My advice would be to avoid listing with libraries such as Bibliotheca and only list with the major retailers.


Update to this article

Update Note. It came as a surprise to many authors, but Draft2digital is to acquire Smashwords. You can read more details in the announcement notice.


Related Reading: Can You Delete A Book After It Is Published?

17 thoughts on “How To Delete An Ebook On Smashwords Or Draft2Digital”

  1. Avatar for Barbara Scott-Emmett
    Barbara Scott-Emmett

    But how is it actually done? I can’t see anything on D2D that says ‘delist’ or ‘unpublish’. I searched both these terms in the Knowledge Base but came up with nothing. Am I missing something obvious (wouldn’t be surprised!) or is the unpublish info hidden away somewhere?

  2. Great article Derek. I’m just ready to do the same. I only have one book, so I hope it doesn’t take a month with the library type ones.

  3. Do you lose all of your reviews on sites such as Apple or B & N if you unpublish from Smashwords to try out Amazon Unlimited for a short period of time? I plan to relist with Smashwords again after a few months exclusively on Amazon. But I’m afraid to lose those reviews when I return.

    1. Yes, you will probably lose your reviews. When you unpublish your book and then republish it a few months later, it will be seen as a new book again on Apple, B&N, and other retailers. It’s one of the big drawbacks of switching in and out of KDP Select.

  4. Do I have to delist my e-book on D2D in order to upload a revised version? Do I have to wait until I know it is delisted everywhere? I have not been able to find out this information from D2D.

  5. I delisted books at Draft2digital and Publishdrive two weeks ago and they are still not withdrawn from many of the stores. Granted, there were holidays in there but still, this is a lot longer than your referenced 24 hours. So no, in my experience, they are not delisting quickly and it’s still a painful waiting process.
    As to the KU or wide debate, I wanted to add to what others have said here in the comments– it all depends on the genre of the book as well. For really popular genres like romance and erotica, etc. most of the bestsellers on Amazon are in KU. But for some other genres, it’s not as big of a thing.

  6. I’m currently removing from D2D, and I am over a week waiting, and so far Overdrive, Bibliotheca, Thalia and have yet to remove my books. I am not sure what store distributes to Thalia and but I suspect it’s Kobo. I’ve emailed D2D support twice with no response. It’s frustrating because outside of this, I really like D2D a lot.

    1. How long did Bibliotheca eventually take? Overdrive was pretty good for me & the others very fast except for 24Symbola and Bibliotheca which have been 3 days so far. #lessonlearned!

  7. Amazon offers more than its Select program, though.
    You can publish through D2D … just don’t pick Amazon as a platform there. Then publish the same book separately through Amazon KDP. You can still pick the 70% royalty.
    I do that because you can easily go in through KDP and change your book description, keywords, and cover at anytime on kdp.

  8. Great post, but I’ll add one caveat to the timing. Apparently B&N, Overdrive, and Scribd process requests M-F, not on weekends. Everyone else was as you described, within hours of the request.

  9. I am a new and most likely naive to the promotional process of ebooks. When I first published my book “One Month, 20 Days and a Wake Up” last summer, I went with KDP Select. I followed their recommendations and paid extra for their marketing (click) programs. At first I got great traffic, but no sales. I paid the fees for the clicks without the benefits of sales. I’m sure my story is very common. My sales for the first six months were nothing but ‘friends, and friends of friends’. When I was allowed to post on other Vietnam Veteran’s blog websites, I finally broke the barrier into public sales. My point is that I followed recommendations of those that have gone before me and I got more results with my own promotional endeavors than anything KDP Select ever did. Perhaps I missing something, I don’t understand the advantage to KDP Select other than Amazon has control of the ebook market You either follow their rules or take your chances with the other ebook sites.

    1. What was the genre of your titles? In my experience that has a lot to do with whether KU is worth it.

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