Oh, Barnes & Noble…

Before I begin: I cannot wait until the election is over. The news in politics are starting to give me a headache. (I know, starting? gah)

All political brouhaha aside, I have to sound off about Barnes and Noble.

What are they doing?

No, really. Far be it from me to speak ill of one of my distributors, but right now I’m wondering if B&N wants to go bankrupt.

First things first, they had stopped carrying Amazon-imprinted books in their brick-and-mortar stores (google it, please, on account that my link to this seems to be in the ether) and I’m written a post on the subject of that already. But now, I found out that they’re cutting the amount of money that affiliates get with e-book sales.

B&N, seriously, are you trying to go out of business?

This is the thing. As I’ve stated previously, eliminating Amazon-imprint books from the brick-and-mortar stores, B&N is sending a message to self-pubs with hard copies that they’re not going to be welcome. The Nook has an excellent number of affiliated e-stores, and this is a nice little message that discourages affiliates from listing Nook versions of their material. The affiliates make their money by taking a percentage of the sale due to their role in supplying the material and driving traffic to the storefront. So if there’s less of a cut to affiliates, there’s less of an incentive for an affiliate to drive traffic, and consequently, less of an incentive for the affiliates to host or link to e-material for Nook.

Now, affiliate cut is something that is worked into the trad-pub contract before the book goes to print. PubIt contracts would have a clause. Amazon has the same clause exactly, because it thrives on affiliates.

But to reduce the cut, and therefore reduce the incentive to host Nook content, is the exactly wrong thing for B&N to do.

Look, no one wants a monopoly, and Amazon is quickly leading the way in the e-book market. B&N is dragging its heels, clearly, and has made more than one bad decision in a row. So far, they’ve shown their back to indies by nixing Amazon-imprint hard copies (CreateSpace is a very popular print-on-demand press, and it’s an Amazon-owned company), and now they’re shooting their digital platform in the foot. The Nook is pretty damn popular, just as popular as Kindle, and if material becomes less available, then what do you have? Reduced exposure. As a result of which, the author loses out, whether indie or trad pub. Because seriously, if a publisher sees that there’s less money to be made in a market, would they go into that market? HELL NO.

B&N, you did something very, very stupid. Considering that the e-book sales are on the rise – although 85% of the book market is still dominated by print – the last thing you want to do is limit those sales.

As I said before, Amazon had done nothing but embrace indie authors and e-books with open arms, and it paid off but good. E-books alone have paid off for Amazon to last them for a damn long time, and they have already established themselves in the marketplace as a storefront and a distribution engine. B&N, which also has a long-established reputation in the book world, should know better than to alienate its affiliates, who happen to be its customers as well. What’s the best way to lose business? Piss off the customers. And B&N is doing exactly that.

And, in light of this, and after a chat with my editor, I have removed Book 1 from Nook and Smashwords for the next 90 days, and have enrolled it in KDP Select. For 90 days, I will get to see how it does in the KDP Select world, and if it works out, then the other books will follow suit. I feel a lot more secure in doing this now, after B&N had been pulling this crap, because I know for a given that Amazon will continue rolling out innovations for e-publishing for a long time to come. Amazon is the dominant market, and will remain that way. I go where the best opportunities are.

Book 1 sold here: http://amzn.to/yBvVgl

K.G.

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