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Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Writing Wibbles: Smashwords, Direct to Tablet

Last week, I talked about exclusivity and what outfits like Smashwords need to do to break it. In the comments, Patricia Lynne made a good point:
I find it hard to link to SW too when on Amazon people can click and have it upload to their device automatically. If Smashwords could do something like that, then I'd be more willing to try to promote my titles on there.
For eInk readers, that barrier is hard to hurdle. But if you use a tablet or a tablet-based eReader (or a smartphone for that matter), you can already do this. Below are instructions for iOS, Android, and Kindle Fire (use the links to skip past the parts you don’t care about). If you need an example book, I’ll be glad to provide a link. ;-)

iOS (iPad, iPhone)

Apple has quietly climbed the eReader ranks of late. iBooks is pre-installed on current devices, and provides a very nice reading experience for books of any size.

In Safari, go to Smashwords and find my books the book you want to download. Tap the epub link in the “Download the full version of this book” section, down below the “Download samples” section:


eBooks aren’t very big, and download quickly even on DSL. As usual, Apple makes this pretty straightforward:


If you have other EPUB-capable eReader apps installed on your device (Nook, Kobo, etc) you can tap Open in… to use one of those apps instead of iBooks.

Android

If you have a phone or general tablet, you’ll need to install an eReader app. I used a Nook HD+, which obviously has one included…

Start Chrome, go to Smashwords, and find your book. Tap the epub link in the “Download the full version of this book” section, to the right of the “Download samples” section:


On my Nook, the eBook opened in the reader app right away. On other Android devices, you might have to navigate to the Downloads folder and open the eBook there. If a more Android-savvy reader would like to fill me in, I’ll update this.

Kindle Fire

While people who buy a Kindle aren’t exactly the “boycott Amazon” types, they might want to use Smashwords for other reasons. Fortunately, it’s just as easy to download a MOBI from Smashwords as it is an EPUB on other tablets. (Yes, I know a Kindle Fire uses Android as a base, but Amazon uses a lot of special UI sauce with it, so I count it as a separate type here.)

Start the Silk browser, go to Smashwords, and find your book. Tap the mobi (Kindle) link in the “Download the full version of this book” section, below the “Download samples” section:


The book appears in your carousel, possibly without a cover.

Thoughts?

Do you have a different tablet? Or do you know of a better way? Sound off in the comments.

6 comments:

  1. I have to admit, I like the one-click convenience of getting books onto my e-ink Kindle. I have a Nexus 7 (Android) tablet, but I have rarely used it to read a book. I'll try downloading something from Smashwords onto it though and report back later.

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  2. I must admit that I hardly ever download books, I still prefer the feel of a real time book in my hand, but thanks for the information.

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  3. Thanks for the information, Larry! The one-click from book page to Kindle Fire is a great feature. Everything is right there, located near the Buy option. As it is, Smashwords in many clicks longer, and remembering my password can be obnoxious. They're not nearly as smooth an experience, which is odd since at this point they should be able to rip off the Amazon format. Their site feels years behind.

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  4. I already do this! Or did this, until B&N annoyed me by getting rid of their independent download feature (now you have to use the app). But I've discovered a solution with OverDrive, which my library uses to lend e-books and other media! Also, you can also download public domain and creative commons titles through manybooks.net.

    Great post!

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  5. Hi all!

    Tim, I look forward to hearing about it from you.

    No prob, Patricia!

    Helen, I think I'm the opposite… I think I can count on one hand the paper books I've read since I got a Kindle.

    John, they're definitely behind Amazon in several ways (cough Meatgrinder cough). Still, I see Smoosh as the online equivalent of the indie bookstore; they're not tied to a single ecosystem and they do pay their authors higher royalties than most other stores.

    Ganymeder, could you give a few more details? I downloaded from a Nook HD+ using Chrome, and I didn't have to jump through any hoops. My library has OverDrive has well, which I use to get books for my Kindle (they actually go through the Amazon store for the final part). I guess my instructions would apply to any other site where eBooks are easily available (including gutenberg.org).

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