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Old 05-19-2010, 09:54 AM   #1
Steven Lyle Jordan
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B&N Announces PubIt! self-publishing platform

Barnes & Noble announces PubIt!, essentially a self-publishing platform on their own servers, ala Amazon's Digital Text Platform. It seems accepting ebooks from the likes of Smashwords doesn't satisfy them, they want to be a direct supplier. (It could also cause those who use the service to possibly bypass services like Smashwords, thereby possibly cutting down the amount of material processed by Smashwords and sent to competitors like Sony and Kobo... but I'm sure that's an accidental result of the move. )

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Old 05-19-2010, 11:16 AM   #2
L.J. Sellers
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This is an interesting development. I wonder if B&N will have a process in place to watch for self-pubbed books that rise to the top. If so, what kind of support will they offer those authors? I'm still trying to see how B&N will benefit from this.
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Old 05-19-2010, 11:24 AM   #3
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It appears to be a good time to be an indie author.
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Old 05-19-2010, 11:36 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by L.J. Sellers View Post
This is an interesting development. I wonder if B&N will have a process in place to watch for self-pubbed books that rise to the top. If so, what kind of support will they offer those authors? I'm still trying to see how B&N will benefit from this.
B&N already has a publishing arm. Perhaps they're thinking of doing something along the lines of Amazon Encore.
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Old 05-19-2010, 11:36 AM   #5
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I noted the likely result that some content will end up being exclusively B&N, if their service convinces them to leave Smashwords and such... exclusivity will be a benefit to them. But really, I expect they are mainly doing it to maintain a tighter control over what gets published, and how.

As far as authors and self-publishers are concerned, the situation will likely be much the same as it is on Amazon: For those who cannot publish or sell their own work, for instance, on their own website (the way I do), the service gives them an outlet for their work. But unless you can effectively advertise yourself, most authors will see limited exposure and small sales, as they'll find it difficult to rise to the top in a digital market that is still dominated by Big Pubs.

Finally, the press release mentions output in DRM'd ePub, but does not specify if it will be mandatory for self-publishers to use DRM. Along with other details of pricing and other options, it will be interesting to see what they finally offer.
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Old 05-19-2010, 11:55 AM   #6
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Best of all, it seems to be intended for international publishers as well.
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Old 05-19-2010, 01:09 PM   #7
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I suspect they are trying to match Amazon's capabilities. What it does (or doesn't do) for Smashwords is unlikely to be a primary concern. BN is running scared--and they should be. I think they're making some brilliant moves to stay relevant as the world moves to digital. Whether they'll be enough is hard to tell.

For what it's worth, deal with BN directly (and Amazon directly, of course) but still use Smashwords for incremental coverage, including coverage of the iPad platform.

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Old 05-19-2010, 02:30 PM   #8
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What it does (or doesn't do) for Smashwords is unlikely to be a primary concern.
To B&N, of course. I'm sure Smashwords isn't doing handsprings about it. But the announcement doesn't say Smashwords won't be able to continue uploading their content to the B&N servers after PubIt! kicks in... so it may not have the adverse impact on Smashwords that it could have.
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Old 05-19-2010, 06:21 PM   #9
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One thing I'm almost sure on - I won't be signing up with B&N any time soon. Aussie author typically = long wait for implementation of international capacity.

*twiddles thumbs*

I'm glad, mostly, though. I've been unimpressed by B&N's infrastructure and planning since they brought out the nook :/ and I'm in no hurry to deal with them directly.
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Old 06-14-2010, 07:36 PM   #10
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FAQ is up

B&N has sent out emails to anyone who requested to be updated about PubIt!'s development. A fairly basic FAQ page is now up, for anyone who's interested.

Of note:
  • PubIt! Will accept pre-formatted ePub files for sale... you can use their conversion SW, but you won't have to if you're particular about your formatting.
  • PubIt! Specifies that it uses DRM: "Barnes & Noble's best-in-class digital rights management technology." It does not say whether the use is optional.
  • Non U.S. citizens can use the service... if they have registered U.S. rights to their material.
  • No word on what controls you will have on price (nor, therefore, whether you can post books for free).
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Old 06-14-2010, 11:01 PM   #11
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This may need to have some of the kinks worked out, but it is definitely a big step forward in the same direction all other forms of art have gone...more independently generated. Seem natural that the book publishing industry will finally catch up. Opens up a lot of doors for authors when you can access a large distribution channel like BN.
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Old 06-14-2010, 11:13 PM   #12
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Also says this, Steve, which might cut out most people :-

What do I need to create an account?
A BN.com login, which you can create on the spot if you do not already have one
Contact information for the account holder
A U.S. Credit Card & U.S. Bank Account and all related information
Your SSN/TIN/EIN
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Old 06-14-2010, 11:17 PM   #13
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Which again shows Barnes and Noble has no interest in being anything but a local company, whereas Amazon wants to be an international operator.
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Old 06-15-2010, 12:48 AM   #14
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Which again shows Barnes and Noble has no interest in being anything but a local company, whereas Amazon wants to be an international operator.
To be fair... it wasn't THAT long ago that Amazon required US bank account and address. A year ago, I think it was still that way.

I don't really mind that companies do this to start off with... I mean, it's annoying as hell, but understandable - international payments OUT must get nastily complicated, and setting up as an ebook vendor must be complicated as it is.

Know what really irritates me about B&N? They organised to get ebooks distributed by Smashwords, with no geographic restrictions - and marked them all as 'US only'. Considering that they have some 'US and Canada only' ebooks, they seem to have something bodgy in their conversion/stocking routine, and that bothers me.
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Old 06-15-2010, 03:07 AM   #15
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Complicated? Hardly. Cheques? Decades old technology. Money orders, similarly. Bank drafts, same. EFT, a bit newer, but definitely not difficult.

Paypal, newer still but pretty simple, too.

Sure, maybe a year ago - but why deliberately handicap yourself, unless you want to?

As you point out, these big American chain booksellers are hardly models of competence.
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