Smashwords (Smashwords, Inc.), based in Los Gatos, California, is an e-book-distribution platform founded by Mark Coker for independent authors and publishers. The company began public operation in 2008.

Coker began work on Smashwords in 2005 and officially launched the website in May 2008. Within the first seven months of launching, the website published 140 books. Due to initially low profits, Coker switched to a distribution model that offered retailers a “30% commission in exchange for digital shelf space”. Smashwords achieved a profit in 2010 and has partnered with Apple, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and Sony.[2] Smashwords also uploaded books into KDP, Amazon.com’s e-book publishing website.

In 2012, Smashwords announced that it would partner with 3M Cloud Library, which would allow for the option for their authors’ books to be available in libraries, and that it had reached about 127,000 titles by 44,000 authors.

Source: Wikipedia

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Authors and independent publishers upload their manuscripts as electronic files to the Smash words service, which converts them into multiple e-book formats for reading on various devices. Once published, the books are made available for sale online at a price set by the author or indie publisher.

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