|Smashwords Support Center FAQ: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions |
Getting Started with Smashwords
What is Smashwords?
Smashwords is a global ebook distributor serving authors, publishers, readers and major ebook retailers. We distribute books to Apple iBooks (51 countries), Barnes & Noble, Kobo (which powers the bookstores of multiple other retailers such as FNAC in France and WH Smith in the U.K.), OverDrive, Flipkart, Oyster, txtr, Baker & Taylor (Blio.com and the Axis360 library platform), and others.
What does Smashwords offer readers?
Smashwords offers book lovers an opportunity to discover thousands of independently published ebooks. We offer affordably priced ebooks for immediate sampling, purchase and download. Most Smashwords books are readable on any e-reading device. One purchase and you gain access to multiple formats.
What are ebooks?
Ebooks are simply books in digital form, readable on your computer or on other reading devices such as your iPhone (or other smart phone), iPad, Barnes & Noble Nook, the Amazon Kindle reader, the Kobo Reader, and many other devices. Once you purchase a book on Smashwords, you can read it any way you like, and you can even print it out on your home computer if that's what you prefer.
I signed up but haven't received my account activation email. What do I do next?
Usually within five minutes of registering, you will receive an account activation email. Click on the hyperlink in the email to complete your registration. If you don't receive the email within 10 minutes, most likely your email program or email provider has misidentified the email as spam. Look in your spam box. The second most common reason you won't receive the email is that you gave us the wrong email address, in which case you should re-register. Please configure your email so all email coming from Smashwords.com is on your "safe list." However, if none of the above tips help you locate the email, try re-registering, and if that still doesn't work please contact us at the support link at the top of any page.
I'm trying to re-register, but the system tells me my email address is already taken?
This means you already successfully completed your registration by clicking the account activation hyperlink we emailed to you. All you need to do now is sign in with your email address and password. If you forgot your password, click the "forgot password?" link to generate a new one.
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Reading, Sampling and Buying Books on Smashwords
What are the benefits of registering for an account?
When you register for a free account, we create for you a private, permanent online library where you can conveniently access your purchased books in any of the many available ebook formats. An account also allows you to leave reviews and save money with Smashwords coupons (issued by the author/publisher).
How do I sample a book?
We offer two online readers that allow you to sample books, and we also allow you to download book samples in various ebook formats. The author determines what percentage of the book is available for sample. If you like the sample, please support the author and purchase the book.
How do I purchase a book?
First, register for a free account. This allows us to create a permanent online library where you can access your purchased books in any format. At the top right of every book page is a shopping cart logo. Simply click on it to purchase the book and then enter your credit card information and follow the simple instructions.
How do I access my shopping cart?
When you purchase a book, you click the shopping cart icon on the upper right side of the page and it takes you to your shopping cart. To access your shopping cart at other times, here's the direct link: http://www.smashwords.com/cart/review/
How do I access a book I purchased?
How do I read books on my iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad?
Go to the Apple App store and download the free iBooks app. Once installed, use the Safari browser from your device to navigate to Smashwords.com where you'll sign into your Smashwords account. After you purchase a book, click to your Library. Next, click to the book you want to read, then scroll down the book's book page to download your book as an .epub file. Your iOS (Apple) device will give you the option to open the book in the iBooks app. Click that. Voila! It'll open in your iBooks app. Alternatively, you can also try the free BlueFire reader, also in the App store. If you have other favorite e-reading apps installed, it may also give you the option to open the books in your other e-reading apps as well.
How can I read a Smashwords ebook on my desktop or laptop?
EPUB - Download and install the free Adobe Digital Editions (for PCs and Laptops). In addition to being a great e-reading app for desktop computers, Adobe Digital Editions is useful for Smashwords authors who want to inspect their epub files. For Apple iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch/Mac, download the free Apple iBooks app from the iTunes app store, or consider other great free apps such as Bluefire or FB Reader (all available in the Apple App store). For Android devices, download Aldiko, a free e-reading app.
MOBI (Kindle) - Use Kindle for PC (reads .mobi), Kindle for Mac (reads .mobi) or the popular FBReader (reads .epub, .txt, .mobi and multiple other formats).
PDF - Use Adobe Acrobat. Most computers come pre-installed with Adobe Acrobat (if not, click here to download it for free).
RTF - Read in any word processor.
After you install one of the above apps, simply return to your Smashwords Library, click to the book you want to download, then click to download the appropriate file format. Your web browser should ask you if you want to use the app to read immediately, or if you want to download the book to your computer (if you download to your computer, the Desktop is a good location to drop the file so you can find it). Please note there are many third party e-reading software applications, and Smashwords cannot provide you customer support on how to install or use them. Most have online help files.
How do I read books on my Android device?
Download the Aldiko app from the Google Play store. Then use your web browser to navigate to the Smashwords store at www.smashwords.com, then sign in to your Smashwords accout (or create a free account if you don't yet have an account), and then after you purchase the book you'll find it in your Smashwords Library.
I enjoy reading samples on my Aldiko reader on Android, but I'm getting an error on the purchased book
Before you download the full purchased version, try deleting the partial sample from your Aldiko reader. This usually solves the problem.
How do I download books to my Kindle or Kindle Fire?
You'll find links to all your purchased books in your Smashwords Library. There are two options for loading Smashwords ebook content to your Kindle or Kindle Fire:
1. USB Connection. Plug your Kindle into the USB slot (small rectangular slot) of your computer using the cable that came with your Kindle (the Kindle Fire doesn't come standard with the USB cable, so you'll need to obtain the cable separately, or, use the email option described in #2 below). When you attach your Kindle to your computer via the USB cable, it makes your Kindle appear as a hard drive on your computer. After you purchase the book, from the book's book page click to download the "Kindle" .MOBI format. Next, navigate to where you see the Kindle show up as a hard drive on your computer. Next, just drop the book's file (it should end in file name of .mobi) to the Kindle's "documents" folder. Then disconnect the Kindle from your computer and the book will be ready to read. If you already downloaded the .MOBI file to your computer, here's a helpful YouTube video that shows how to drag the file from your desktop to the Kindle's documents folder: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7UPOgXDYj3M (video not produced by Smashwords).
2. Email the Ebook to Your Kindle Email Address: For both first generation Kindles and the newest Kindle Fire, you can email your Smashwords .mobi files to your Kindle email address. Amazon's support page provides complete details. To email files to first generation Kindles (Kindles other than the Kindle Fire), click here: http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=200140600. For Kindle Fire only, Click here for how to set up your free Kindle email address, and how to load ebooks or email ebooks to your Kindle Fire using either the email or USB cable method.
How do I download books to my Kindle from my Mac?
First, go to your web browser's Preferences and click Downloads. Make sure to click on the box that directs your browser to ask you where you want to save downloads. If you don't do this first step, your files may go to your Downloads folder, and then it will be difficult to move them to your Kindle. Next, connect your Kindle to your Mac using the USB cable that came with your Kindle. Next, click to your Smashwords Library to find the link for your purchased book. Then click to download the .MOBI file. When your browser asks where you want to save the file, navigate to your Kindle's "Documents" folder, and drop the file there. After a few seconds, unplug your Kindle's USB cable and you're ready to read.
How do I add an ebook to my Kindle App on Android?
Download the .mobi version of your ebook to your computer (remember where you put it). Plug your Android device via USB into your computer. On your Android device set it to 'USB storage' this may be a pop up query, but you may have to activate it from you device settings. Navigate from your computer to the /kindle folder and copy the .mobi file here. Eject or dismount your phone safely from the computer before disconnecting the cable. And don't forget to uncheck the 'USB storage' button on your Android device (Thanks to Smashwords customer Darold Dickey for contributing this FAQ).
I tried to download an updated version of a MOBI ebook, but only the old version is showing
Before you try to download a newer version of a MOBI file to your Kindle or Kindle for XX (XX= PC, Mac, Android, etc) app, delete the old MOBI file from your app or device, then try again.
I tried to download a MOBI book to my Kindle with the instructions above, but it's not showing
First, make sure you're placing the file into the Kindle's "Documents" folder. In some situations, if you power down the Kindle and restart it, the file transfer will work.
How do I download books to the Sony Reader?
Sony is no longer an ebook retailer, yet many readers continue to use the Sony Reader to read ebooks. The Sony Reader supports the EPUB format. Here's the step-by-step: 1. Plug your Sony Reader into your computer using the USB cable that came with your Reader. You'll know the Sony Reader is connected when you see the Reader Library software pop up on your screen. 2. Go to your web browser, and click to the Smashwords Library where you can click to the book page for the book you want to download. Scroll down the page to the table of download options. 3. Click to download the EPUB version. 4. Your browser should pop up a window asking if you want to open the file with the Reader software, or if you want to save the file. 5. Select the save option, which will allow you to download it. 6. Next, navigate your system directory (PC users: Click My Computer), where you'll see your Sony Reader appear as a hard drive labeled as READER: E (or some other letter), then click READER, then click the directory for Database, then click the directory for Books. This is where you'll save the file. After you save the file there, wait about 30 seconds and then you can unplug the Reader from the USB cable and your book is ready to read.
How do I download books to the Barnes & Noble Nook?
Barnes & Noble is an authorized Smashwords retailer, so over 40,000 of the books you see at Smashwords are also for sale at B&N. For the Nook, just attach the Nook to your personal computer via the USB cable (makes it appear as a hard drive), and then download your books directly to your Nook's My Documents folder. B&N calls the process "sideloading." Here's a video on the process: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/nook/video.asp?bnit=H&bnrefer=EBOOKS&cds2Pid=30195#vid2
How do I download books to my Kobo Reader?
Connect your Kobo Reader to your computer using the USB cable and then drag and drop books to add them to your library. After you connect your Kobo Reader to your computer using the USB cable, tap Connect on your Kobo Reader screen. When Windows prompts you for an action, select ‘Open folder to view files.’ A window should open, showing the contents of your device. In another window, go to the location of your ebooks on your computer and drag and drop then into the Kobo library window. These instructions are excerpted from Kobo's online documentation. If you have better instructions, please contact us via the "?" question mark link above.
Do I get charged for reading a sample?
No, samples are free.
Are books returnable if I don't like them?
No. All sales are final. This is why most authors allow you to sample much of their book for free so you can try before you buy.
Can I share my book with friends?
No. Smashwords books are licensed for your personal reading enjoyment only, so you are not legally allowed to copy, share, or email the book to others, and you are not allowed to resell or distribute the book to others. Smashwords authors are trusting you to honor their copyright and hard work, so please do not breach their trust in you. However, most authors offer generous samples of their books, so if you want to share a legal sample of the book, simply email your friends the hyperlink to the book page of the book, or use one of the social networking links to share a link of the book with friends on Facebook, Twitter and other sites.
How do I review a book?
Anyone who has purchased a Smashwords book is able to review it by clicking back to the book page. Below the different file format options is a link where you can review the book. Remember to select a star rating as well. Once you review a book, a link to your profile page appears in your review, and your review also appears on your personal profile page. If a book is free, anyone can review it. If you do not see the review link, it means you haven't purchased the book yet. Authors are not able to review their own books.
Can I publish book excerpts on my blog?
Bloggers can excerpt a small portion of an author's book for review purposes. For further information on excerpts and re-distribution, see the Smashwords Terms of Service.
Is it safe to enter my credit card online?
When you purchase through Smashwords, we create a secure communications connection between your web browser and our payment processing provider, PayPal. For your security, Smashwords does not store your credit card information after your purchase. Separate from Smashwords, it is recommended as a general safe computing practice that you maintain current security software on your computer. Good free anti-virus applications include Avast!, AVG and Malwarebytes.
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Click the item to find your answers on the Smashwords site itself:
Getting Started Read ebooks on your personal computer Downloading to Apple iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch
Downloading to the Kindle, Kindle Fire,
Downloading to the Barnes & Noble Nook, and Kobo
Smashwords Affiliate Program
Privacy and Security
Other Questions How can I help support Smashwords and its authors? How do I change the email address for my Smashwords account?
Glossary of Ebook Terminology