Business Resources for Authors

Which Formats Should You Use on Smashwords?

Welcome today to guest blogger Edie Ramer. Edie helps us with various pieces of research around the site, and she offered us this great advice on Smashwords. 

I’m writing this because so many of my friends putting their books on Smashwords are making the same mistake I did when I first uploaded my books. In Smashwords’ FAQ, it says:

“Most Smashwords books are readable on any e-reading device. One purchase and you gain access to multiple formats.”

Of course I wanted my book available to as many people as possible, so I checked them all. It was only later that I realized this wasn’t a good idea. Though this is subject to change, there are only 3 formats you need to check: Mobi, epub and pdf.  Almost every ereader uses either an epub or Mobi file. Or they have the Kindle or Barnes & Noble app. (Kindle uses Mobi; Barnes & Noble and most other ereaders uses epub.) If they’re reading it on their laptop or PC, they can read the pdf file (or use the Kindle or B&N free apps).

The formats you don’t want to use are RTF, HTML and Plain Text. These are too easy to copy. I don’t use JavaScript. Smashwords warns that it might be buggy, and I want my books’ layout to look good. I’ve researched online, and this article by Baldur Bjarnason gives the pros and cons for using JavaScript. It sounds more like something you might want for a nonfiction book with graphs and diagrams. I recommend you read the article and decide for yourself.

You probably won’t sell many or even any copies in the other formats available, but it shouldn’t hurt to use them.

If you’re already published, don’t panic. Just go back into Smashwords, click Edit, then scroll down to ‘eBook Formats.’ Unclick the RTF, HTML and Plain Text formats, and any other you feel you don’t need. Then click Save. Easy.

Thanks, Edie. We’re curious—which format do you sell most at Smashwords? Is it a good venue for your books? 

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3 Comments
  1. Thanks Edie, That’s good information to know. Yet another thing I never thought to question.

  2. Edie, thanks for this reminder. I was already unclicking the last two but didn’t think about rtf. Thanks.

  3. Edie, thanks!

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