Avoiding the Smashwords delay

As an indie author, I self-publish using Smashwords. It’s a fantastic way to make my books available in popular eBook stores, but it comes with a downside: delays. With the recent release of my Vice & Virtue book, Man of the Year, I thought it might be helpful to share my favorite way of avoiding that pesky delay.

A little background info first… Smashwords works as a distributor of sorts, sending your books out to their various retail partners (including B&N, iBooks and Kobo) once they have been “approved” into the Smashwords Premium Catalog. This is great—in theory. Having a one-stop shop for publishing books to multiple retailers is hugely convenient, but each of those retailers have their own set of rules and methods for vetting books. Apple, for example, can take weeks and sometimes even months to add books to iBooks. As my fellow Nook users know, B&N can also be saddled with some annoying delays.

So, how can you get new books on your Nook without having to wait? Well, my friends, that’s where Calibre comes in.

For those who haven’t already heard of this amazing miracle of software, Calibre is an eBook library management tool that works sort of like iTunes. It organizes your books and it will make loading them onto your device (be it a Kindle, Nook, Kobo or other reader) a lot more convenient. Since Smashwords books are all free of DRM, you can pop them into Calibre and easily load them without having to worry about conversions and copyright issues.

Here’s how it works…

Download and install Calibre (note that the software is updated very frequently, so there are always new features being added) and install it on your computer. It works for PC and Mac.

Get Calibre

Download the book from Smashwords. You can get Man of the Year HERE. Choose ePub for Nook and mobi for Kindle. These are the first and second options on the Available Formats list.

Smashwords download formats

Load books into your library. Calibre accepts a wide variety of formats from ePub to PDF to mobi (the non-DRM Kindle format) and many of these are available with your purchase on Smashwords. Simply download the file you want from Smashwords and add it to Calibre. You can add author information, ratings, tags and even change cover art. This is wonderful if you have a massive library because it makes sorting books a lot more convenient.

Add books to Calibre

Plug in your device and simply drag the books you want onto the device icon to copy them over. When you’re done, eject the device in Calibre and you’re good to go.

Here are a couple videos to show you Calibre in action.

This one covers “sideloading” books onto Nook manually or via Calibre on Windows. It’s even easier on a Mac (isn’t everything?) but the basic method is the same.

Here’s one on loading books on Kindle (skip to 1:30)

Here is the simple version:
1.) Download and install Calibre
2.) Go to Smashwords and download the book in your reader’s format
3.) Load the book into Calibre
4.) Plug in your device via USB
5.) Transfer the book to your device
6.) Eject the device and enjoy your new book

I know a lot of my readers use Nooks and I hope this helps with avoiding the delay in getting books directly from B&N. Now you can download the ePub from Smashwords the day it’s published and read it on your Nook within minutes. Even if you don’t use a Nook, I’d recommend Calibre for organizing your books. I use it and I love it.

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