After watching Amazon make huge headway in the e-book self-publishing game with its Digital Text Platform, Sony is finally making a real push into this area with a new Publisher Portal and partnerships with self-publishing companies Smashwords and Author Solutions.
While Sony stressed that the portal was for large and small publishers alike, it is clear that the company is targeting the announcement at independent publishers.
"New authors can select a self-publishing path and get their work published and for sale on Sony's Reader Store in as little as 10 days," Sony representatives said. "As Sony completes the conversion of its eBook store to the industry-standard EPUB format, Smashwords and Authors Solution will expand the offer to all existing Author Solutions and Smashwords authors to get their titles up on the Sony site."
Author Solutions, one of the larger self-publishing companies, with several brands under its umbrella offers a full suite of self-publishing "services," most of which are fee-based. Meanwhile, start-up Smashwords is focused exclusively on e-book creation and sales, and it is free to use (you simply upload a Word file, make some tweaks to your formatting based on a style guide, and presto, you have an e-book).
According to Sony, Author Solutions and Smashwords will offer authors the option to publish content in the EPUB format, "the International Digital Publishing Forum's XML-based standard format for reflowable digital books and publications." Amazon, on the other hand, uses its proprietary e-book format.
This is obviously good news for self-publishers. When it comes to e-book stores, Sony may not have the traffic that Amazon does, but it certainly offers a large customer base of avid readers interested in e-books.