Barnes & Noble Welcomes Self-Published Writers? Yup!


For the first time ever, self-published authors may have a shot at placing their books on the shelves of Barnes and Noble–so to speak.

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This news, reported in a Feb. 24 article published by GalleyCat on Mediobistro.com, comes right as Borders announced it’s filing for bankruptcy. According to the article, Barnes and Noble opened its doors to writers using the PubIt! self-publishing program.

Just to make sure this was a legit report, I hopped onto Barnes and Noble’s corporate website. Sure enough, there sat the official press release, “More than 11,000 Independent Publishers and Self-Publishing Authors Bring Their Digital Works to Barnes & Noble’s PubIt!™ Publishing Platform.”

How does PubIt! work?

Personally, I’d never heard of PubIt! Therefore, I followed the link to this program from the Barnes and Noble press release. Here’s what I found:

  • PubIt! appears to be Barnes and Noble’s self-publishing platform for eBooks.
  • It launched four months ago, according to the press release.
  • The website for PubIt! states there is no cost to use the service.
  • According to the PubIt! service policies, “the publisher will set a List Price for each eBook between $0.99 and $199.99.”
  • It also appears, from the service policies, the publisher will be paid royalties off the List Price.
  • I personally found the site and platform easy to use, from my brief time poking around.

What does this mean for writers?

This is a huge paradigm shift for publishers and writers. Can lesser known, self-published authors now compete with major names such as Nora Roberts, Dan Brown and Sara Gruen (Water for Elephants)? Do publishing houses and literary agents hold the same weight as they used to? Or can any marketing-savvy writer now make his or her way into the world of publishing and take the literary audience by storm?

Here’s another scenario to consider: perhaps this is a way for giant, Barnes and Noble, to tap into the huge market of self-published writers. Is this just a ploy to make money, while the real edge still remains in the hands of major publishing houses?

Take a moment and contemplate. Then tell me: what do you think?

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14 thoughts on “Barnes & Noble Welcomes Self-Published Writers? Yup!

  1. Shari,
    I’m a bit late on this, but…just the other day I was readng through Lisa Rivero’s blogging on another blog called Writing Without Paper by Maureen Doallas. Maureen talks about her journey to getting a book of poetry published (Neruda’s Memiors) by a small press called T.S Poetry Press, started by another poet. This came about because Maureen had been writing great stuff that made people notice. This is an amazing story (check it out) about forgoing the usual route, but having it all happen because of great writing. Poet Adrianne Rich in an book of essays on poetry, wrote that the current system of big house publishers and mega-bookstores could be viewed as a form of censorship, as in only publishing those who would appeal to mass market sales. I’m not sure of the validity of this argument, especially coming from someone who was published widely. I think it will take a while for the full effect, but the internet has already opened peoples eyes, and ears, to fantastic writing and music and art, that would not have a voice otherwise. Also remember that what B&N says, and what ends up on their shelves, do not always agree. Thanks, as always for being ahead of the game.
    ken

  2. I am thrilled to hear about it. But I know it does not automatically mean best-seller success. Self-published authors have to not only generate excellent, page-turning content, they have to market like crazy.So double duty. Also, while traditional publishing may seem elitist, good content gets an author through the door. If a traditional agent or publisher has turned me down, I wouldn’t just scoff at their criticisms and go self-publish. I would heed what they have to say and polish my product. Then, maybe I would self-publish. The last thing I want to do is publish mediocre work and become known as “that” author.

  3. Wow, I think this is a big step in the right direction. It seems like book publishing has been so elitist (meaning that it takes a publisher, agent, etc.). But now, with online tools, blogging, and eBooks, this may be a good way for us writers to get started. I’m glad to see the industry is shifting. They’re smart to do that if they want to keep in business. I’m excited to check this out!

  4. I’m not sure we’re quite at the point yet where any self-published writer can instantly compete with the big guns, but I think we’re getting there. If Barnes and Noble’s making a play for self-published novels, then other major bookstore chains like Borders or Books-a-Million may very well follow suit, and of course the online sites like Amazon already have platforms for self-published books (that’s where I published mine, through CreateSpace). The Internet changed everything, I think, and there’s no going back. So yeah, I think we’re very near the point where self-publishing can be as successful, if not more so, than the traditional route.

    1. I think you’re right on cue, Michael. It will be very interesting to follow these trends and see the outcome they produce. This might completely change the future of publishing, and perhaps even put more power into the hands of the author. I’m curious to see how it all plays out. You are so right about the Internet: it really did change everything. Thanks for reading and posting your thoughts on the topic!

      Shari

  5. Self-publishing is definitely becoming more common. Times are a changing. However, I can’t help but wonder if this merely is a an attempt to recover from bankruptcy. No matter B&N’s reasons, this could turn out well for indie authors.

    1. I agree with you, V.V. I’ve worked for a newspaper as a reporter, and even done some investigative work. Upon snooping around the PubIt! terms of service, those “read between the lines” instincts kicked in, and I couldn’t help but wonder that same question, especially as I saw the percentage of royalties they take for those books which don’t sell at higher prices. It could be an attempt to keep themselves from falling into bankruptcy, or taking control of a market. But regardless, as you said, this could really turn out well for indie authors.

      Thanks for weighing in!
      Shari

  6. Hmm. I’ve been watching all of these changes with great interest, and you pose some excellent questions, Shari. I think what this does is that it gives writers a lot more freedom of choice and may open the door for those who haven’t broken in using traditional publishing methods. I just don’t know the answer about “competing with Dan Brown et. al”… Those authors already have huge followings and started out the traditional way – i.e. with the marketing and PR machines of a big industry. Self-pubbed writers are still going to have to market, market, market themselves … and, of course, write a darn good book.

    1. I agree Melissa! Thanks for weighing in. One of the first rules of writing a blog with a decent following, is to write GOOD CONTENT. Then, you have to learn to market yourself. I think with the self-publishing industry, it’ll be the same. You may be a great marketer, but if your book is poorly written, no one will want to read it. And the same is true visa versa: you may be a gifted writer, but if you have no marketing knowledge, you will fail in the world of self-publishing (unless you hire a publicist, of course).

  7. For a lot of self-published writers, this is already old news. I hope to have my first novel out on Smashwords late this month or early next month, and will probably also reformat it for Pubit. In the absence of publishers and their publicists, wide distribution is one of the indie writer’s best tools.

    1. Catana,

      Thank you for that very insightful perspective. It’s funny you say that, because for those of us looking into the more traditional route of publishing a book, I’ve found this is rather new news. I’d suspected that such wide distribution, such as through B & N, would become a huge asset to self-published writers. Thank you for weighing in!

      Shari

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