Usage surges at Smashwords and Wattpad

Usage surges at Smashwords and Wattpad

Self-publishing platform Smashwords and online writing platform Wattpad have both reported large year-on-year increases in engagement for 2013.

Smashwords published more than 275,000 titles in 2013, up 45% from the year before, and authors’ sales hit $20m (£12.1m), while Wattpad said visitors to its website spent a total of 41 billion minutes on the platform in 2013, doubling engagement from the year before.

Wattpad said that 85% of the time spent on its website is via a phone or tablet device, and half of its writers have written a story from a phone or tablet. Users spend an average of 30 minutes per session on the site, and writers added 20 million new story uploads in 2013.

Achievements included Welsh writer Beth Reekles, whose Wattpad story The Kissing Booth has had 19 million views, being named one of TIME’s Most Influential Teens of 2013, while Hertfordshire author Kirsty Moseley, who wrote Nothing Left to Lose, was Breakout Author on iBooks for 2013.

Allen Lau, Wattpad co-counder and c.e.o., said: “We’ve redefined what it means to be a reader by empowering a new generation to read, create and shape the stories that matter to them, all from their mobile devices.

“We’ve seen major growth in 2013 thanks to the incredibly active Wattpad community. We expect an even bigger year ahead, and ultimately, a future where millions of original stories are created every day.”

Meanwhile, in his year in review blog post, Smashwords’ founder Mark Coker also revealed that 25,000 new authors joined the site in 2013.

Among the company’s notable business milestones, Coker said, was that authors’ sales grew by 33% from $15m in 2012.

Other achievements noted by Coker included a redesigned website, a pre-order distribution service, and expanded distribution through partnerships with bookseller Flipkart in India, and subscription e-book services Oyster and Scribd.

For 2014, Coker said Smashwords would work to give authors “improved control over more aspects of your distribution” and would overhaul its reporting systems.

Coker also said there were “projects so secret” he could not hint at them, but that they would be “focused on making Smashwords a more powerful publishing and distribution platform that gives our authors real advantage in the marketplace”.