Getting Started With Barnes & Noble's PubIt!: A Mini Tutorial

Although Amazon’s Kindle e-book reader is the dominant force in the e-book world at the moment, Barnes & Noble, the business based on a huge network of brick-and-mortar book superstores, is also growing.

With the launch of the Nook Color last year, Barnes & Noble has gone the Kindle one better, and people who have tried the Nook seem to like it quite a bit. Barnes & Noble also allows Nook owners to bring them into a store and read any book for free for an hour at a time, from the collection of over 2 million titles.

Like Kindle, Nook has apps that allow you to purchase and read your Nook books on your iPad, your smartphone and your PC as well as on the readers themselves.

I’ve seen estimates that over 3 million Nook Color e-readers have been sold, and that Nook now accounts for 25% of the e-book market. That’s a lot of potential customers. To make it easy for indie authors to sell their books for the Nook and the Nook Color, Barnes & Noble has installed a simple and easy to use interface. They call their publishing program Pubit!

Even Easier Than Kindle?

I went over to the Pubit! site to check it out and upload the ePub files of A Self-Publisher’s Companion. These were prepared for me by Joshua Tallent at ebookarchitects.com.

You’ll have to go through the usual Account Setup, and I won’t bore you with that. Even though you’re a seller, you’ll have to give up a credit card, too.

But that only takes a minute, and then you get to the main dashboard and data entry area.

Pubit! has cooked the whole e-book submission process down to one screen, and it’s a pleasure to use. Here’s a look:

Barnes & Noble Pubit!

In 5 easy-to-follow steps, you’re lead through all the information needed to get your book into the Barnes & Noble system. This is publishing at its simplest and most streamlined. Here’s what you can expect.

  • Product listing, including the book title, price, author, publication date and publisher name.
  • Upload Your eBook provides a browse and upload utility. It’s highly recommended that you have your book converted to ePub files first, although you should know that you can upload a Word file and Pubit! will convert it for you, you just don’t know what you’ll get.
  • Upload Your Cover Image gives you another browse and upload utility for a 5KB to 2MB JPG of your cover.
  • Help Readers Find Your eBook asks for ISBN, for a related print edition, the age group of your target market, the language in which the book is written, the geographic rights you’re able to assign, and whether you want your e-book protected with DRM (Digital Rights Management) which may or may not prevent a buyer from making illegal copies of your files.
  • Tell Us More About Your eBook is the crucial section for your marketing efforts. Obviously you want to get all the numbers right in the first sections, but here you’ll be able to pick five subject categories (Kindle only allows you two), create an author bio (about 400-500 words) and enter reviews you’ve received. The other two areas here are keywords (you get 100 characters—use them wisely) and a Description field that will allow about 800 words (5000 characters). This is a huge opportunity to put your best, benefit-oriented, keyword rich copy to work. Really work on this book description because it will become the basic sales copy in the Nook store.

After your upload, you’ll get a chance to look at your e-book in a Nook emulator. Here’s what it looks like:

Nook emulator

Click to enlarge

 

Here’s the handy category picker:
PubitCategories

Making Money With Pubit!

The pricing policy is clearly spelled out in the excellent and space-efficient help section. Pubit! tries to get you to price your e-book between $.99 and $9.99. It tries hard. In this range you will earn a 65% royalty, so a sale of a $9.99 book will yield you $6.49. However, go outside those bounds and your royalty drops drastically to 40%. This means that you will earn more with a book priced at $9.99 than you will with one priced at $15.00 ($6.00 royalty). So you can see they mean business. The maximum price allowed is $199.99.

As with Kindle, you have to keep the price of your e-book consistent across retailers.

About As Easy As It Gets

Having published many print books, it’s almost eerie how easy it is to publish e-books, whether on Kindle or Pubit! The whole Pubit! experience is well designed. The dashboard has four tabs that give you access to sales reports, payments, help topics, your books, and your account info.

If you have all your copy ready before you log on—and you should have this copy written out in advance for the many places you’ll need it—the whole process takes less than 15 minutes.

Now if we could only get these companies to agree on one, flexible, sophisticated and user-friendly file format, e-books would really take off.

 

This is a reprint from Joel Friedlander‘s The Book Designer.

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