Smashwords, libraries, and the [new] culture of authorship

Libraries have traditionally promoted a culture of learning and a culture of books. Now they have the opportunity to promote a culture of authorship. — Mark Coker, founder of Smashwords

In our time, late in the second decade of the 21st century, libraries have an opportunity to not only continue their traditional mission of providing books and encouraging literacy, but of extending that tradition into a new world of library-based publishing in which the library grows beyond being the locus of literacy in its community and transforms itself into the champion of the creative force of authorship.

As I have been writing these articles on Indies in the Library™, the word “Smashwords” keeps coming up. Especially, as I wrote the last article, about educating indie authors on how to work with libraries, I realized that the Smashwords’ technology and distribution platform solves two of the largest barriers to libraries acquiring indie ebooks: putting the books into library distribution channels and getting them into ebook platforms that patrons are already comfortable with. I wanted to talk with the person who had the vision to create this.

Kat Brooks of IndiesUnlimited knows Mark Coker, founder of Smashwords, and was kind enough to make an email introduction. Mark and I then managed to schedule a phone call. He has a very busy schedule speaking, not only at writers’ conferences, but at library conferences and even at individual libraries that are developing their programs to work with indie authors. I was eager to hear his thoughts on indie publishing and on the future of publishing and libraries. Continue reading Smashwords, libraries, and the [new] culture of authorship