Smashwords vs. Amazon

You have the material, now you want to publish it. But where? This is when Smashwords and Amazon come into the picture. The latter publishes for KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing). I have done research online, and reviews vary differently some from authors who are earning through Smashwords, and others who established a name with readers and are making money through Amazon.

For such a long time, Amazon has dominated the market for authors who self-publish their books, until Smashwords and other eBook publishing platforms were developed. Aspiring independent writers like us want to choose what is best, but we cannot determine without the comparison.

How are they different?


Smashwords require you to prepare a formatted manuscript which follows their style guide, or else they cannot distribute your book. All versions of Microsoft Word, Word 2000 and 2003 work well since files are in .doc format.

With Amazon, the steps are simple to follow. You can have it in Word, considering the necessary indentations, text and paragraph spacing. Amazon will convert your Word document for the Kindle.


After saving the manuscript and once you are satisfied with the quality and presentation of your book, you can upload the Word file to KDP. Amazon gives you the advantage to get to the market fast as publishing takes less than a day.  After which all the features of the book becomes available on the detail page.

Once you’ve had the manuscript laid out specifically for Smashwords, you can upload it easily.

Of the 2 platforms, it is easier to upload on Amazon.

Access to the market

Smashwords allows you to publish your book in any format though there are some complaints regarding the formatting process. It allows your eBooks to be seen in Barnes and Noble, Apple, and Kindle. More exposure means greater chances of success for authors.

Amazon’s KDP select program offers free promotion, which means a lot for new writers. Authors who enroll their books on KDP Select gives the book exclusively to Amazon for 90 days. They will send emails to readers who read the same genre of books. Members of Kindle Unlimited may borrow the book and you’ll earn a royalty. You can still opt to publish your book on Amazon without enrolling the book on KDP select. Then you can publish the book anywhere you want.

Sales and Royalties

Amazon lets you choose whether you want to receive either 35% or 70% royalty for your list price that comes with each unit sold. The rates differ depending on the country or if you are enrolled in KDP select.

Smashwords, on the other hand, pays between 60 to 80% as royalties. They have the option through pay via Paypal. Unlike Amazon who sends royalties via bank transfer or cheque.

Publishing in Amazon is simply necessary due to its vast customer base. The best thing to do is to enroll in KDP select, and enjoy the benefits for three months. After that, publish it to Smashwords and enjoy worldwide distribution. The choice is up to you.

To know more about how to self-publish a book, you can check out my eBook, A Quick Guide to Self-Publishig eBooks at

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