As it turns out there a LOT of different platforms out there that sell self-published books and will actually make sales like iTunes, Barnes&Noble, Kobo, etc…
But formatting a book and submitting it to all the different platforms can be tedious work.
Thankfully, this is where services like Smashwords and Draft2Digital step in. These platforms will take your book and distribute it out to a list of publishing platforms, control the analytics, collect on the royalties and pay you in one lump sum.
This is incredibly efficient and helps to quickly get your book out to more readers with little to no extra work.
However, these two services are very similar, so which one is the best?
In this article, you’ll learn about
- When to use these services
- Essential comparison parameters between Smashwords vs Draft2Digital
- Draft2Digital Vs. Smashwords: which one get’s my vote and future business
When to Use These Services
Let me be frank.
These services are for those of you who do NOT want to format and upload their book into each individual publishing service like Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iTunes, etc.
Instead, you’ll choose to use one of these services when you want to quickly and efficiently get your book on LOTS of different markets, and just receive one royalty check a month instead of a couple of checks from different platforms a month.
So for a small price, these guys will do all that for you and allow you to move on to something else.
And to be fair, this is A-Okay with me. Remember, each of those publishing services have their own guidelines and required formats. Honestly, it can be a little confusing and heaven forbid you are doing your own accounting…oy! Case-in-point: Itunes is way more strict on what you can say in the summary while Kobo has different requirements for formatting.
Can you make more money by not using these services? Yes.
But is it really worth all the time it would take to individually list you book on every platform? That depends on you, your budget and your goals.
But for me, I like the ease of these services and how much extra they have brought me by listing my books on all the other platforms.
But which one is the best?
In order to write this article, I did actually submit my books to both and even went as far as to contact the CEO’s of both companies. Many thanks to both Matt Coker of Smashwords and Aaron Pogue of Draft 2 Digital for your time. You guys are both super classy and your hard work and effort is thoroughly appreciated.
Draft2Digital vs. Smashwords: The Showdown
Down to their basic core, they are generally the same service. Having been the only big dog in town for a while, Smashwords is the most popular of the two. However, just recently the newerish kid on the block, Draft2Digital has made a real splash.
Let’s first look at some of the basic differences between the two:
Pros and Cons of Smashwords
Truth be told, Smashwords is the original ebook publishing platform for indie authors, and the world’s largest distributor of self-published ebooks. Currently they distribute over 350,000 books from over 100,000 indie authors. That’s pretty jaw dropping when you think about it.
Besides being a Mecca of knowledge, their website also houses a ebook store that allows Smashwords self publishers to create coupons and even give their books away for free – no kindle select style contracts required either.
One of the strongest arguments for Smashwords though is that they have a larger amount of publishing platforms that they distribute to. To most this translates into “more sales.” However, as you will see later in this article when I analyze a case study of mine, that might not be the case.
Furthermore, to submit your book to Smashwords, you’ll need to format your book as per their instructions which the requirements for formatting are a little extensive.
How extensive, you ask?
They created a 27,000 word document to tell you all about it. Yup…27K. That’s basically a complete ebook on how to prepare your ebook.
Pros and Cons of Draft2Digital
Draft2Digital is the new kid on the block and like a new kid, he has the shiny new sneakers to match. Adopting a new age platform, the Draft2Digital website is pretty sweet and the dashboard is very easy to use as well. Honestly, comparing the two, Smashwords looks and operates like an early 2000’s website, while D2D is pretty modern, sleek and much more clear.
Oh, and did I mention its a lot easier to navigate around and understand? Plus, unlike Smashwords who pays you quarterly, D2D pays you monthly…which is nice.
But my favorite part, other than getting paid more often and faster, is that they do the formatting for you. Just send them your .doc or .docx and they will make it compliant for all of their platforms. As they say on their front page:
“Your style guide is our style guide. And if you don’t have a style guide, that’s okay too. Just get us your manuscript and we’ll do all the technical stuff for you. It’s really that simple.”
Another thing I like about Draft2Digital is that they will email you each time a book goes live on a platform and keep you apprised to the status of the other platforms. That’s what I call instant notification!
However, the major con for Draft2Digital is that they do not distribute to as many publishers as Smashwords.
But is this really a bad thing? Later on, I’ll show you why that might be overrated.
The good news is that they have the most important ones: iTunes, Barnes & Noble and Kobo. But what about the others?
Case Study: Draft2Digital vs. Smashwords
So, let’s take a look at this and see how the other platforms on Smashwords do, and whether or not they make a difference.
Below is the Smashwords sales report for one of my books during its 1st quarter – remember, smashwords pays you quarterly while Draft2Digital pays you monthly.
Looking at my metrics, I noticed that out of the platforms that Smashwords publishes to that Draft2Digital does not, only Scribd made any sales.
A whopping 3 sales of difference. Of note, the above book sells at $9.99 so…that’s about $18 extra over 3 months(10% goes to Smashwords and 30% goes to the platform), thanks to Smashwords sending it out to more platforms.
Now, this isn’t to say that your book won’t sell on txtr or Sony or on whatever other non-D2D platform. But for me, I’ve never seen enough difference to take those other platforms seriously.
So, one extra book sale per month OR better design, faster pay, and no need to format the book?
The Victor is Clear: Draft2Digital
Let’s face it, in the end, the new kid on the block wins this one.
Listing their pros:
- Better design
- Easier to use and navigate
- Monthly pay instead of quarterly
- Does the formatting for you: HUGE!
Sure, you won’t be able to sell on Baker & Taylor, txtr, and certain mobile phone apps, but how many sales do those actually equal out to? Plus, most of those companies are seeing the light and joining Draft2Digital monthly. I even had to update this article twice, because two new platforms showed up (yeah, I like to write a couple of months in advance).
And besides, the whole point of using these services is because I wanted to quickly and efficiently get my books on more platforms – especially those that actually have a market.
Therefore, in my humble opinion, Draft2Digital is the clear winner and I will be continuing to distribute my ebooks for the foreseeable future. Nothing against Smashwords and they served me well, but D2D takes the cake.