One of the first posts I had ever read on TeleRead was about Smashwords. This is going back several years—the post was about Smashwords’ end of the year address.

I remember the day clearly. I sat in my car, reading the post on my phone while trying to avoid going to the gym. The post discussed the growth of the company, and how indie authors had a place to upload books. This was around 2010, and I was amazed. I didn’t know much about digital self-publishing at the time, and couldn’t believe there was a site out there like Smashwords. I thought about this site throughout my workout.

Well, not only has Smashwords been a place for indie authors to go all these years, but it seems as though the company has no intentions of slowing down.

With recent announcements of expanding its distribution network, Smashwords also let everyone know that it released its 250,000th book last Wednesday, Sept. 4.

“Five years ago when we launched Smashwords, self-publishing was viewed as the option of last resort for writers. Today, it’s becoming the option of first choice,” Smashwords CEO and founder Mark Coker wrote on his blog. “The stigma of self-publishing is melting away as the stigma of traditional publishing increases.”

Smashwords’ growth has been astounding. Check out the chart provided by Smashwords above just to see how quickly the site has grown. It went from 140 books in its first year (2008) to 6,000 total the next. And now it has released its 250,000th book.

As I’ve learned more about the digital publishing world, I must admit part of me is still a bit amazed with it all. People get to have a voice and let their stories out for all the world to see, and read. While some might not always think that’s the best thing, it still gives hope to aspiring authors—and it allows them to dream.


  1. Every now and then I browse Smashwords but I haven’t yet found a book I wanted to read. Nothing in short descriptions have called out to me enough to download a sample. I call it the book sniff test: if it smells good, try it; otherwise put it back. There may be a book in the 250000 I’d like but it’s hidden in heaps.

    Ok. Not 100% true: I did see a “reprint” of a science fiction novel published before the Internet that looked pretty good.

    That said, a lot of the new professional science fiction on Amazon doesn’t pass the sniff test either, but I can still find stuff.

  2. Some of the books I’ve bought off of Smashwords have been backlists of authors I’ve enjoyed. I think one of the issues with Smashwords is the layout of the site. I do love the site, but it just seems cluttered.

The TeleRead community values your civil and thoughtful comments. We use a cache, so expect a delay. Problems? E-mail