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B&N Launches Nook Press – A New Way to Make and Sell eBooks

9 April 2013

From The Digital Reader:

When Barnes & Noble launched the self-pub service Pubit in 2010, they were playing catch up to the larger and more successful Amazon KDP. Sure, Pubit accepted Epub and converted from Doc and RTF files, but it was also a distinctly second place service with some users reporting that it was clunky and awkward to use. Today that changes.

Barnes & Noble has just announced the relaunch of PubIt as Nook Press, and for once they’ve stolen a march on Amazon. Nook Press adds a new function to the Nook Store that the Kindle Store still lacks. Rather than offer an automated conversion, Nook Press lets you upload a Doc or RTF file and then edit the work to produce a better looking ebook which you can then sell in the Nook Store.

. . . .

I thunk the more important story today is that B&N also improved the base functionality of Pubit. I have confirmation from Theresa Horner, VP of Digital Content at Nook Media, that “We have improved the whole platform.” That’s great. I think that it better to serve authors by fixing the bugs that they have to cope with rather than launch an equally clunky new feature.

Link to the rest at The Digital Reader and thanks to Suzan for the tip.

PG will note that when he went to the Nook Press site, it would not accept his Pubit password.

Since he is commenting, he would prefer that the Nook folks had put their efforts into actually selling more ebooks. Mrs. PG is among many authors who report that Nook sales have fallen off a cliff over the past several months.

PG hasn’t read the terms and conditions yet, but the Nook announcement included the following: “Our favorable PubIt! business terms and commitment to a transparent retail partnership remain unchanged. “


75 Comments to “B&N Launches Nook Press – A New Way to Make and Sell eBooks”

  1. Oh, good! I thought about emailing you about this, because it confuses me. What does it mean? What are the ramifications? What exactly is it? I’ve looked only briefly at the terms, looking for the catch, and wondering what motivated B&N to create this Nook Press. I have too many questions right now! I hope you will look it over, PG, and give us the benefit of your insight.

  2. I got the email, but I only skimmed it. I didn’t see any exciting changes.

    Concentrating on sales would’ve been nice, indeed.

  3. I’ve played around with the site and my first reaction was: meh. Visually, it’s nice (when it’s not crashing), but all the changes seem superficial – aside from the TOC, about which I’m hearing some bad stuff.

    The big change I was personally hoping for – opening up to international self-publishers – didn’t happen.

    There is one interesting nugget though. In a statement to Publishers Weekly, B&N said self-publishers were responsible for 25% of Nook sales (in unit terms).

    • I’m still waiting for it to sync my existing PubIt account. 20 minutes and counting…

      But yes, it’d be much better if they did something about discoverability (my beef with Kobo, too). Amazon is a much better online shopping experience, and darned if my own sales don’t reflect it. Kobo was consistently blah from the beginning, but B&N has really crashed and burned over the last couple of months.

  4. I read the terms and conditions. They didn’t appear any different than any of the T&C anywhere else that I could tell, but IANAL. PG might disagree.

    One thing I *did* notice about the terms and conditions is there’s a lot of language about publishing in other countries and converting currencies in other countries. There’s also a disclaimer that if the agreement is translated into other languages, the english version takes precedence legally. It made me wonder if this was a precursor to expanding sales in areas other than the US and UK.

    In order to use your PubIT account you have to link it to the Nook Publish. I started that… *checks watch* about 40 minutes ago and it’s still working on it.

    • I don’t see a way to do this at all… either from inside PubIt or Nook Press.

      • At the Nook Press page you click on the big orange Get Started Now button, and there will be two columns: one for creating a new account and one for linking/syncing your pubit account.

        I’m now waiting on the confirmation email, apparently.

        • And if, by chance, you miss that there’s no way to connect them after the fact that I can tell. I went to the Nook Press link directly and, after determining that PubIt credentials don’t work, didn’t see an option to link them.

          Edit: Figured out what I missed the first time around. Still, there should be a way to link them if you miss the check box during the sign up process. But maybe I’m missing that, too.

  5. Read the terms and conditions before you sign up.

    Point 7
    (iv) allow customers to copy, paste, print, email, annotate, view online and share your eBooks.

    Once you upload a book you can’t edit it. You can’t change it. If you want to change it, you have to start over.

    I can’t count how many times I’ve uploaded a book to Amazon and had to wait impatiently for it to be processed so I could change a comma or add a word. I make changes constantly. I changed covers about 4 times over the weekend. It looks different here than on the book’s page.

    They’re phasing out PubIt. Good. And I’ve been phasing BN out of my life this year, too.

    • I’m not sure what your objection to Point 7 is? Nook already lets you annotate. There’s a 14-day lending program. You are granting the user the rights to use those technologies. Just like you’re granting B&N the right to redistribute your work.

      • And Amazon has similar features too.

        • Amazon lets readers copy and paste and print out?
          Great! Point me to that please, I’d like to be able to do that from my Kindle.

          But this is just that editor thing.

          “NOTE: Currently, once a Project is On Sale as a NOOK Book, a replacement manuscript file cannot be uploaded and changes cannot be made to the Manuscript in the Manuscript Editor, even if the Project is Off Sale. To make changes to a Manuscript that you have already put on sale, you will need to download the ePub file, create a new Project, and upload it as a Manuscript File. You will also need to provide your NOOK Book Details again in the new Project.”

          • Point 7
            (iv) allow customers to copy, paste, print, email, annotate, view online and share your eBooks.

            Annotations, view online, share–definitely.

            Copy, paste and print–dependent on whether the publisher set DRM and then only on a computer. Although with printing, I’ve only ever printed excerpts I’ve copied and pasted, not whole books.

          • Their help files mention an Edit Manuscript and Replace Manuscript option that doesn’t appear to have been implemented yet.

            • It looks like you have to head back to PubIt to update files. THAT side of things still looks like it’s working.

          • The fact you can’t currently update a manuscript without starting an entirely new project is a show stopper. You’d lose reviews and ratings, as well as needing to go through the whole process to fix a spelling error.

            Why in the world would they roll out a major change without getting all the coding done? That’s not professional at all.

            • Sounds like speed is more important than usability.

              • Yes, and this makes me wonder what Amazon might be coming out with in the next couple weeks/months?

                Like Mrs. PG, my sales on B&N were dismal – I make more in borrows through Select over on Amazon than I did on B&N, so I pulled my books from there and Kobo, too.

            • What I read said you won’t lose reviews etc. if you don’t change the title. But yes I think it’s a big mistake to make you take the book off sale to correct some typos. I’ve been an editor. You will *always* find more typos.

          • This is monumentally dumb on Nook’s part.

      • The KDP lending program is a whole different thing than allowing readers to copy and email your ebook. That’s called piracy in my world. No way am I signing up for this garbage.

        • Are you selling on iTunes? Because iBooks allows copying and pasting, with attribution and a limit. No one’s goi to be able to copy all the text from a BN book. You’d get a page at a time.

          Also, do you sell on Smashwords in PDF, HTML, rtf, or txt formats? If so, all your text can be easily copied. All of it. And to be honest, anyone who wants to rip you off can open an epub or mobi and copy all the text out. Is easy. Even if there’s DRM, it’s easy. You can stop that sort of thing. Very few people are going to attempt it. Not worth worrying about, really.

  6. I think it’s ok. The interface looks to be much, much better. I’m sure they will tweak it over time. I haven’t had any problems with it crashing or taking too long (in the few hours I’ve been playing with it). Curious to see how it works for B&N in the larger scheme as they try to stay relevant.


  7. According to the e-mail they sent out, you can also write and collaborate with others in Nook Press. If they expect you to write using their platform, is this a way of angling for exclusivity? Do the terms prevent you from writing a book in Nook Press, transferring it to another format, and selling it elsewhere? I haven’t looked at the terms yet, but I do plan to study them before switching over.

    • In addition to collaborators have to be invited to view your document by you, I found this:
      Once your Project is On Sale as a NOOK Book, click Download ePub to launch a window to save your NOOK Book as an ePub file to your computer. Downloading your ePub file to your computer is possible only when your Project is On Sale as a NOOK Book.

      I haven’t found anything about exclusivity yet but you would have to convert the .epub for Kindle (not for Kobo.)

      While it does seem like getting your book into the right format might be a tad easier this way, with the collaborating option and type directly to them, I’m thinking they’re setting this up for something more.

  8. Pubit! is going to have to try very hard to get me back, and I don’t think this is going to do it.

    I published my book there, only to find out that they linked my book’s free sample incorrectly. If you downloaded the free sample, you got a completely unrelated title rather than a sample from my book (and worse, it linked to a porn title, rather than my fantasy novel). After 2 weeks of emails to try to get Pubit! to fix the problem without being answered, I pulled my book off sale.

    I used to love going to B&N stores. Now, I will have no sympathy for them when they go under.

  9. I have been an author for 40 years. NOOK PRESS’s terms and conditions closely resemble a publishing contract with Random House or St Martin’s Press. Too close for comfort. Gives me the creeps. Comes down to they can do anything and you can do nothing. They can change things and alter metadata and drop you on your head if they want. Same old same old. I won’t sign that contract. As many have said above, our B&N sales have been slipping for months anyway. What is this new wrinkle going to do for indie authors. Not a heck of a lot in my opinion. Not a heck of a lot.

    • I don’t see a lot of differences between Nook Press’ terms and KDP’s, to be honest.

      • I’ll amend that — the main difference I see (other than KDP has an entire section on KDP Select) is that the KDP agreement spells out what percentages the author can expect in the event of a sale (35% or 70%). The Nook Press terms says nothing at all about what the author’s take is. Which is a bit mystifying, and I wish I’d noticed that on my first read through.

        • I found this under pricing terms on my sales data page:
          65% of the List Price for books 2.99 – 9.99
          40% for books below 2.98 or greater than 10.00

        • Christopher, I agree with you–the terms and conditions don’t seem to be measurably different from KDP’s; I have no qualms about using Nook Press. I did see this in the Payment Terms and Conditions, by the way:

          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

          In other words, same terms Pubit had.

          • Thanks for your input JA and Christopher. Glad to know I wasn’t totally off on my own interpretation of the terms and conditions. I’m still pretty new to all of this.

    • But can they force you to take part in a human centipad?


  10. I’ve been checking here today to see when this topic would appear. 🙂

    Passive Guy – Maybe you tried to log in on the left? That almost stumped me too. The left is only for if you already have a new account. If you have a PubIt account you have to enter your PubIt information on the right and then create a new Nook Press account.

    I was coincidentally planning to log on to Barnes and Noble today to enter some new business information so I could get out of “review” and my book up for sale, so it only made sense to do it on their new platform. I already had a PubIt account. I had no problem creating a new account and it getting linked to my PubIt account. But I haven’t been able to reach “help.”

    The letter looked to me like they were trying to change the way you could affect your manuscript as you uploaded it – to avoid the uploading it and then finding out it looked differently than you expected. And also to increase collaboration in some way.

    But I came over here to see what those more experienced than I am think. 😉

    • I went back and got it figured out, E.S., although, as a usability fanatic, it would have been so easy to make the path obvious for the large number of people who will be converting Pubit accounts.

  11. FWIW, I created a new Nook Press account and ‘synched’ it to my PubIt account (I think). However, so far I’ve been unsuccessful as far as actually accessing the new Press account because it won’t accept my password. I think this is the same problem PG had.

    After several futile attempts, I got a screen informing me that I had attempted to access an “unrecognized account” and telling me I would receive an email with instructions on what to do. That was over an hour ago and I haven’t seen any email yet.

    I actually hope they can make a go of this because I do sell a few books on B&N and I’d like to continue. However, I suspect they may have launched a bit prematurely. I’m not a big fan of the ‘lean forward’ philosophy of software development. Color me old fashioned, but I actually think stuff should work before you invite folks to use it, unless you clearly label it as a ‘beta.’

  12. If B&N REALLY wanted to sell more Nook books (and compete with Amazon and Kobo), they should have done two things:

    1. Open up to international authors.

    2. Let authors make their titles free.

    This is more deck-chair rearranging. And probably also spit-polishing to look good for a new buyer…

    • I don’t necessarily see this as deck chair rearranging. It might very well be too little, too late. But there is terminology in the terms of agreement that makes no sense if B&N is NOT intending to open it up to international authors.

  13. Scott Nicholson

    Looks to me like all they did was try to become Wattpad and maybe lure in those remaining 12 writers in America who lacked the ability to upload a file. And it looks like price changes and book removals will now take 10 days instead of being nearly instant.

    Even if they open to other countries, so what? They can’t even compete in the US where they had substantial advantages for years. How are they going to make a dent in the UK or Canada? They’re five years behind in a two-year race.

    But I think the real kicker here is their opening of portals for “marketing.” We’ll see whether that means “the opportunity to make your book free” or “Hey, authors are a fool’s gold mine, let’s see if we can get them to pay to try to sell their books! LOL!”

    My money is on the latter, as well as a last chance for some insiders to dump off their BN stock…

    • Scott, I take it you don’t know anything about Wattpad. 😉

      Because this is nothing like Wattpad. You can’t sell books on Wattpad. You can’t collaborate on books at Wattpad. You just write and share them. It’s a reading and social networking site. One that has treated me very well.

      • Yes, I have used Wattpad. And I believe Nook wants to make this a “social destination” for reading and writing (among other things). Hence, they tout open files that a “community” can access. We’ll see if they have plans to make money off of this “community” concept.

        Although I am pretty sure this has very little if anything to do with authors at all. I think the move is all about these press releases and blithely ignorant press articles proclaiming the great revolutionary new platform that rivals KDP. With the resultant hype to boost stock and help the spinoff (along with Riggio’s rumblings of buying the book side). I think this has zero to do with books and readers and everything to do with corporate maneuvering. Sure enough, a stock surge, driven by people who don’t have a clue. “Wow, Nook went zippy flash! Buy!!!”

        But I’m cynical that way. Otherwise, I see no true fundamental change besides upload method, and certainly nothing revolutionary.

        • Everybody wants to do “community” these days.
          Wanting and getting are two different things, though…

        • The way I saw that was just to allow the collaborative writing/editing features and not as a social component. I do agree that it’s mostly a PR thing with that. I really think that this was just an attempt to dovetail in a few nice but not major updates to reports and such while preparing for the brand spinoff.

          Some sort of Goodreads type community integration with the store might be good.

          But hey, at least they’re paying attention to NookPress and not abandoning it.

  14. Phoebe Matthews

    Oh good, I am not the only dummy being told my email and password don’t exist even though they still work for Pubit. This site has bugs and nowhere to send a query.

  15. I keep thinking of a scene in some fi;m I watched a couple of years ago where the hostess sets a pot of plain overcooked spaghetti noodles on the table for her guests’ dinner. Then she comes back from the kitchen a few minutes later with a bowl of plain boiled potatoes. Then she comes back a few minutes later with a bowl of white rice. Every new addition to the meal is plain, overcooked, flavorless, nutrition-free starch.

    That’s what this new BN gambit reminds me of.

  16. Quite frankly, I read this email and it made me more wary than excited. Unlike most authors, my BN sales are actually higher than everywhere else and growing over the last two months. All this has done is make me nervously hold on to the sides of a now rocking boat. Better user interface and tools would be great, but the wording of the email gave me the impression of a salesman with large sharp teeth smiling at me while detailing this new great thing. It didn’t give me a good feeling. Until they force me to change over, I think I’ll keep my account as is.

  17. I saw the e-mail earlier this afternoon and I’m not changing over any time soon. Until they get the bugs worked out, I’m staying with Kobo and Amazon. Since I’ve had no sales through B&N, there’s not a good reason for me to move right now.

  18. You can add 5 categories now instead of three. I’m pretty sure you could only do three before on Nook, since all my books have only three. Don’t know if the category choices are different.

  19. Still not open to international users, potentially problematic contract terms, editing services (sorry, B&N, but I’m not going to let someone I neither know nor have vetted edit my books) and some social stuff I don’t care about. No, I’m not at all impressed.

    To be honest, I’ve given up on B&N/Nook anyway. I maintain a presence there via distributors (first XinXii, now D2D), but I never sell anything at all there. Even tiny specialist stores like DriveThruFiction and foreign stores like Casa del Libro (and my books aren’t even available in Spanish) give me higher sales than B&N/Nook. I know B&N was rumoured to have around 20 to 30 percent of the US ebook market, but I’m not seeing it.

    • They reported 26% market share in 2010, the same for 2011, and stopped reporting after that. I’ve seen recent guesses that place them in the 15-20% range, and after last XMAS 15 looks more credible than 26%.
      They may fall behind Apple this year…

    • I have yet to see anyone point out specific terms in the B&N contract that are substantially different from the KDP terms. I even saved both, put them in documents and compared them side by side.

      KDP has an entire extra set of information on KDP select, but other than that, they seem eerily similar on particulars. They even have some sections that are word for word identical.

      • I think the main difference is that hardly anyone has ever bothered to read the KDP terms…

        Even the addition of language that says Amazon is not responsible for technical glitches…

  20. It’s not that great on the iPad. The neat little chart doesn’t fit. Is 2013 and they can get a responsive site? That’s disappointing. Old site worked better on the iPad.

  21. The TOS said they’d make 100% of the content available to wireless devices on the store’s network. Sounds like that’s meant to drive traffic to the instore Starbucks.

    It’s not recognizing my PubIt credentials. Maybe this is a good thing.

  22. Dead spaghetti, followed by white rice followed by boiled potatoes is the right analogy.

    What’s really new Nooksters? How much does the author get? How do we decide on prices – or do you decide? What about really competing w Amazon with some kind of short term exclusivity program? What about offering us something more – something which actually competes with the others and gives us more than the others? But no go. First, yadda yadda,,, you have to go sync your books yourselves. How about you sync our books? You do the work now. It’s your bookstore. Changing things around? Then re-shelve our books yourselves.

    And if you’re going to claim to be so innovative. Then innovate for God’s sake!

  23. Here are the terms that trouble me:

    “5B. Customer Prices. We have sole and complete discretion to set the retail price at which your ebooks are sold to the customer.”

    SET. Not price match.

    “4F. Reformatting. We may, in our discretion, remove or modify the cover artwork, metadata and product description that you submit to us, or reformat your ebook to make it compatible with NOOK Press.”

    They may establish submission guidelines, but they are not my publisher and do not deserve control over my cover, metadata, or marketing copy.

    “3K. Retail Store Privileges. You acknowledge and agree that Barnes & Noble may make available to customers of retail stores operated by Barnes & Noble, its affiliates, distributors, licensees and partners one hundred percent (1005) of your ebook for viewing while within the reach of such retail stores’ wireless networks.”

    I want to control my promotions.

    What do others think?

    • None of this is really new, it is fairly standard for online distributors. The fact that there is not all that much troubling here is more proof that it’s just not even very noteworthy.

      Atlas shrugged and Bezos yawned.

      • This only confuses me further.

        Either the terms are troubling, which is proof that B&N is going to be another has-been failure, or the terms are no more objectionable than Amazon’s, which is… proof that B&N is going to be another has-been failure.

        It’s not that I think B&N *won’t* be another has-been failure. It’s technical support is *terrible*, not just for people trying to publish through them but for *consumers* s well. But most of the comments on this article seem to reflect a tendency to take every data point as a sign of failure no matter what the data point might be, and this terms and conditions thing is the perfect example of that.

    • Amazon claims complete control of pricing as well.

      They’ll have to be able to reformat, etc, in order to make it work on their various devices/apps.

      B&N has always allowed Nook users to read for free within their stores.

      In short, nothing to see here. Move along.

  24. Holly Lisle has read the agreement and unloads on B&N.


    • I fail to see how these terms are different than Amazon’s or B&N’s old terms. Did she bother to read the old terms to compare or she just unloading because she now has noticed and read them and people are on a terms frenzy lately. Not necessarily a bad thing. I just wonder if it’s fair or reactionary. I mean no ill will toward anyone reading or being critical of terms. And Holly seems like good people and always has to me.

  25. *shrug* I don’t see much difference between this TOS and the other distributors’. I also don’t think the change was made to look more valuable to a new owner. My speculation is that Microsoft, already a partner in Nook Media, intends to become the primary owner. That Nook Press is built on a third-party platform seems to indicate the companies are planning for an easy break with BN and a seamless hand-off to MS. The data will already be migrated and it will be simple flip of the switch to start routing the data from BN to MS. It wouldn’t surprise me if Nook Press has its own server farm housed on a Microsoft campus now. Or at least outsourced to a data provider like HP.

    Collaboration is big with Microsoft. Think MS SharePoint. So writers, editors, proofreaders, etc. being able to collaborate in the same space makes sense to MS, if not to indie authors. I think it’s positioning, nothing more. The marketing spin is that this will somehow be better for authors. But I’m putting my money on this being the first step to a hand-off of power from BN to MS for Nook Media, which is a subsidiary now of BN. And of MS challenging Apple in the digital books arena, integrating Nook and Windows 8 technologies.

    • This is interesting! I didn’t realize that Nook and Microsoft had partnered. Wonder if either of them will be successful in their attempts to turn around? I’m not a fan of Microsoft’s new structure of trying to charge by the month for Word. I decided to install LibreOffice instead.

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