Apple, Kindle, Smashwords and The Docket

Let’s first deal with the bad news.

It would appear there is some confusion at Smashwords regarding their relationship with some of their international clients. While many individuals who use Smashwords as a delivery system for their eBooks are independent authors, there are also many small publishers using Smashwords. Five Rivers is one of those.

As a foreign individual using Smashwords (as with Lulu) the IRS requires a 30% withholding tax, unless a requisite ITIN and then subsequent W8-BEN are obtained.

However, this does not apply to publishers using their own foreign ISBNs, and Smashwords as a distributor. The relationship is no different than a foreign publisher using another printer or distributor in the US, the most immediate example for Five Rivers being our relationship with Lightning Source(LSI)/Ingram. Five Rivers uses Lightning Source to print our books. Distribution is handled through LSI’s parent company, Ingram, who distribute both print and digital content. When a sale is made through Ingram, wholesale discounts are deducted, and the balance remitted to Five Rivers. There is never any question about royalties, because Five Rivers is the publisher, not LSI, and hence there is never any need for an ITIN, W8-BEN or 30% withholding tax.

Smashwords, however, are under the impression they are the publisher of Five Rivers’ works — a very erroneous assumption, and one which could be rather costly to Five Rivers, little say an unwarranted grab on the part of the US government.

We’re in discussion with Smashwords regarding this issue, and hope to have a satisfactory resolution in the next few weeks.

On to the good news.

All Five Rivers’ catalogue is now available for Amazon’s Kindle. It took a week or so to reformat our content, but we were happily successful on the first try. So, all you Kindle lovers, go nuts! Buy our eBooks!

Second bit of good news is that we’ve signed an agreement with LSI/Ingram which will see our catalogue distributed to Apple. What that means is our books will shortly be available in the US iBookstore, which is accessible through iTunes, iPad, iPhone and every other blessed iThing you can imagine. When the iBookstore becomes available in Canada, sometime late May, all our Canadian customers can also shop for Five Rivers’ digital books.

We are, at present, struggling to get Kobo to pay attention to the data we’ve uploaded. We keep knocking on the door, but no one’s answering. But we have faith. Polite persistence often pay dividends.

And in Other News

The first of 19 books on our docket was released in Canada, as you know, April 1– (re)Discover the Joy of Creative Writing, by Paul Lima. It goes live in the US May 1. Already sales and pre-orders are showing up.

It should be noted (re)Discover the Joy of Creative Writing is part of the Workshop in a Book suite by Paul Lima, and together they make excellent companion pieces. Both (re)Discover the Joy of Creative Writing and Harness the Business Writing Process are used as texts in University of Toronto courses, as well as by other educational institutions.

Nate Hendley’s book for writers, Motivation, goes into design and layout April 26. Paul Lima’s revised and updated Harness the Business Writing Process will also be in design and layout shortly thereafter. The final edits are in the works and should be complete within days. And Nate Hendley’s revised and updated Al Capone: Chicago’s King of Crime, is in the final edit and should be in design and layout by mid-May.

Kelly Stephens and Robert Runte, little say Nate Hendley and Paul Lima, have been working very hard to bring these books to fruition.

We’re all very exicted about this journey we’re taking. Hope you are as well.