This post is going to talk about a new digital publishing aggregator, Draft2Digital. An aggregator is a company which distributes an ebook to various online booksellers, such as Barnes & Noble and Apple, instead of the author having to have an account with each bookseller and distributing their ebook themselves.
Draft2Digital are still in beta, however people can sign up right now to use them, and my experience has been fantastic. I have previously used Smashwords for a long time, and still use them for a couple of my books. But I think Draft2Digital is a far superior company.
• Draft2Digital distribute to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple and Kobo. They are looking into more companies. They also have an experimental option to turn your ebook into a paperback for Createspace.
• You can upload a Word doc, which they’ll convert into an epub and mobi file for you, or you can upload your own epub directly. I uploaded Word docs for all my 7 books, and I find their conversion process creates a wonderful epub file which looks great and works wonderfully.
• Sales figures are reported hourly, daily for Apple. You get your sales figures every day! This is hugely different to Smashwords, where you can wait weeks, if not months for your sales figures, with no explanation as to why there is such a long wait.
• They pay via PayPal, direct deposit or check, including for international customers. Minimum $10 for digital payments, $25 for checks. You’re paid monthly, however the bookseller can take up to 60 days to pay Draft2Digital.
• Customer service is extremely good – they even have a phone number. They usually respond to emails within 24 hours, and you receive a detailed, researched response. Obviously when they’re not in beta and they have more customers they may take longer to get back to you, but if you’re stuck you can call them to find out what’s going on.
• Distribution – when your books goes live on a website you receive an email with a link to your book’s page. Barnes & Noble and Kobo books appear very quickly – Apple can take a while sometimes but can also be very quick.
• You can set your book’s price to free for Apple and Kobo, but NOT Barnes & Noble and Amazon. If you use them for Barnes & Noble or Amazon, the cheapest you can set your book to is 99c.
Switching from Smashwords to Draft2Digital:
• Barnes & Noble: If you switch your ebook from Smashwords to Draft2Digital, you WON’T lose your ratings and reviews on Barnes and Noble. You’re supposed to wait for the Draft2Digital version of your book to go up, then de-list the Smashwords version. You also keep your also-boughts (list of books other people have bought as well as yours). You WILL, however, lose your sales ranking, and be effectively starting over with that.
• Apple: If you switch your ebook from Smashwords to Draft2Digital, you’ll lose everything. Ratings, reviews, also-boughts, position on the charts. You’ll be starting over with a new listing. This can be a bit of a distaster, and as a result I’ve kept one of my books with Smashwords for distribution to Apple only.
• Kobo: I never used Kobo with Smashwords so I don’t have information about them.
• Amazon: If you switch from KDP to Draft2Digital, you’ll lose everything. Reviews, also-boughts, and sales ranking. You’ll be starting over with a new listing. I wouldn’t suggest using Draft2Digital for Amazon unless it’s a new book.
• Draft2Digital royalties are listed on this page: https://www.draft2digital.com/pricing/
• To clarify, “preferred status” is for books priced $2.99 or higher. Books priced less than $2.99 won’t received “preferred status,” so will be paid the lower royalty.
• Barnes & Noble royalties for books priced less than $2.99 aren’t as good as Smashwords. You receive 34% instead of 60%, which is significantly less. However for books priced $2.99 or more royalties are virtually the same as Smashwords for all retailers. For books priced less than $2.99 it’s really only Barnes & Noble where we lose out.
• Pros: If you’re starting out with a new book, I highly recommend Draft2Digital. Customer service is excellent, you get your sales figures every day, which is amazing, and you can be paid however you like, even if you’re an international customer. The epub files look amazing, the website is easy to use and attractive, and the staff are a joy to deal with.
• Cons: If you have books already distributed by Smashwords, you can lose ratings, reviews and more if you switch to Draft2Digital, as detailed above. If your books don’t have a lot of ratings and reviews switching should be fine, but if your books are already selling well and have a lot of reviews I don’t recommend switching. In addition, not being able to set your book’s price to free for Barnes & Noble is a real pain. I have my free book distributed to Barnes & Noble via Smashwords, and Apple via Draft2Digital. Another downside is the lower royalties for Barnes & Noble for cheaper books, but I’ll trade higher royalties for a company who communicates well and isn’t a nightmare to deal with.
I LOVE Draft2Digital. I hate Smashwords. Smashwords is a bit of a distaster in terms of communication and customer service, I don’t really like their meat grinder program, and they don’t seem invested in improving their company. Draft2Digital is a wonderful company, and any downsides I have listed above I’m more than happy to deal with, as the positives are so great. If you’re a new author and are looking for a company to distribute your ebooks, I highly recommend Draft2Digital. Honestly, avoid Smashwords unless you’re already stuck with them. Trust me. You won’t regret it.