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B&N Email Hints at Changes to Their Self-Pub Service

bn pubit logoBarnes & Noble sent out a teaser email today to authors that sell their ebooks via B&N PubIt. The email is vague in the extreme but it suggests that some type of announcement is imminent:

Dear PubIt Publisher,

We’ve got some exciting news on the horizon, and as an integral part of our self-publishing community, we want you to be the first to know! Stay tuned for an upcoming announcement on our next chapter in self-publishing.

We appreciate your partnership and look forward to an even stronger relationship in the future.

The PubIt Team

I’m still casting about to find someone who can add more detail, but at this point I can make a few guesses. Either B&N is going to make more content options available via PubIt (audio, video, Epub3, ?). They could also add a POD option (now that would be useful).

Or perhaps they have arranged a new distribution channel (that too could be POD). When B&N first announced the PubIt self-pub service in 2010 an early version of the FAQ mentioned that this service would distribute to more than just the Nook store:

Where will my titles be listed for sale?

  • PubIt! titles will be available for sale in the Barnes & Noble eBookstore and through all of our digital distribution partners.

To the best of my knowledge this never happened, but it might coming soon.

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Rob Siders April 1, 2013 um 10:03 pm

The PubIt! rollout came almost a year after it was announced, IIRC, so three years on for this sounds about right…

Nate Hoffelder April 1, 2013 um 10:07 pm

My blog posts show that it was announced in May 2010 and launched in December 2010 (unless I missed an earlier announcement).

Rob Siders April 1, 2013 um 11:29 pm

You could be right. I was trying to remember the first client I had who used it and I thought it was in April of 2011. Regardless, seven months between the announcement and rollout is terrible, especially since DTP/KDP was up and running well before said announcement.

Bandito April 1, 2013 um 11:05 pm

With all their Nook troubles, this "announcement" puts me in mind of Buford T. Justice: "Oh, you can think about it, but don’t do it."

Becca April 2, 2013 um 7:29 am

I just hope they’re not going to do like the Big 5 seems to be doing, and sellling out to Author House or one of the other vanity presses.

fjtorres April 2, 2013 um 7:40 am

Alas, that was my first thought.
That they’re going to procide a suite of "publishing services" contracted out to Author Solutions.
Alternately, since they’ve found no takers, that they’re going to turn Sterling into their own Author Solutions.

Nate Hoffelder April 2, 2013 um 1:15 pm

DingDingDing We have a winner for worst possible outcome.

The scary part is that you could well be correct. Your suggestion feels like the exact sort of misstep that B&N will make.

R. Scot Johns April 2, 2013 um 7:53 am

I’d like to see them finally release the fixed layout code officially and allow independents to produce their own illustrated children’s books and comics. Right now you can only upload reflowable titles through PubIt.

carmen webster buxton April 2, 2013 um 9:11 am

I’d like to see them be more flexible about pricing than Amazon is. I don’t bother with Pub-It anymore mostly because they won’t let me make a book free. If I put a book up on Smashwords, make it free, and push it to the Nook store, then it’s free.

If B&N wants to make money selling "services" to self-pubbed authors, they’re going to have to offer some tangible benefit before anyone shells out, because B&N isn’t a big enough market to justify paying to get into it.

Richard Stephenson April 2, 2013 um 10:01 am

Maybe it’s free promo days like KDP Select.

Nate Hoffelder April 2, 2013 um 1:13 pm

Now that would be useful.

SteveH April 2, 2013 um 1:13 pm

My guess: they will either match the Kindle 70% royalty or try to better it…80% ? Desperate times call for desperate measures.

Robert Nagle April 2, 2013 um 2:10 pm

Yes, I was going to say: they need to show a higher royalty rate than Amazon. (Now it’s 65%) Even if it’s only 75%, that would be an incentive for indies to push people towards BN.

Another possibility is more international exposure….

flyingtoastr April 3, 2013 um 12:45 am

Worth mentioning that Amazon charges "delivery fees" out of the author’s commission that BN doesn’t, so the differences are a lot closer than the number makes it seem.

David Gaughran April 2, 2013 um 6:37 pm

There’s lots of things it could be, and there’s even more things I’d like it to be, but considering they *still* haven’t managed to open PubIt up to anyone outside the US (despite saying in Dec 2010 that it was happening "soon"), well, I’m not getting my hopes up about this.

terry hipp April 2, 2013 um 10:46 pm

Not sure about the rest of you but I have found PubIt to be very buggy and uncooperative in terms of the experience. It seems as though their software is less than exceptional. If the author experience was a seamless as Amazon it would be nice. I use B&N because I feel like I have to, not because it is pleasant; can’t sign on most of the time, files don’t upload, emails are not answered and entered information is lost. Before they expand it would makes sense to work on what they have – or scrap it and start over. Anything they do should be an improvement.

SteveH April 3, 2013 um 1:26 pm

Agreed, their system does have issues and feels clunky/buggy at times. And their customer support should you have a problem is bad too. I do like that they have a special section to add editorial reviews (and do html formatting too) as part of the initial upload (Hey KDP, are you listening?).
However seems to be experiencing tech problems again – their site seems to have been offline (again) for the last 12+ hours, at least for me…

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