Preemptive Opt Out


Please carefully review the following cautions and instructions before using this tool. Inappropriate use of this tool will harm sales of your books.

CAUTION: This tool will automatically opt all your titles out of future, as-of-yet unannounced distribution channels. We do not recommend you use this tool except in very rare situations where you do not want expanded global distribution.

Background on this tool:  Smashwords is an ebook distributor. Our mission is to create new opportunities for our authors and publishers to reach new readers, and we fulfill this mission by carefully vetting and signing on new qualified retailers to the Smashwords distribution network. In the months and years ahead, you can expect that Smashwords will add many new and exciting global distribution opportunities for our authors and publishers.

The technical integration, testing and partner certification work to bring on a new retail partner is extremely complex, and often starts weeks or months in advance of the public announcement of our partnership with the distribution channel. To facilitate this advance work, and to help our authors' books appear soon-after the public announcement, we often ship test files to the partner in advance of the announcement.

As we promise in the Smashwords Terms of Service, all Smashwords authors and publishers receive automatic distribution to these new channels for their Premium Catalog titles.  Our authors expect this of us, and this expectation is backed up by the fact that fewer than two percent of authors opt out of new channels for which Smashwords is the only option for reaching that new channel.  Also as we promise in the ToS, we will always provide you at least 48 hours advance notification via email of new channels so you have the opportunity to opt of out of these channels before books appear for sale in the partner's store.

This preemptive opt out option prevents your books from shipping to all new, as-of-yet unannounced distribution partners.


We do not recommend using this tool for the following reasons:

  1. All your books will be prevented from shipping to future retailers.
  2. If you later decide to distribute your titles to the new retailers, you must manually opt your books in one-by-one.
  3. Even if you manually opt your book(s) in at a later date, your book(s) will appear at the new store later than all other Smashwords authors who maintained their automatic opt-in status.  Experience has shown that authors who arrive at the retailer first sell more books than latecomers.
  4. If you forget to opt your titles in to new channels, you will miss out on the expanded sales opportunities.
  5. This is an all or nothing tool. You cannot selectively preemptively opt out individual titles with this tool. If you use this tool, you are preemptively opting out all your titles from all future, as-of-yet unannounced channels.



Q: Why did Smashwords create this tool if it thinks the tool is a poor choice for most authors?

A:  At Smashwords, we're committed to giving our authors and publishers total control over their books and their distribution. Some authors and publishers have legitimate reasons to limit their distribution. If an author or publisher wants to preemptively opt out of future channels, we want to give them this freedom.

Q: Under what circumstances would it make sense for an author to use this Preemptive Opt Out tool?

A: We foresee a few scenarios in which the tool could make sense for some authors:

  1. If you have sold digital rights to your titles to traditional publishers for certain territories or countries, you may be contractually obligated to not distribute titles to those countries and therefore you'd want to mitigate any risk of distribution to those territories to avoid violation of your contract with the publisher.
  2. You want more than 48 hours to evaluate each new distribution channel or its terms before you decide whether or not to distribute to them.
  3. You're not interested in expanded global distribution

Q: What happens when I publish new titles after a new channel has been publicly announced?

A: This tool works only for future, unannounced channels.  Once a channel is publicly announced by Smashwords and visible in your Channel Manager, your new future titles will be automatically opted in, as they are now with all other channels. The moment you upload a new title to Smashwords, you can opt of individual channels one by one.

Q:  Will Smashwords still provide at least 48 hours advance notice of new channels?

A:  Yes.  It has always been our standard process to give every author the ability to opt out of new channels before their books appear for sale there, thus the 48-hour advance notification window in the Terms of Service.  We also announce and celebrate new channels at Smashwords Site Updates and in other promotions. 

Q:  How does Smashwords select new distribution channel partners?

A:  Our #1 objective at Smashwords is to help authors and publishers who partner with us reach more readers more profitability than they can do elsewhere.  We're a distributor, and we're experts at managing the digital logistics of ebook distribution so we're always on the lookout for promising new retail sales opportunities.  Our authors often suggest new potential partners to us, and we welcome these suggestions.  We are also contacted by new potential partners and startups each month.  We vet all potential partners and say no to more retailers than we say yes to.  We value the trust that our authors and publishers place in Smashwords to protect their best interests and we don't take this responsibility lightly.  Before we sign on a retailer, we'll analyze a potential partner's go-to-market business strategy, the track record and credentials of their management team, the experience and capabilities of their technical team, their ability to reach readers, their funding levels and plans and partnerships, and other characteristics that give us confidence to believe the retailer represents a good long term business partner for our authors and publishers.  As long-time Smashwords authors and publishers can attest, we have a good track record of negotiating equitable deals for our authors and publishers that create win/win relationships for our retail partners.  Some of our recent additions, such as Scribd and Oyster, are now among our largest and fastest growing channels.  If you have a suggestion for a new retail partner, please contact us by clicking the "support" link at the bottom of the page.