By Mark Coker

Bowker has ranked Smashwords the largest US producer of indie ebooks in 2012 according to their new annual Self Publishing Report for 2012.

Smashwords was also ranked as the second largest producer of self-published books after CreateSpace when counting the combined production of both print books and ebooks (Smashwords doesn’t do print).

Bowker, the ISBN registrar here in the US, bases their data on ISBN registrations.  Although their data set doesn’t include non-ISBN’d books, it represents the industry’s most comprehensive measure of the rise of self-publishing and the rise of ebooks. 92% of Smashwords ebooks carry an ISBN.

According to Bowker’s analysis of U.S. ISBN data, the number of self-published titles in 2012 jumped to more than 391,000, up 59 percent over 2011 and 422 percent over 2007.

Bowker says ebooks continued to gain on print, comprising 40 percent of the ISBNs that were self-published in 2012, up from just 11 percent in 2007.

Although I’m pleased to see Smashwords come in at number one, I’m even more excited about what Bowker’s overall data says about the rise of self-publishing.  Indie authors are taking publishing matters into their own hands.

The three most essential requirements of professional publishing – the printing press, the access to retail distribution, and how-to knowledge of professional publishing best practices – are now freely available to all indie authors.  Smashwords is committed to providing writers these tools.

Any writer, anywhere in the world, now has the freedom to publish without a publisher, and can do so at little to no cost.  As indie ebook authors, these writers can enjoy faster time to market, greater creative control, closer relationships with readers, greater price-competitiveness, better marketing and promotion tools, and royalty rates four to five times higher than they’d get from traditional publishers.

The day will come when more writers aspire to indie publish rather than traditionally publish.  Is the industry ready?

Congrats to every Smashwords author and publisher.  You’re changing the world of publishing one indie ebook at a time.

Download the Bowker report for free at their SelfPublishedAuthor blog.

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