From a Nook press release announcing its upgraded publishing platform yesterday:
NOOK Press builds on the success of PubIt!™, Barnes & Noble’s original self-publishing platform. In just two and a half years since its launch, PubIt! has propelled many writers to become national bestselling authors, and the program continues to achieve incredible growth:
- PubIt! continues to attract 20% more independent authors every quarter.
- Titles from self-published authors continue to increase by 24% each quarter in the NOOK Store™.
- Customer demand for great independent content continues to dramatically increase as 30% of NOOK customers purchase self-published content each month, representing 25% of NOOK Book™ sales every month.
Link to the rest at Barnes & Noble Press Releases
It’s kind of cool that Barnes & Noble is touting its indie author cred in the press release. It could generate even more indie love if its physical bookstores would cuddle up with indies, but that’s not part of the corporate strategy.
As Passive Guy has previously mentioned, quite a few indie authors he’s been hearing from have reported a significant decline in Nook sales over the past several months.
While the old Pubit platform was certainly not perfect, PG doesn’t think changing it addresses Nook’s biggest problem and he wasn’t aware of a groundswell of author requests for an upgrade.
The more significant problem is that the Nook store isn’t a very good place for readers to discover indie books and authors or, for that matter, any books or authors they don’t already know about. It’s amazing that 30% of Nook customers are able to find an indie book to purchase every month.
If PG were running Nook, he would have put tech resources and money into a substantial upgrade of the Nook store, an action that, if properly executed, would have generated more Nook ebook sales, helped alleviate the migration of Nook customers to Amazon and increased Nook royalties to indie authors and traditional publishers alike.
PG would also have bumped Nook ebook royalties up so they’re at parity with KDP royalties to indie authors and done something to seriously respond to KDP Select. As authors see a decline in Nook royalties, they become much more interested in KDP Select experiments.
That would be putting the horse before the cart.
Some have suggested this latest announcement is designed to attract attention from prospective purchasers of Nook, which Barnes & Noble plans to sell off. PG is most definitely not a prospective purchaser nor is he advising any prospective purchaser, but he can’t imagine a hedge fund getting goose bumps over an upgraded indie publishing platform.
If, as the press release implies, Nook’s strategy is to compete with Amazon for indie authors, taking steps that will increase indie sales and royalties will work much better than an improved publishing platform.
A typical indie author uses a publishing platform every few months to publish something new. Most authors check online royalties much more frequently than that.