Barnes and Noble reveals e-book pricing 'sweet spot' with new self-publishing tool

Barnes and Noble nook
Book retailer Barnes and Noble on Monday launched its independent e-book publishing platform Pubit! to attract independent and do-it-yourself publishers to the Nook e-reader.

Books released through Pubit! can be priced as low as 99¢ and as high as $199.99, but there's definitely a sweet spot where Barnes and Noble encourages publishers to list their e-books. That spot is between $2.99 and $9.99, where publishers take 65% of the money collected. Titles priced less than $2.98, and more than $10.00 only earn publishers 40% of the list price.

This spot is exactly the same on Amazon.com's DTP self-publishing platform.

To encourage publishers to release books in that price range, Amazon bumped up the royalties paid there to 70% last June. Amazon's royalty payments are also determined by the e-book's file size; and in instances where a paper version of the same book exists, the difference in price between the e-book and the paper one.

Though it is paying out 5% lower royalties, Barnes and Noble today said Pubit! is free from "hidden fees" related to file size and print publishing disparities.

The main attraction to the Nook platform --besides Barnes & Noble's market presence, of course-- is its friendliness toward peer sharing and casual content browsing. The "Read in Store" feature lets users browse an e-book in its entirety as long as the reader is physically in a Barnes and Noble store; and "LendMe" lets users loan their e-books out to friends for up to 14 days.

In the end, offering self-publishing tools to independent and DIY publishers is about broadening the content available in e-book stores.
"The launch of our PubIt! platform further reinforces our long-standing commitment to authors and writers, and offers a significant opportunity to provide an even greater selection of reading material to our millions of customers," Theresa Horner, director, digital products, Barnes & Noble said on Monday.

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