Ebook Retailers Grade for Upload Process

report cardJust finished an update to stay current with the e-publishing industry (not an easy task), then went to the sales venues to submit ebooks and paperbacks. Here’s the graded list in order of most efficient and user-friendly IMO to the least:

1. Amazon KDP. A+, love the subtle changes to their preview mode, still with the ability to both download the converted document or to view the newly enhanced on-screen version with Kindle options and working hyperlinks–very nice and fast. Available in the Kindle store in about 6 hours. This company has always done the most to sell ebooks and help me do it.

2. CreateSpace. A , the interior digital proof and final proof including cover design are miles better than years past. I love this company for paperbacks. Proofs went through in about 12 hours online and a physical copy delivered to my door in 3 days at the slowest shipping speed (because I chose to order a copy). Used to take a week. Fine quality and price is fantastic, can’t be beat by LightningSource or Lulu. Only wish they did more to proof the cover design online before submitting and perhaps add interior template options.

3. Smashwords. A-, some of this is my familiarity and loyalty but they still do a great job and give LOADS of advice on self-publishing. I wish approval times were faster for Premium Status, but it has sped up to around 24-48 hours compared to several days in the past. Also it can be a grizzly bear passing meat-grinder for newbies, but indies should learn proper formatting. SW is doing everyone a service by keeping formatting standards high.

4. Kobo. B, they have a great way of handling uploads for cover, description and content, but their Previewer needs work to get past the B grade. Don’t like the required download to view on Calibre or some other method–Kobo, keep up with the others and create an online Previewer. Props to them for more monthly sales than B & N, a pleasant surprise.

5. NookPress. B-, my first time uploading since the change from Pubit. Definite improvements with the ability to edit within their system and working links in Preview mode and an improved online Previewer. Still not as sweet as the way Amazon handles TOC but getting better. Needs improvements with the Editorial Review department, couldn’t get that to work right or to just delete it altogether. Now if they could fix their Nook Store search engine and get sales going (a long story), which is still affecting their overall grade.

6. Draft2Digital C+ My first experience with them and mixed feelings. Love how they’re attempting to simplify approval for authors without formatting experience, but does it currently come at a cost to those of us with experience? Maybe, maybe not. I’m only distributing to Apple through them and have been watching my book in Publishing status for a week now, assuming it will be distributed to iTunes soon. Excited for the promise of “real time” sales reports. Jury still out on this company but since they’re new, that’s understandable. Wishing them the best.

Besides the biggies, I upload to my own websites for direct sales (pdf, epub, mobi) and give that an A+ at both Webs and Yola. So easy and nice to sell books via PayPal.

I may update the samples at Scribd and other venues but doubt to upload again to Google Ebooks-Partners-Play, not even sure what they’re calling it theses days.

Your thoughts?

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Barnes & Noble PubIt Changes to Nook Press, Too Late?

Nook Press logoPubIt is now Nook Press. Smart move for Barnes & Noble, or is it too little too late? Amid speculation that the Nook ship is sinking, or at least taking on water fast, this move to enhance the self-publishing indie author platform feels like a last ditch effort. My opinion: I hope it works but should have been done long ago. Here’s the email they just released (note some cool new features and some serious concerns below):

Dear Publisher,

Over the past two and a half years, our working partnership has made PubIt! a resounding success. Because of PubIt! publishers like you, we’ve been able to offer millions of NOOK® customers exciting new content from independent authors.

Our success is your success, and we’ve been working hard to bring you a platform that takes our partnership—and self-publishing—to the next level. Today, we’re pleased to introduce to you NOOK Press, our new and improved self-publishing platform!

NOOK Press is self-publishing made simple. With the NOOK Press platform you can write, edit, collaborate, publish and sell your eBooks all in one place—at no cost.

The NOOK Press platform features these exciting new tools and services:

  • NEW! One-stop Publishing Solution: Write, edit, format and publish your eBooks in our web-based platform, instantly reaching millions of NOOK customers within 72 hours.
  • NEW! Easy ePub Creation and Editing: Upload your manuscript file and make changes directly in NOOK Press. Editing and previewing in one session saves you time and effort.
  • NEW! Integrated Collaboration: Collaborate with editors, copyeditors, and friends, allowing them to review and comment on your manuscript without ever leaving NOOK Press.
  • Visual Sales Reporting: Our new visually-enhanced sales report makes tracking your sales progress even easier.
  • NEW! Instant Chat: Live Chat customer service is now available to quickly answer your questions Monday through Friday between 9am-9pm EST.
  • Pathway to Passionate Readers Everywhere: Publish once and reach millions of customers using NOOK and NOOK Reading Apps in the US and UK and more coming soon.
  • Same Great Terms: Our favorable PubIt! business terms and commitment to a transparent retail partnership remain unchanged.

NOOK Press Presents
Our booksellers are currently hand-selecting titles for a new merchandising program: NOOK Press Presents — Our Top 100 Picks for Summer. NOOK Press Presents will be an ongoing merchandising channel for independently published content that comes to NOOK through NOOK Press.

Once you moved your existing PubIt! account to NOOK Press your titles will be considered for this program, which will promote books across the NOOK ecosystem.

Get started with NOOK Press today! Click here to be guided through a quick, one-time account syncing process. Once completed your PubIt! account, sales, payment, and title information will automatically appear in NOOK Press. To find out more about the changeover to NOOK Press, see our support page here.

We’re excited to turn the page together on a new chapter in self-publishing!

Sincerely,
The NOOK Press Team

Like many indNook Press my titlesie authors, I’m really wanting this to work. We need more avenues for sales than just Amazon and the smattering of others including Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, etc. If you’re already selling there, switching a PubIt account to Nook Press is simple. This was my screenshot after doing so, and it asks which titles you want to offer for sale–then viola, it’s done.

The sales and payments page is also better, with all the information on one page and a graph of sales. You can also create a profile now (yeah!), something that was seriously lacking before. All information for payments automatically switches from the PubIt account, so no worries to reinsert bank account info, addresses, etc. It’s really simple. The ability to work on their site, collaborate with editors, friends, cover designers sounds intriguing–will have to report back on that.

Now for the serious concerns. Once an ebook is listed for sale, changes can’t be made without dumping the existing project and losing the reviews, ranking, etc: NOOK Book Details can be changed after you put your Project On Sale as a NOOK Book, but at this time, the NOOK Book itself cannot be updated or replaced. To update or replace a NOOK Book that is currently On Sale, you would need to take the Project Off Sale, download the ePub from the Project page, create a new Project, upload the downloaded ePub or create a new Manuscript in that Project, and then put that new Project On Sale as a NOOK Book.

IMPORTANT THINGS TO KNOW:
Once you click Put On Sale, there will be a period of time of approximately 24-72 hours before your Project goes On Sale as a NOOK Book. During this interim period, you will be unable to edit your NOOK Book Details. Once your Project is On Sale as a NOOK Book, you will be able to edit the NOOK Book Details again. If you choose to change or update your NOOK Book’s title, please note that the NOOK Book will lose any existing customer reviews, sales ranking, star ratings, and links to other products with the previous title. The only NOOK Book Details you cannot change after your Project goes on sale as a NOOK Book is whether your NOOK Book is encrypted with DRM.

This makes me moderately happy. Like other indies, we all just want to sell ebooks. Back on the Nook bandwagon? Perhaps.

What are your thoughts?


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Big Tease from Nook Pubit Barnes & Noble

pubit nook Barnes & NobleJust when the thought of life getting more suspenseful seemed impossible, Barnes & Noble sent me this email:

Dear PubIt! Publisher,

We’ve got some exciting news on the horizon, and as an integral part of our self-publishing community, we want you to be the first to know! Stay tuned for an upcoming announcement on our next chapter in self-publishing. We appreciate your partnership and look forward to an even stronger relationship in the future.

Sincerely,
The PubIt! Team

Any guesses what it could be? I’m scratching my head–I’ve literally got nothing.

Let’s just say sleep is going to be challenging until the announcement comes. Hopefully the news is that Barnes & Noble is really going to embrace and promote indie authors in a method similar to Amazon. Because that would be exciting.

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Amazon Reports Growth, Barnes & Noble Closing Stores

Jeff Bezos Kindle FireRecent reports indicate what many Indie authors already know as vendors dealing with retailers: that Amazon thrives while Barnes & Noble struggles.

Amazon CEO, Jeff Bezos, said, “After 5 years, eBooks is a multi-billion dollar category for us and growing fast – up approximately 70% last year. In contrast, our physical book sales experienced the lowest December growth rate in our 17 years as a book seller, up just 5%. We’re excited and very grateful to our customers for their response to Kindle and our ever expanding ecosystem and selection.”

The company does not give exact data on Kindle sales although the Kindle Fire HD, Kindle Fire and Kindle Paperwhite have all been top sellers since their releases.

One of their historical competitors, Barnes & Noble, plans to close roughly 200 stores, about 30% of their brick and mortar locations, over the next decade. Barnes & Noble also reported a decline in Nook sales for the last quarter of 2012.

Notice that Amazon reports a growth rate even for print books, while B & N reports a decline for the Nook devices. Not good. Perhaps Microsoft needs to invest another 300 million in this fight?

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Poll-Where do Indie Authors Sell Ebooks?

Please share your thoughts or comments.


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