The team over at WebTech blog YODSpica point out that affiliate programs for bookstores are nothing new: typically, online publishers will link to a book and will get a cut of the proceeds if the store linked to makes a sale within a certain timeframe. "But the emergence of Ebooks is changing the landscape," Elio Assuncao at YODSpica notes. "Amazon, which has built up its affiliate program for traditional books over the last decade, does not give affiliate publishers any portion of the purchase price if a visitor winds up buying an electronic book. Smashwords is looking to capitalize on this omission by offering web publishers an alternative."
Smashwords launched in 2008: its catalogue is still relatively small, offering some 1,300 Ebooks primarily from independent authors, including free eBooks as well as SciFi and Fantasy. (No comic creators seem to be using Smashwords as yet).
Some small publishers are beginning to sign on as well. All author contracts with Smashwords are non-exclusive. All of the content sold is DRM-free and authors receive 85% of the net proceeds of any Ebooks that they sell, which can be downloaded to reading devices such as the the iPhone, iPod Touch, Amazon Kindle, Sony Reader or IRex Iliad, or to other ereading devices.
For authors who want to maximize their sales opportunities on Smashwords, the company has also created a free The Smashwords Book Marketing Guide, which starts with an overview of how Smashwords helps you sell your book, and then provides a series of tips for how authors can take their book marketing to the next level.• Full details of the Smashwords Affiliate program here
• Read an interview with Smashwords founder Mark Coker