SmashwordsSmashwords hit another milestone on Monday.

The indie book distributor reached 10 billion words published through its platform. That’s a lot of words.

The 10 billion words are represented by 87,000 authors and 288,000 titles on Smashwords.

The 10 billion mark is nice, but what it represents is more important. Smashwords CEO and founder Mark Coker addressed some of this in his blog on Monday.

It took a little more than four years for the first five billion words to get published through Smashwords. The second five billion mark happened in fewer than two years. It took some time for self-publishing to catch on, even through Smashwords. But Smashwords became a driving force for self-published works. It changed from being a sales outlet to a distributor giving authors the opportunity to have their books placed in a number of different online retail outlets across the globe.

Once it did, it seems as though the self-publishing revolution took a hold of the marketplace.

It’s become a disruptor rather than a nuisance. It has changed the way authors view publishing contracts, and has given them more power in negotiation, and has given a voice to people who may not have otherwise had one.

Does that mean all books are good? Of course not.

If you have read self-published books, you know that some of them are BAD. But Mark Coker says it better than I can:

There’s been a lot of handwringing lately in some circles that self publishing is enabling a deluge of low-quality books. These people are missing the point of self publishing. Self publishing gives writers the freedom to decide when they’ll graduate to become a published author. The gatekeepers are replaced by readers.

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Editor. Writer. Social media specialist. Reader. Video game player. Sports lover. Card Collector. "I used to be a library junkie with books piled on my nightstand. I’d be constantly renewing books until I finished all of them. There had to be a way to escape the clutter. That’s when I discovered e-book apps for my old Blackberry. I bought plenty of books and read and read and read. I even developed what I called ‘Blackberry Eye,’ small wrinkles under my eyes from staring down at my phone all day."

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