Today, I noticed that my book, A Little Girl in my Room & Other Stories was accepted into Smashwords Premium Catalog. I was surprised by how quickly that happened, I had been expecting to wait for weeks and I didn't think I would be accepted without making some changes. I had planned to list that particular book as free on Smashwords but I was under the impression it had to have a list price in order to be accepted to the Premium Catalog but I'll have to double check that now. Take a quick look at how Smashwords distributes Ebooks for a little more information.
The Premium Catalog is basically a list of Ebooks that are sent to some major online retailers such as Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Sony and Kobo. The requirements seem to be based on formatting and including a correct copyright page but I'm not sure if the books are reviewed manually or not before they are accepted onto this catalog. Now, what happens to the books after they reach these retailers is another thing, it could take months to actually be listed on their site and I'm not even sure if this is guaranteed but I don't think it hurts to be part of this especially if the buzz around Ebooks continues to grow.
If you update your book, you may have to be reviewed again to remain a part of the Premium Catalog. Likewise, if the formatting requirements are altered in any way, then books that don't update to include these changes could be taken off this list. It's worth keeping an eye on.
I think some people might be wary of Smashwords overall. But, personally, I've found it slightly more author friendly than say Amazon. The rules are clearer and the royalty rates contrast drastically in Smashwords' favour. Of course, Smashwords doesn't have the huge client base that Amazon boasts but I imagine that a lot of the people who self publish ebooks on Smashwords support their peers here. People who are specifically looking for cheap or free Ebooks are more likely to have success on Smashwords than Amazon.
On that note, Amazon's policies and rules are very unclear. My book was approved for Amazon too but I updated it to contain the changes I made specifically for Smashwords. I thank Smashwords for that learning curve because a lot of their common sense formatting rules were things that I hadn't even thought of. My book looks much better than before because they had a set list of requirements. As opposed to Amazon - I'm not even sure why my book was accepted in the first place or why the price was increased dramatically. Still, the whole process has been an interesting one and it will (hopefully) make things easier for me when it is time for a full length novel of mine to appear.