Not that I would ever beat a mule of any sort, but you know how the saying goes. If the eVerse has a rented mule, it is Smashwords.
This fact is partly due to the fact Smashwords is practically a grey-haired veteran of the electric publishing world. Started in May 2008, it’s ancient in the eBook world. But the reasons for maligning the eBook publishing and distribution platform are as diverse as the books Smashwords spits out through its “meat grinder” software.
Some fart in Smashwords’ general direction due to its complete lack of quality control. (They will publish anyone willing to format their content to meet their meat grinder requirements.) Some thumb their noses due to the fact that Smashwords is anti-DRM (Digital Rights Management, or Drunken Rowdy Monkeys).
But whether you love them or hate them, Smashwords (and it’s founder Mark Coker) slammed into the forming eVerse vortex before most even knew it existed. For better or worse, they helped form it. Thus, even as larger entities (such as Kindle Direct Publishing) overshadow it, many will continue to prefer loving and/or hating Smashwords.
For those looking for a DRM-free way to publish their magnum opus, Smashwords is still a great option. They not only publish, but distribute to most eBook retailers. For those looking for tons of free or cheap original fiction (some of which isn’t porn), Smashwords also serves as a massive eBook retailer itself. They actually have a pretty nice search engine too, along with a “prude” filter (that has recently been changed to “adult” filter. How lame is that?).[divider]
So whether selling or buying, Smashwords has something to offer. And thus they will maintain a seat at the gathering of confederates in the eVerse.