Oct 032010

Barnes & Noble’s PubIt self-publishing platform just went live over the weekend (I don’t know if October 1 still counts as “summer” — maybe here in South Florida it does?) and my e-books are now live on B&N.com. It’s a very exciting development, as B&N now matches Amazon and allows authors to bypass gatekeepers, publishers, and even intermediaries like Smashwords: authors can upload their own e-book files for sale on B&N.com. Since Amazon is the clear #1 e-book seller and B&N is solidly in the #2 position, this allows indie authors to reach the vast majority of the market directly.

How It Works: Authors or copyright holders can upload e-books in various formats, although it’s best to upload in the Nook’s native ePub format, so B&N doesn’t need to do the conversion for you. I believe you can also upload in HTML or text, but your results may vary. You upload your file and a cover image (in JPG format), enter your info (title, author name, book categories, etc.), and enter your book’s description, editorial reviews, and an “about the author” blurb. Once you submit, your title will go live on B&N.com (it took about 12 hours for my title to show up, but 2 days for the cover art to appear).

There are several advantages to uploading directly with B&N (over having your e-books distributed there by Smashwords):

  • More control over the final format: I can improve the quality of the reader’s experience since I can upload the finished ePub file and know it looks perfect, with a working table of contents, etc.
  • More control over the categories the books appear in, their descriptions, etc.
  • Quicker speed of updating: Smashwords would take anywhere from a couple weeks to several months to update prices or an e-book file on B&N; now, if I need to fix a typo or change a price, I can upload it and the new version should be live in a day or two.
  • Higher royalties! 🙂 B&N pays a very respectable 65%.*
  • Instant sales reporting: I can’t tell you how useful this is (to see the results of marketing efforts, etc.) compared to waiting for several months to find out sales data. It’s also great for us obsessive author-types who check sales 10 times a day! 😉
  • B&N’s “LendMe” feature is enabled, so users can loan the book to friends (once per book, for 14 days).
  • No DRM! I was able to opt-out of DRM (copy protection), which can cause problems for consumers; now users can backup their e-book files on their computer or convert them to a new format if they get a Kindle or whatever.

* Note that Amazon pays 70%; however, Amazon takes off a small fee based on the e-book’s file size and only pays 35% on foreign sales, so the true average rate is closer to 60%.

I’m very excited by this development: it provides a better experience to readers (a better-formatted e-book file, quicker updates and fixes, LendMe, and no DRM), and is better for me as well (instant sales reporting, more control and quicker updates, and higher royalties). I love win-win scenarios like that.

Also in the plus column: my ratings and the great reviews that I was fortunate enough to receive on B&N transferred over to the new versions as well. A HUGE thank you to all my readers who have rated or reviewed the books on either B&N or Amazon: it really does help me out more than you’d probably expect, and I do appreciate it greatly.

The only negative so far is that my sales ranking hasn’t transferred over, and that I now have two versions of my e-books up on B&N. I’ve requested they be removed by Smashwords, but I don’t know how long it will take for them to actually come down from B&N.com (see what I mean about being frustrated by how long it takes to update things?). But the new versions are up and ready to go — you can find them at the B&N links below. Each are in ePub format, costs just $2.99, and can be instantly downloaded to your Nook or B&N Reader app for your computer or iPhone/iPad:

WOW! Before I even finished typing this post, I just checked my B&N sales and see a couple of sales showing up already! To my mystery shopper: THANK YOU, and I hope you enjoy the novels! Please come by and let me know what you think when you’re done!

5 Responses to “Barnes & Noble PubIt Self-Publishing Now Live”

Comments (5)
  1. Tara Maya says:

    I was literally just last night wishing to read a comparison of B&N and Amazon.

  2. Tara Maya says:

    So can you still earn .60 royalty on the .99 cents price on B&N?

  3. Always Write says:

    Sorry, I should have spelled it out in more detail: B&N pays 65% royalties on books priced between $2.99 and $9.99 (taking a page from the Amazon DTP playbook). They pay 40% on books outside of that range, and have a minimum price of $0.99 and maximum of $199.99.

  4. Tara Maya says:

    Ok, thanks. I guess they feel they can’t make enough money per transaction to make it worth their while at the lower price. This seemed to be Amazon’s problem (one of them) with Amazon Shorts.

  5. Always Write says:

    Both companies are definitely trying to herd authors and publishers into the $2.99 to $9.99 range for e-books, which I happen to agree is a very reasonable pricing range. It is funny how B&N essentially copies the “prime royalty range,” the overall pricing range, and is pretty close on the royalty percentages as well.

    I do think it’s hard for anyone (authors, publishers, or platforms like Amazon or B&N) to make much money at 99 cents. Amazon and B&N do have web design and hosting costs, transaction costs (credit card fees eat up a bigger percentage of those 99 cent purchases), and customer support costs.

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© 2010 David Derrico