This is by no means a comprehensive list, but a list of a few that I saw referenced in a blog and got curious.  I was already seriously considering Smashwords for ebook publishing... still am.  But I thought I would put together a comparison so my reading writers can make their own minds about what is right for them.


Smashwords has probably become a leader in the Indie ebook publishing market.  They have everything a (and this is the key part) self-motivated  writer needs to get started.  It is the bare bones service it'll take to get your polished manuscript into ebook formats in as many markets as possible.

  • Completely free
  • Wide range of ebook formats including HTML, JAVA, ePub, MOBI (Kindle), PDF, LRF (Older model Sony eReaders), PDB (Palm), plain text, and RTF.
  • Wide range of distributors including Apple iBooks, Barnes & Noble, Diesel ebooks, Kobo, Sony Reader Store, Baker & Taylor's, Aldiko, Stanza, and, of course, Smashwords.
  • Relatively fast and straight-forward process for converting to ebook formats.
  • The books have no DRMs, allowing for less hassle for your readers.
  • They will give you names of third party vendors to go to that won't break the bank.

  • No additional services like cover art, editing, formatting and et cetera.
  • Conversion service is completely automated and relies on the author to get it right (or whoever the writer pays to format the book).
  • The books have no DRMs, increasing the potential for piracy (if you are concerned about that... I am not).
  • Distribution through Amazon is currently down, however a writer can easily publish the book through Amazon's own services reasonably enough so this isn't too much of a hurdle.


FastPencil has a free service, like with Smashwords, however they also have packages that allow a writer who isn't as comfortable going it on her own to get the services she wants to get her book to her audience.

  • Extensive services like custom covers, interior book design, editorial reviews, formatting reviews, and et cetera.
  • Packages can be tailored to match the writers needs.

  • Costs $299 to get the same distribution Smashwords give the writer for free.
  • A writer could probably find many of the same services from Third Party Vendors for less, especially if she can negotiate a bartering of services.
  • Can't even get a free ebook unless you pay for a certain tier package.

Your Ebook Team:

Your Ebook Team is a lot like FastPencil in the type of service it gives, although this publisher seems more focused on the success of the writer than milking you for every last dime of your budget.  One of the things I found interesting about this one is that they claim to work with you even after the book is published to make it a success.  This is a one package deal, with variability is cost being largely due to the amount of editing required.  That being said, it doesn't say anywhere on the site how much it costs to use their service.

  • Full service from start to finish - by far the most user friendly service.  The writer has no question as to what she needs.  It's all included.
  • 25 complimentary paper books (didn't see that anywhere else).
  • They help you build a marketing plan and implement it.
  • Is both ebook and print.

  • I have no idea how much this service costs...

Book Stub:

Not a publisher, but a unique service.  Book stub allows you to sell your ebooks in person by basically selling vouchers with the book cover on it.  Afterwards, the reader can redeem the voucher from a participating service.

  • Could potentially boost sales by allowing writers to sell ebooks at events.

  • New and limited availability.  Only available on the following imprints: AuthorHouse, Abbot Press, Balboa Press, booktango, Inspiring Voices, iUniverse, Palibrio, Responder Media, Trafford Publishing, and West Bow Press.

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