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Smashwords Authors Will Earn 60% Royalties from Oyster

Posted on 2013-Oct-29

by Panich Choonhanirunrit (Google+)

Smashwords Distribution


In order to independently publish your eBooks, among the several alternatives Smashwords can be your premium choice considering its dedication to showcase indie authors’ works. Having received the spotlight for its fast and reliable support of the indies, last week’s announcement by Mark Coker might cheer you up this morning

60% Royalties


Known for its pilot project in subscription model, Oyster has teamed up with several publishers to bring their books to their monthly subscribers. Although the number of subscribers remains questionable, Smashwords has reached an exclusive deal with Oyster to pay 60% royalties to authors after the subscribers read more than 10% of the eBook. Although it remains an obscure mystery how the actual number will be paid to authors, this news signals a vibrant future of eBook subscription that seems to be beneficial to both parties: content consumer and distributor.

Financial Reward


Eric Stromberg, Oyster CEO, nevertheless wrote back to reply to the GigaOm writer and stressed that once readers read eBooks, publishers will be paid according to the contract. He also says, “There are several elements that go into determining if a book is read, and the amount they are paid is calculated based on the digital price of that book.” Smashwords uses the same figure when he calculates royalties payment for authors whose eBooks are distributed on Apple and Barnes and Noble.

Better Than Nothing

Mark Coker further shares the experience when Smashwords reached a deal with new vendors how authors who opted in had ‘a fan-building advantage over authors who delay’. New vendors at the time include Kobo, Barnes & Noble, and Apple. Now with Oyster, his voice of reason highlights the legitimate point how authors will at least earn their extra revenue stream from the subscribers on a regular basis.

Best-Seller Trophy

In order to complete the first Oyster’s request, he will provide a spreadsheet that shows the best-selling books that authors have decided to join the Smashwords/Oyster catalog. These titles will undoubtedly be featured in the Oyster app and also serve as a database sheet for Publishers Weekly to compile the best-seller list on their website based on “Smashwords-distributed titles aggregated across the Smashwords distribution network.” Mark concludes that the future sales at Oyster will be tied to the book’s ranking in Publishers Weekly.

Dissenting Voice


FutureBook raises several questions to how general readers will turn up to Oyster’s shelf. If the latest survey about reading says anything at all, perhaps the subscription model will face a big challenge trying to win favor of most readers who averagely read 15 books per year. Since the conversation in the comment section leaves out Smashwords’ catalog integration, perhaps it will be interesting to see how fiction of popular genres will play its role in attracting new subscribers.

Netflix for eBooks

If you have published on Smashwords yet remained to be Oyster’s naysayers, chances are you may want to reconsider the benefit you will get after both CEOs have made their points across. In this preliminary stage of royalties calculation and negotiation, Smashwords makes a bold statement to reward their authors’ hard work. Despite the lack of proof how 60% royalties will turn out to be, at least this additional source of income from Oyster’s monthly subscription will generate buzz for indie author’s eBooks. The more eBooks that are added into the catalog and authors start to embrace this business model, the sooner “Netflix for eBooks” becomes an anticipating reality.

Label: Self-Publishing

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