Self-publishing platform Smashwords has introduced what it calls ‘Assetless Preorders’ for e-books. While the platform has allowed authors and small press publishers a preorder feature for nearly two years, it required the load up of finalised e-book files. Smashwords founder Mark Coker revealed in a blog post last week that fewer than 10% of e-books released on the platform used the existing preorder feature.
Despite the poor adoption, over the last 12 months Smashwords books born as preorders accounted for 7 of our top 10 bestsellers and 67% of our top 200 bestsellers. When you consider how such a small fraction of books accounted for an outsize percentage of bestsellers, you begin to realize something special is happening here.
Coker believes the lack of adoption was down to authors having to provide completed e-book files to establish a preorder. The new assetless preorder option will allow authors and publishers to list a book for preorder with Barnes & Noble, Kobo and iBooks for up to one year just by supplying the book title, description, price, release date and the category of book. These details can also be changed at any time during the preorder period.