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Draft2Digital Acquires Smashwords

General Business Answers

What’s the name of the merged company?

The two companies will operate under the name of Draft2Digital. In the near term, Smashwords will continue to operate under its current name. Over time, Draft2Digital will become the name of the publishing platform, and Smashwords will remain as the brand for the Smashwords Store.

When will the acquisition complete?

The close of the acquisition is expected to happen on March 1, 2022, after which the work of integrating the two companies begins.

What will the combined company look like?

Following the acquisition, Draft2Digital will represent a combined 250,000 authors and publishers that use the company’s tools to publish, distribute, and manage over 880,000 ebooks and 11,000 print books (and growing). The combined company will employ over thirty people across the United States and Canada, and will maintain its corporate headquarters in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Why are the companies merging?

The decision to merge came down to a simple question: Can we drive greater success for our authors, publishers, and sales channels by working together, or by working apart as competitors?

To answer this question, we considered:

  • Both companies share common roots, missions, and values
  • Both companies were founded by writers to empower writers to become professional publishers
  • Both companies are expert at building free and powerful self-serve tools for authors
  • We’ve both built sophisticated distribution systems that help booksellers and libraries efficiently stock, merchandise and sell indie books
  • Both companies have built profitable businesses
  • We each built our successful businesses not by selling services to authors, but by helping authors and publishers publish, distribute, and market with greater efficiency and success

All of this led to our decision to merge both companies. The resources we once invested in building duplicative systems can now be redeployed to do more for all authors.

What does the acquisition mean for existing store and library partners?

As the leading distributors of independently published ebooks, both companies have always worked in close partnership with major ebook retailers and library platforms to help them list, promote, and profit from the amazing diversity of indie ebooks. We help our authors succeed by helping our sales partners succeed!

Is the new Draft2Digital looking to expand its distribution network to new sales partners?

Absolutely! As a distributor, we’re always looking to support promising new booksellers and bookselling models. Given the size of our catalog, we can give new sales partners the critical mass they need to build businesses around our authors’ books. Draft2Digital and Smashwords have rigorous qualification procedures to ensure that new sales partners meet our high standards and requirements.

Potential sales partners can ask to be connected to the Draft2Digital Operations team at support@draft2digital.com.

What happens to the staff at both companies?

This is an acquisition of opportunity, not necessity. Because we are two successful companies coming together, all Smashwords employees, including founder Mark Coker, are joining the D2D team, and the D2D team will remain intact.

Kris Austin, co-founder of Draft2Digital, will serve as CEO of the combined company, and Mark Coker will join the senior management team as Chief Strategy Officer and board member.

Is the new Draft2Digital Now Hiring?

Yes! New growth means new opportunities!

Know any great software developers or customer support professionals who want to join our growing company? Visit https://draft2digital.com/careers to learn more.

Authors & Publishers

What happens next for the authors and publishers of both companies?

As of March 1, 2022, if you’re an author or publisher with either Draft2Digital or Smashwords, there’s nothing you need to do; it will be business as usual. Over time, publishing and distribution systems for both Smashwords and Draft2Digital will be integrated onto the Draft2Digital website.

As a result, authors with both services will gain big benefits:

  • New sales partners will become available to authors.
  • D2D authors and publishers will be able to list and sell their books in the Smashwords Store.
  • D2D authors will also gain access to exclusive book marketing tools from Smashwords, including Smashwords Coupons, the patent-pending Smashwords Presales tool, Author Interviews, and self-serve merchandising in the Smashwords Store.
  • The Smashwords publishing platform operations and publisher Dashboard will be merged into Draft2Digital’s, with the goal of preserving the best capabilities of each.

At each stage of the integration, we’ll aim to make the transition as smooth and effortless as possible for our combined authors, publishers, store and library partners, and readers.

How will the acquisition affect my books in distribution?

We will work with our sales partners to minimize any impact on book listings, listing web addresses, and reviews.

Each company distributes to sales outlets not reached by the other. Will I have access to all sales channels?

Yes! Once our distribution systems are merged, authors will be able to opt-in to any and all sales and library partners currently offered by either Draft2Digital or Smashwords.

Each company’s ebook publishing process is slightly different. How will the process change for me if I prefer one or the other?

We’re combining approaches to give you more options and flexibility!

Both companies allow authors and publishers to upload a professionally designed .epub file. However, the way each company handles conversion from Word or RTF files is a bit different.

We will be preserving both the granular flexibility of custom manuscript styling from Smashwords and the streamlined, automated professional layout and templates from Draft2Digital. This means that authors and publishers get the best of both worlds, with options to use either method.

Can you summarize the unique tool sets of each company that you anticipate making available to all authors?

Yes! Both companies offer robust tools for:

  • Distribution
  • Marketing
  • Sales reporting
  • Tax reporting
  • Metadata management

When these tools are integrated, Draft2Digital will seek to combine the best elements of each.

Both companies also offer unique tools not offered by the other.

Smashwords authors and publishers can expect to gain access to:

  • Simpler publishing tools; tools for automated end-matter
  • Books2Read Universal Book Links (UBLs), Author Pages, Book Tabs, and Reading Lists
  • D2D Print for POD paperbacks (Visit draft2digital.com/printbeta to be included in the beta)
  • D2D Payment Splitting for co-authors and collaborations
  • New payment options, including direct bank deposits

D2D authors and publishers can expect to gain access to:

  • The Smashwords Store
  • Smashwords Coupons
  • Smashwords Presales
  • Self-serve merchandising
  • Author Interviews

D2D erotic romance and erotica authors will also gain access to the Smashwords erotica certification system (see next item).

What are the erotic fiction policies of the new company?

Each retailer, subscription service, or library platform has its own content policies. Draft2Digital will adopt the existing Smashwords erotic fiction policies for these platforms.

A few years ago, Smashwords introduced a certification system that allows erotic fiction publishers to self-certify the presence (or lack thereof) of various facets of erotica that are generally recognized as “taboo.” This more granular categorization provides retailers and libraries with the confidence they need to know that the erotic literature they're selling doesn’t violate their policies.

The Smashwords Erotic Fiction Certification System will be made available to all Draft2Digital authors.

Will the erotica policies change in the Smashwords Store?

Smashwords has a long history of supporting the erotic fiction community. No changes are anticipated to the policies documented at https://www.smashwords.com/about/tos, nor have there been any changes in the last four years.

The policies on permitted, discouraged, and forbidden erotica categories remain in effect. The Smashwords Store has a more permissive approach to taboo erotica than most ebook stores. The store gives customers unprecedented control over the types of erotica, if any, that appear in their search results.

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