As soon as I announced the new book I began to receive requests for it to be published on platforms other than Apple’s. I looked around at the possible ways of doing this (the most time-consuming would have been to publish individually through the different agencies – Amazon for Kindle, etc.) and eventually decided that using Smashwords would be most efficient. With one upload it is possible to make the book available in most of the alternative formats and to have the book placed in the online bookshops of Amazon, Kobo, Barnes and Noble and more.
First, however, I had to convert the .iba file used for the Apple iBooks Store to a Word .doc file. This was a non-trivial task because it had to be strictly formatted according to Smashwords’ extensive style manual. A cover page was also needed, but lacking time to get this done professionally, I simply designed one myself. The contents list (automatically generated for the Apple iBook) had to be created using bookmarks in the texts and hyperlinks from the contents list to those bookmarks.
Fortunately, I already had the required IRS Employer Identification Number and an ISBN, so a lot of time was saved in that way, and converting the book took about a couple of days. I then registered with Smashwords, uploaded the file and waited while it was converted on the fly into the different formats. Smashwords uses its own custom-designed converter for this purpose which goes under the name of the Meatgrinder and this generates, from the .doc file, HTML, EPUB (Apple, Nook, Sony Reader, etc.), RTF, .mobi (Kindle), PDF, LRF (earlier Sony Reader), and plain text files. These cover just about every reading device or reading app in existence.
After review, Smashwords also sends the book to the bookshops of the main players (Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, etc.- although not Apple in the case of this book) and also makes it available to libraries through the Axis 360 service.
All of this is done for 10% of the selling price of the book, although, of course, when sold through one of the book stores it also involves whatever percentage the different stores take – e.g., with Apple it is 30% of the list price, so the total received by the author will be 60% of the price, rather than 90%.
Of course, things never go entirely smoothly and the first upload resulted in a couple of error messages, which were easily fixed and the book was re-uploaded. It really is remarkable how quickly Meatgrinder generates all these different formats.
So, although the book is not yet available from Apple, or through any of the other stores supplied by Smashwords, it is available now directly from Smashwords at https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/336724 and can be bought from there for $9.99 Remember, every dollar helps to keep Information Research going as the leading, totally free, open access journal in the fields of information science and information management.