I have used Smashwords. I hate Smashwords. They make everything twice as hard as Kindle or Nook.
However, if you jump through their ridiculous hoops your book will be published on iBooks, the Sony ebook store, Kobo, etc. They also are the conduit for getting books on Nook for free. Once they are on Nook for free, there is a chance to get them on other large ebook retailers that don’t permit a price below $0.99.
The book conversion issues I have encountered stem from two things:
• Slavish adherence to their “Style Guide” and
• Inordinate pride in the fading technology of their “Meatgrinder” book conversion app.
I think those problems are rooted in Coker’s ego.
I have a whole list of issues with Smashwords. I’ll provide one example. Others will come later.
The “Style Guide” says only one type of paragraph is allowed, either indented or block (block meaning no indent and with a space between paragraphs). “Style Guide” recommends indented. There are, however, instances when a block paragraph style is needed even when the majority of paragraphs are indented. If some portion text is best centered on the page, to be done correctly, it needs to be block paragraph style. Centering an indented paragraph doesn’t center it on the page, the first line is centered between the indent and the right margin and the rest are centered between the margins on the page. It looks wrong and yes, it makes the book quality poorer—but it slavishly adheres to the “Style Guide”.
In the case of a one line paragraph the result is a “centered” paragraph being slightly cock-eyed to the right on the page/ereader screen. I can think of several cases where centered paragraphs are needed: Centered Chapter Titles, Images, reproduced Newspaper headlines, reproduced Song Lyrics, etc. Even if you make each line a separate paragraph, they’re still misaligned to the right side.
I hear that there is a new kid on the block—Draft2Digital. I’m going to check them out.