Barnes and Nobles launches print-on-demand business

Someone on Twitter posted a link to this recent article about Barnes and Noble entering the print-on-demand business:

Barnes & Noble announced today the launch of a new print feature for its self-publishing platform, Nook Press, which will allow authors to turn their ebooks into print versions that can be sold in B&N stores and online at already sold print-on-demand books from Amazon’s Createspace, though perhaps your royalties will be greater if you go with their Nook Press? I haven’t checked out their prices yet. They do offer hardback, which Createspace does not, though I’m guessing prices won’t make it worth the cost for most books, unless you have a large audience or want to release a special edition of something.

As for indie books being stocked in their physical stores, the article says:

Through the program, authors who have sold 1,000 copies of a single ebook in the past year will be able to sell their print books on the local, regional or national level through B&N.

I can’t tell if they mean ebooks sold in total, or only ebooks sold through their Nook platform. Most ebook sales that happen at all happen through Amazon, so if you’re selling at least 1K books through Nook, you’re probably doing quite well. Otherwise, the limit does nothing for an author like me, who has nowhere near those sale levels, even on Amazon. Still, this bit of gate-keeping makes sense, as they wouldn’t want their store shelves to be filled with crappy-looking indie books that aren’t likely to sell.

Although I wonder if indie authors can’t already ask the managers of their local B&N stores to stock a book or two of theirs; I’ve seen at least one crappy-looking self-published paperback sitting on the shelf in our local B&N, prominently enough that I’m sure the author didn’t just sneak it in himself. Not sure what the deal with that was.

Anyway, it’s just one more opportunity for indie-authors, which is always a good thing; I still love browsing physical book stores, so it’s great that indie-authors may have an easier path to getting their books on physical shelves. It’s also another nail in the slowly-forming coffin of traditional publishers; when writers don’t even need them to get into physical bookstores, that’s one less incentive for a successful author to sign a deal with them. Although I suppose physical bookstores are battling their own slowly-forming coffins, so there’s really no telling what will happen…

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