Changes to Barnes and Noble’s PubIt! – Yikes or Likes?

By Katherine

Scary stuff for authors

Well – the book blogosphere is all fired up about some new changes announced today. PubIt! (Barnes and Noble’s Nook platform) is becoming Nook Press. It is a little unclear on which features from PubIt! will continue to exist, and which ones will disappear. What is clear, is that they are trying to compete more directly with both KDP (Amazon) and iAuthor (Apple).

You can see a good write up in TechCrunch of some of the features that will be appearing in the new tool.

To summarize:

  • Nook Press is designed to be much more of an all-in-one solution which can be used from the earliest stages of the composition process. (My question – do we then get to export the finished project to use/upload elsewhere? Not sure).
  • After creating a new account, you can either upload an existing manuscript to get started, or jump right into a web-based composer.
  • “Live Chat” support services will be offered Monday through Friday, between 9 AM and 9 PM EST (a competitive advantage over other platforms at present).
  • There is mention of some more marketing/merchandising abilities as well as better sales reporting, but it isn’t totally clear what that will entail. (I will report back once we at Booktrope have changed over and had a chance to kick the tires a bit more). 

In short, it appears as though they have taken some features from KDP and some from iAuthor and put them together. Could this be the result of the $300 million Microsoft investment? Or, is it (as TechCrunch intimates) the result of their work with FastPencil? Who knows.

Now – where is the Yikes in all this, you might ask? Holly Lisle seems to have dug deep on this issue on her blog – which is, the changes to the Terms and Conditions. Here’s my take on it all, they have essentially changed them to be closer to what you see in KDP. If you are using KDP, you will recognize some of this. I know there is a temptation to panic, but really, what we are seeing here is not out of the ordinary for the online book business. If you are competing with Amazon, you have to have the same rights and regulations as Amazon in order to do that. Not allowing them to change your price for example, is the crux of the big Department of Justice case against Apple and the big publishers. As long as you are being paid on the list price, and you are paying attention to your pricing elsewhere (so that the competitive matching doesn’t bite you in the bum), this should be no problem.

As an additional point, the blog I reference above points out the glaring lack of the royalty structure within the T&C’s, which IS listed elsewhere. It hasn’t changed. For your reference, here is what they are:

Publisher will be paid a royalty off the List Price in USD according to the following terms:
For NOOK Books with a List Price at or between $2.99/£1.50 and $9.99/£7.99
65% of the List Price

For NOOK Books with a List Price at or below $2.98 /£1.49, or at or greater than $10.00/£8.00 (but not more than $199.99/£120.00 and not less than $0.99/£0.75)
40% of the List Price

So, is it time to panic? Nope, I don’t think so. Is it time to wonder if Nook might actually be able to compete? Too soon to tell. What do you think?

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About Katherine

Katherine is the Chief Marketing Officer and co-founder of Booktrope Publishing. Prior to Booktrope, her background was primarily in technology and online marketing in both Seattle and California, working at companies such as NetApp, ADIC and Siemens. Her life-long love of books, and a desire to bring a new type of focus to marketing them, had her join forces with some other bookish folks to create Booktrope. She is the co-author of How to Market a Book and has served on the University of Washington’s Digital Publishing Certificate Program advisory board. She has presented at many bookish events such as the Pacific Northwest Writers Association conference and the Northwest Bookfest. She has also worked as an actress, and a corporate trainer. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in theater from the University of Southern California. Katherine currently lives in Fall City, WA with her canine and human family members.