Dan Holloway, author of the highly rated Songs from the Other Side of the Wall informed me that Smashwords had experienced an outage for several hours over the weekend. He was concerned the timing was particularly bad as it coincided with the time our weekly email digest of ebook releases gets sent out.
I asked Smashword’s founder, Mark Coker what had happened. Here is his response.
We had two separate outages Sunday, each caused by the same problem, though it took the second outage for us to verify the exact cause (a single author’s attempt to publish a bad file caused Meatgrinder to go haywire, causing a crash on each of her two upload attempts). The author was probably not as badly affected as they think. Despite being down for a just over 50% of the day’s hours, the site’s traffic dropped only 18% from the previous day, according to Google Analytics. I think the impact was mitigated because half the downtime occurred while the US was sleeping, and by around 2pm Pacific the problem was resolved.
Smashwords has always been a very reliable service. This is the first time I’ve ever heard of any serious outage.
On the positive side, Smashwords have just announced a distribution agreement with Sony, allowing Smashword authors to publish their works at the Sony eBook store. This comes just 4 weeks after a similar agreement was reached with Barnes and Noble.