Barnes & Noble is showing every sign of losing interest in the consumer ebook market as they shift their focus to the educational market, but it looks like they have decided to tie up at least one loose string before the change in direction.
The Bookseller is reporting that Barnes & Noble will be launching their Nook Press self-publishing platform in the UK this week at the Oxford Literary Festival, which runs 22 March through 26 March. The festival will feature appearances by a number of well-known authors, including Ian McEwan, Eleanor Catton, Malorie Blackman, Michael Morpurgo, and more.
This year it will also feature Nook demos. Barnes & Noble is a sponsor of the festival this year, and in addition to partnering with Blackwell’s to show off the Nook hardware B&N will also be holding several sessions to promote Nook Press. The sessions will be held in the Festival Marquee, and will include talks on "Introduction to Self-Publishing with Nook" on 23 March and 25 March.
Colin Eustace, general manager of of the Luxembourg-based Nook international team said: "As Nook continues to grow in the UK we are proud to announce the upcoming launch of the Nook Press self-publishing platform and we invite authors and writers at the Oxford Literary Festival to speak to a representative for more information."
Barnes & Noble launched Nook Press, their second self-pub platform, in April 2013. It replaced PubIt, which had launched in late 2010. PubIt did not expand into the UK when B&N launched there in late 2012, and Nook Press has yet to expand to support self-published authors in the UK or the 30 other countries where B&N sells ebooks; until this week it were effectively limited to only self-published authors in the US.
There's no word yet on when Nook Press might become available in the other 30 countries where B&N has a local Nook Store, but the Nook Press website does mention that they are accepting names of future beta testers for a number of countries in Europe: France, Italy, Germany, Spain, The Netherlands, and Belgium.
However, I do not expect those beta testers to be contacted. B&N has recently announced that they were abandoning their Nook app for Windows 8 in favor of a not yet released reading app from Microsoft. They are effectively ceding the international Nook Store to Microsoft, so I would not expect them to have much interest in promoting self-published authors.
Update: B&N has opened up Nook Press to authors in 7 countries in Europe.