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E-Book Publisher Smashwords Partners with Barnes & Noble

"We've signed an agreement with Barnes & Noble to distribute Smashwords e-Book titles, all of which are self-published or from small independent presses," CEO Mark Coker told me this afternoon. "As you might imagine, I'm thrilled. It marks the next stage of our development as we evolve to become a full-scale e-Book distributor.

"We originally hoped to do a formal press release on this news rather than release it late on a Friday afternoon, but we needed to give our 1,200+ authors and publishers advance notice so they can prepare their titles for distribution," he continued. "It's tough to ask 1,200 people to keep such an exciting secret a secret, thus the preempted press release and my email to you.

"We currently publish about 2,600 titles, double the number from just four months ago. The books should be listed at B&N properties within the next 30 days or so."

Smashwords is one of those startups I've been watching closely simply because its business model is potentially so disruptive. Unlike with conventional publishing model, authors are able to set the price of their own books, and to retain 85 percent of sales revenue, as opposed to much-smaller fraction available via the royalty model.

Here is a link to a description by Smashwords of how their distribution model works for authors. It is past COB in New York today so I could not rouse anyone from B&N for comment but I'll update this post if I do reach someone there.

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