Barnes and Noble launched the Nook Press self-publishing system back in April of 2013. The intention behind the second generation platform was to allow for eventual expansion and have the hooks in place for localized content. All of the hard work has paid off, as the company has expanded into UK, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands and Belgium.
Launching in many different countries simultaneously is no easy task. Nook Press needed to be augmented for localized content, so a self-publisher in France as an entirely French interface. Currently, only EPUB 2 titles can be uploaded, with no timeline on rich media content for kids books, or eTextbooks.
Nook Press has now truly gone global with the ability for any writer to distribute their work either in one particular market or have it available to be purchased in all markets. Authors will receive royalties in local currency, whether sterling or euros, at rates “competitive” with Amazon and Kobo programs. Authors who choose to price books in the sweet spot between £1.50-£7.99 will receive 65% of the list price for sold content. For books priced below or above (as low as 75p, as high as £120.00), the royalty drops to 40%. Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing authors receive 70% royalty if their books are priced between £1.49 and £7.81 but e-books priced outside this range will only yield 35% royalty rate. Kobo pays a 70% royalty on e-books priced between $1.99 and $12.99, and a 45% royalty on e-books below $1.99 or above $12.99.” There will be a 60 day payment cycle for authors who earn money with the platform.
Nook Press is not exclusively reserved for self-published authors. Small, medium or boutique publishers are more than welcome to use the platform to upload their catalog. The platform is not really designed for bulk submissions, so adding a hundred books can be tedious.
In order to fuel expansion the self-publishing unit at Barnes and Noble had to increase. The company has been making strategic hires at the New York office to deal with publishers and authors. Although it is not publicized, the bulk of European operations will occur at the Luxemburg office. This is where the majority of new hires are taking place and the staff will be traveling to the new markets to promote it.
How exactly does Nook intend on promoting their self-publishing system in all of the new European markets? Theresa Horner, VP, Digital Content at Barnes & Noble told Good e-Reader that “We want to start working more closely with authors groups, self-published organizations and writers groups in those European countries. Our focus is to market directly to writers and see what our level of success is.”
One example of Nook Press promotion is happening in the UK this weekend at the Oxford Literary Festival. They are making Nook a marquee event with a special emphasis on running a series of workshops for writers. One can’t miss session is the “introduction to self-publishing with Nook,” which is billed as “a free, fun and informative interactive session for authors” which will take place on Sunday 23rd March, at noon and Wednesday 25th March at 3:00pm and 6:30 pm. Barnes & Noble will also have a booth in the Digital Zone at the upcoming London Book Fair, which takes place April 8-10. Attendees can learn about NOOK and view demos of NOOK Press.
One burning question people have been asking is how do customers buy and read Nook Press titles? If you live in the USA or UK, you can buy a Nook e-reader or tablet. There is also an Android, iOS and Windows app to procure new content. If you live in France, Germany, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands and Belgium, the Windows 8 app is the only way to purchase and read books. Currently, Barnes and Noble does not have an official online presence, such as bn.fr. The companies official apps, such as Android or iOS, are geo-restricted to only readers living in the US.
The reliance on Windows 8 is a double edged sword right now. Microsoft and Nook updated their agreement to allow Nook to kill its Windows 8 app, according to an SEC filing first reported by ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley. Microsoft is developing their own own e-reading app, based on Nook technology, called the Microsoft Consumer Reader. In effect, Nook might be going down the path of Bluefire in outsourcing their tech for other companies to license.
Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and Verge.