#WRITERS, Barnes & Noble Nook Press Contract Terms are INSANELY Bad!

This is from the April 3, 2013 Nook Press Terms and Conditions:

And trust me, you are going to want to read this bad boy yourself.

But I’ll comment here. My highlights of my excerpts of their text are bold, my personal comments are indented italic.

IMPORTANT NOTE: I am not a lawyer. I am a writer who reads the damned contract, and over the last 22 years, I’ve developed some skill in spotting bad clauses. But I would LOVE to have a lawyer’s take on this.

I’ve skipped a lot of minor evil, and am taking you straight to the bits about the money.

5. Pricing

A. List Prices. When you submit your eBook to us, you will provide a list price for your eBook in one or more currencies in accordance with the then current procedures listed in the Service Polices for list price submission (“List Price”). You will adjust the List Price as required to ensure that, at all times that the eBook is available for sale through NOOK Press, the List Price does not exceed the maximum list price or go below the minimum list price permitted in our Pricing and Payment Terms.

Okay. So far, this is within reason, though no link exists to let you see what current “List Price” is, or how you determine where your work will fit in their policy.

We will use commercially reasonable efforts to effect any change in List Price you provide to us within twenty (20) days following the date on which you submit it. We may provide other requirements for List Prices in the Service Policies which your eBooks must meet in order to be accepted and remain on NOOK Press, in addition to the requirements provided in the Pricing and Payment Terms. The List Price you provide will be exclusive of any applicable value added, goods and services or similar taxes (“VAT”). If we display a List Price to customers, we may add applicable VAT to the List Price you provide to determine the List Price that we display. If we offer your eBook for sale in a different currency than a currency in which you set your List Price (“Sale Currency”), we may convert the List Price to the Sale Currency at an exchange rate we determine. We may periodically update the converted List Price in order to reflect current exchange rates. If we convert your List Price to another Sale Currency, the converted List Price in the Sale Currency will be your List Price with respect to the offer and sale of your eBook in the Sale Currency for all purposes under this Agreement. For example, your Royalties (as defined below) will be calculated based on the converted List Price in the Sale Currency.

Do note that they don’t say they’ll change their price. They use legalese, and say they’ll “try.” This clause supports the one with big bad teeth further down. Beyond that “we’ll try to change your price” bit, though, nothing outside the bounds of the acceptable here, either. They gotta charge tax for places that collect them, they’re going to add the tax to the price rather than taking it out of your end. That’s how taxes work.

B. Customer Prices. We have sole and complete discretion to set the Retail Price at which your eBooks are sold to the customer. We or our third party retailers, partners or contractors are solely responsible for processing payments, payment collection, requests for refunds and related customer service.

This, however, is Bastion of Evil #1. When a retailer discounts a commercially published print book, the retailer has paid for that book, and any losses he takes for discounting the product will be HIS. When a retailer discounts an ebook, he is not taking a small loss to move product, because he has paid NOTHING to have that book in his inventory. (If you’re screaming about website maintenance and setting up ebook delivery systems, knock it off. When you own a business, building your damn website is a Cost of Doing Business, it’s deductible, and you already have to do that to sell the rest of the products you offer. Ask me how I know.)

So when a retailer discounts your ebook and you don’t sell enough extra copies to make up the difference, he is giving you an arbitrary pay cut. When he raises your set price and cuts your sellthrough to the point that you’re only selling a few copies, again the loss of sales is exclusively yours. He loses NOTHING because he paid nothing to begin with. Anything he does, no matter how much it hurts the sale of your book or you personally, is free to him.

But the retailer wants to make as much money as possible, so he would never do this, right?

What is Barnes & Noble? It’s a brick-and-mortar chain with a non-stellar online presence. It has a massive, vested interest in keeping print books at the top of the reading food chain, just as commercial publishers do. Commercial publishers have moved the price of ebooks upward to be the same as or higher than their mass market or trade paper versions. Why? For the publicly stated purpose of SLOWING DOWN EBOOK SALES.

Is it possible that Barnes & Noble, hoping to keep its stores open, might work to make the ebooks in its product line less appealing?

Okay, at this point, I know I sound a bit paranoid—but they do state that, no matter what you suggest for your price, they have no obligation whatsoever to honor it. Keep that in mind as we move forward. And remember, ANY legally binding clauses in contracts do not exist just for funsies.

Beyond that, this is the pricing clause, and there’s nothing in here at all about minimum or maximum prices. Not a word.

Anyway, now we get to “your royalties, as defined below.”

6. Payments

A. Royalty. If you are not in breach of any of your obligations under this Agreement, for each eBook sold to a customer through NOOK Press, Barnes & Noble will pay you the applicable “Royalty” defined and set forth in the Pricing and Payment Terms, net of refunds, chargebacks, bad debt and any applicable taxes charged to a customer or applied with respect to sales to a customer (including without limitation any VAT or sales taxes).

Okay. So you’re to get a royalty, after everything else has been subtracted out. Payment terms are next, where you’ll find out what your royalty is. Read this next bit twice. Better yet, print it off, and read it three times.

B. Payment Terms. Barnes & Noble will pay or cause to be paid your Royalties on sales of your eBook approximately sixty (60) days following the end of the calendar month during which it is sold. At the time of payment, we will make available to you an online report detailing sales of eBooks and corresponding Royalties. All payments will be made via electronic transfer payments or other method we designate in the Service Policies in the Sale Currency or other payment currency we provide for in the Service Policies. If we give you the option to change your payment currency and you select that option using our then-current procedures, unless otherwise noted the change will be effective on the first day of the calendar month following the calendar month in which you make the change. If we pay you in a currency other than the Sale Currency, we will convert the Royalties due from the Sale Currency to the payment currency at an exchange rate we determine, which will be inclusive of all fees and charges for the conversion. We may require you to register in your account a valid bank account for receiving EFT payments that is in compliance with the then-current Service Policies, in which case we will not be obligated to make payments of Royalties to you unless you do so. We are entitled to accrue and withhold payments until the total amount due is at least Ten U.S. Dollars ($10) or for payments in other currencies, at least those amounts we set forth in the Service Policies. You may not maintain any action or proceeding against us in respect of any statement unless you commence that action or suit within six (6) months after the date the statement is rendered. Any such action or proceeding shall be limited to a determination of the amount of monies, if any, payable by us to you for the accounting periods in question, and your sole remedy shall be the recovery of those monies with no interest thereon. If we pay you a Royalty on a sale and later issue a refund, return, or credit for such sale, we may offset the amount of the Royalty previously paid for the sale against future Royalties, or require you to remit that amount to us. Negative balances can occur when the value of all refunds of your eBook during a given payment period exceeds that value of orders for your eBook. If you have a negative balance on your payment date, the negative balance may be offset from future Royalty payments to you. If a third party asserts that you did not have all rights required to make your eBook available on NOOK Press, or if we believe that you may be in breach of your representations and warranties in this Agreement, we will be entitled to hold all Royalties due until we determine that the validity of the third party claim, that you were not in breach or have fully remedied your breach, as applicable. Upon termination of this Agreement, we may withhold all Royalties due for a period of three (3) months from the date they would otherwise be payable in order to ensure our ability to offset any refunds or other offsets we are entitled to take against the Royalties.

That’s it, Bob. That is the WHOLE ENTIRE DAMNED payments clause, and nowhere in this agreement that you must sign is there one word about what your royalty will be. The old agreement had it in there, nice and plain. Here? Well…this is what we call “signing a blank check” and THIS is why I keep saying READ THE DAMN CONTRACT.

Throw in the fact that B&N reserves the right to change your cover art without warning and with no redress possible from you (hey, you signed the contract), that you are required to make 100% of your book available for free to anyone reading on a Nook in one of their stores (no time limits or restrictions are mentioned, and if it’s not in the contract, it doesn’t exist,) and what you have here is the single worst contract I have ever seen in my life. And I’ve seen some real stinkers.

So will I be transferring my existing list of books from the existing PubIt program.

No. I’ll be pulling everything down from Barnes & Noble before their cutoff date.

ADDED LATER:

I have now had to spam a couple of comments. This blog has rules for commenters. READ THEM if you don’t already know them. I don’t mind if you disagree with me, but if you do, BACK IT UP WITH FACTS. Snarky asides with no useful information, and personal attacks on me or the other commenters will get you marked as a spammer.

ADDED APRIL 11:

It comes down to this: If you read the clauses that are not appended to the contract, it is somewhat worse than Amazon’s contract. Not a lot. Just somewhat.

I have a file cabinet full of contracts, however, and all of them INCLUDE ALL THE PARTS of the contract right IN the contract. You can read the whole twenty-plus page agreement, and it is set in stone. The terms are the terms, printed out there right in front of you. You read them, and then you sign them, and both you and your publisher are bound by them. No part of them can be changed without you rereading and re-signing the whole thing.

The Amazon contract is a one-piece beast. Every time they change the terms, you have to read through and re-sign the whole thing. THIS IS A GOOD THING.

The Nook Press contract is like a publisher who left all the parts of the agreement that protect you in his other pants.

Sure, he has them, and you can take his word for it that he’s looking out for your interests too. But if you cannot read those clauses right in your contract, and they do not exist in the copy of the contract you print out, you are ONLY signing what’s contained on the piece of paper in your hand. Contract evil does not necessarily arise out of bad intent or a genuine attempt to defraud. Sometimes it just arises out of stupidity.

Neither option, however, makes a great recommendation for Barnes & Noble or Nook Press as a promising business partner in the future.


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About the author: Novelist, writing teacher, on a mission to reprint my out-of-print books and self-publish my new ones.


215 comments… add one
  • Montana Dec 18, 2018 @ 3:13

    Wonderful post! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  • Jane H. May 11, 2015 @ 7:58

    I’m a vendor and despite how easy it is to upload a manuscript, edit it online, etc., they are a dog to do business with. You cannot telephone them. You can only “chat.” The Chat representatives can do nothing other than refer your case to a Business Specialist who will get back to you within two business days. If you are lucky to receive an email, they may or may not have understood your question. If they don’t or didn’t. they do not respond if you write back.

    Nook Press is the WORST company to do business with. Authors and vendors BEWARE.

    Contrast that to vending your book with Amazon. They have 24/7 customer support and will telephone you instantly if you want. You talk to a person and the problem gets resolved.

  • Robert Pacholik Jul 2, 2013 @ 14:19

    Holly:
    Read your piece on B&N and Amazon and must tell you I am appalled at the BYZANTINE language of publishing contracts. Language and restrictions, and taking of property, simply because they feel like it. But I do not have to sign. Thank you, you helped me!
    I write military action/adventure novels and short stories. If you were new(and dumb) which device/firm and which contract would you go to?
    And something else, ignore those nattering fools who don’t like your opinion. Tell like it is, and keep going.
    pacho

    • Holly Jul 2, 2013 @ 14:58

      I’ve gone with putting up my products on Amazon, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, and my own shop.

      Apple is simply too much of a pain in the ass to bother with: half your stuff doesn’t go through for inscrutable and undefinable reasons. They accepted the first book of my Cadence Drake series, for example, but not the second.

      At which point, I bailed. If they won’t take my front list, I don’t need ’em.

      I don’t work with Smashwords because they’re layering fees over work I can do myself, and only paying quarterly, which puts me too far from my money. If you live on your writing, getting paid monthly is the bare sane minimum. Getting paid daily, as with PayPal, is far more reassuring if you have a sudden emergency.

      Having both monthly and daily income sliding into your bank account is optimal.

  • john d m myer Apr 12, 2013 @ 11:13

    Don’t say oops too quickly. B&N has merely
    produced a faulted copy of Amazon. They repeated
    the worst mistakes, implemented them poorly and
    I must add very sloppily as you saw in the first
    version of the Nook Press contract. You did them
    a favor although I wonder if they would have
    reacted to correct the flaws if you had not
    attacked so violently or held such a large following.

    During my earlier career inside a major corporate headquarters I learned that “make the customer believe she is receiving the best possible service and products” was far more important than actually providing them. I see most corporations as inherently evil.

    A B&N local store manager told me she had no interest in my ebooks for sale on B&N unless I could provide a real book in her hands to sell in her store. She said, “I’ll not spend a nickel of our store’s resources without hard copies on hand.” Wait up Borders, B&N is coming.

    Note: I am completely revising my website with html5, css, javascript and ajax as the underneath base. The new site will debut shortly along with my next ebook on Kauai.

  • Linda Apr 12, 2013 @ 1:51

    Holly, (love the name, gave it to my first born, she is no longer on earth, love anyone with her name); thank you for the information you provide. Your experience will save writers a lot of discouragement,if they heed the advice.
    I literally woke up this morning thinking about the price of e books vs print books (fell asleep reading my e-book, next to my stack of print books); trying to figure out how they can be so comparable in price when there is such a large cost to produce difference. Found your article here just minutes after waking up and catching up on my inbox.
    The thought of trying to discourage e-books over keeping stores open did not cross my mind. at all. (It is 4am, so maybe later it would, but who knows?) Thanks, Holly.

  • Amy Apr 11, 2013 @ 15:26

    I read another commentary on another site that struck on a couple of problems you didn’t mention. Chief among them is the inability on Nook to update files in order to correct typos and such. In other words, if you need to change your Nook file for any reason, you have to remove it entirely from the Nook site and upload the changes as a brand new file. In the process, you lose all your prior reviews, your sales ranking, and any outside links to the book get broken.
    Even if everything else about the Nook contract was exactly like the Amazon contract, that would probably be enough to be a deal-breaker for me.

  • David Larson Apr 11, 2013 @ 6:47

    The problem with the B&N contract is that the “intent” of a contract is less important than what it may allow. The intent may be of the purest good at the date the contract is written.

    HOWEVER [cue evil theme music] it only takes one Bad Apple ascending to a level of some authority to determine that they want to do something EVIL and the contract is ambiguous enough to let them get away with it.

    Countless times, unethical actions of corporations, governments, or any other group, are due to the decisions of a few people. The problem is exacerbated by the rest of the crowd “playing ball” being “team players” and “not rocking the boat”, because “whistle blower” is synonymous with Rat, Fink, Squealer, Tattle-Tale Narc….

    No matter how legally wrong that one Bad Apple may be, the CYA attitude usually causes the company to defend even a bad decision to a point, and you have to pay an attorney to fight them over it. Legal fights may continue even after the termination of the Bad Apple and the correction of the offending contract.
    CYA also helps attorneys rack up billable hours….

    • Mark Coker Apr 11, 2013 @ 7:04

      I think everyone needs to take a deep breath. If we let our imaginations run wild, or if we fall into the darkness of paranoid and unfounded speculation, we’ll see evil everywhere. There’s no evil here. B&N is a good player. They’re not out to screw authors. Neither is Amazon out to screw authors. When authors lose the capacity to trust their supply chain partners, the decisions that come from lack of trust invariably lead to authors making decisions that are counter to their own self-interest.

      I have no interest to defend Nook Press. I’d rather authors distribute to B&N through Smashwords. Yet the criticism leveled against Nook Press here and elsewhere strikes me as unfair. If an author abandons B&N because they don’t like the contract, they’re only harming themselves. One way or another, whether through Nook Press or through Smashwords, I think every author should have every book at B&N. They sell a lot of books!

      • Holly Apr 11, 2013 @ 8:03

        Darlin’, I’ve walked away from commercial deals because I didn’t like the contract. I guarantee you I’m not harming myself if I refuse to sign a bad one. But I’m still stinging from the bad ones I did sign.

        • Mark Coker Apr 11, 2013 @ 8:51

          Holly, does that mean you’d walk away from the Amazon KDP contract too? The B&N contract is practically modeled upon the KDP contract: https://kdp.amazon.com/self-publishing/help?topicId=APILE934L348N

          • “sole and complete discretion to set the retail customer price”

          • “we will convert the List Price you submit to other currencies (each, a “Sale Currency”) at an exchange rate we determine.”

          • If we pay you a Royalty on a sale and later issue a refund, return, or credit for that sale, we may offset the amount of the Royalty previously paid for the sale against future Royalties, or require you to remit that amount to us.

          • If a third party asserts that you did not have all rights required to make one of your Digital Books available through the Program, we may hold all Royalties due to you until we reasonably determine the validity of the third party claim. If we determine that you did not have all of those rights or that you have otherwise breached your representations and warranties or our Content Guidelines with regard to a Digital Book, we will not owe you Royalties for that Digital Book and we may offset any of those Royalties that were previously paid against future Royalties, or require you to remit them to us.
          • Upon termination of this Agreement, we may withhold all Royalties due for a period of three months from the date they would otherwise be payable in order to ensure our ability to off-set any refunds or other offsets we are entitled to take against the Royalties.

          • Holly Apr 11, 2013 @ 10:48

            Before you jump all over my site on your high horse, Mark, take a moment to pause and consider this:

            You’ll notice that I don’t publish on Smashwords. I also don’t recommend Smashwords to my students, though I mention it as an option.

            Why?

            Because Smashwords only pays quarterly, not monthly.

            Because MeatGrinder-formatted ebooks have been— bar none—the worst-quality ebooks I’ve bought in terms of formatting and professional presentation.

            Because folks have to pay Smashwords extra to do badly what they could do excellently on their own.

            Because Smashwords writers CANNOT run and promote timely sales when they do not have direct access to their work—which they don’t with Smashwords.

            I publish with Amazon, Kobo, and (currently) PubIt because their terms are better than yours.

            • Mark Coker Apr 11, 2013 @ 13:09

              Holly, no high horse here. Someone here posed a question if the Nook Press contract affects Smashwords authors (no affect), and then I shared my opinion that people would be well-served to calm down rather before they make rash decisions.

              In my comment above, I simply asked if you’d walk away from KDP considering the Nook Press terms you label as EVIL are nearly word for word identical to what’s in the KDP contract. Simple question. Sorry if you took that as high horsey.

              On the subject of Smashwords, our authors format their own books. Meatgrinder converts what it’s given, and produces excellent books if the formatting instructions are followed. If you’ve got a book that requires a level of sophistication above and beyond what Meatgrinder can produce, you can upload a direct epub. It makes no difference to us. Folks don’t pay Smashwords anything, other than the commission we take if a book sells. We don’t sell services. Authors can choose what channels they reach with Smashwords. At a minimum we’ll help them reach channels and readers they can’t reach on their own (with more coming). We’re working with our retailers all the time to do faster metadata updates. In the months and years ahead, we’ll continue to shrink any lag.

            • Kevin O. McLaughlin Apr 12, 2013 @ 6:55

              As far as the meatgrinder goes – after formatting scores of books for Smashwords, including many “rescues” for writers having trouble with the upload – I can say with absolute certainty that virtually all “problem uploads” to the Smashwords meatgrinder are based on user error. Specifically, user failure to read the style guide.

              That said, the ad hominem attack seems off point.

              The point here is, Mark is right.

              The new Nook Press contract is in almost all ways identical to the KDP contract. ALL of your complaints with the Nook Press contract also exist in the KDP contract. I’m confused why you’re raising the alarm here, but failed to raise the alarm about KDP in the first place.

              Of course, the bottom line is – there is no problem with either the KDP contract OR the Nook Press contract. Neither of them are perfect contracts, and I think some changes to both would be favorable to authors, but neither contains anything that looks like a dealbreaker.

              • Holly Apr 12, 2013 @ 9:35

                Bluntly, I had already SAID, up in the article itself, that with the unlinked clauses added the contract was only marginally worse than Amazon’s—I looked over your links. Until B&N actually linked them, they were nothing but an interesting data-point, but assuming that they were what B&N had attempted to refer to—assumption is the kiss of death legally, and you don’t do it with anything you’re signing—I could see where if they put the whole thing into their document, it would basically be the Amazon contract all over again.

                Having an owner of a third party publisher with a vested interest in keeping folks using as much of that service as possible, and telling me what I already said, did not endear Mark to me. And I had read his contract, too, when everyone was telling me that I should just go with Smashwords and they’d take care of everything for me. Not a good deal unless you have no better options.

                No, it wasn’t friendly. And while he was right about the INTENDED Barnes & Noble contract being like the EXISTING Amazon contract, I’d already covered that in the post, and having him attempt to catch me in my own word’s while utterly fucking diverting the point off of what I’d said, and WHY I was saying it, because he didn’t want his customers to stop using B&N, did not leave me thinking that I needed to maintain a friendly posture.

                My point was, and remains, that you do not sign a contract that does not include the whole contract. That is a simple enough point, I think.

              • Kevin O. McLaughlin Apr 12, 2013 @ 10:38

                Many contracts refer to other documents in their content; doing so makes those other documents part of the contract, REGARDLESS where they are stored on the internet. This seems to be the thing you are misunderstanding, Holly; there is no legal difference between a hyperlinked document in a contract and a referral to a document.

                The hyperlink is preferable because it makes it easier to find the other relevant documents. There’s no reason NOT to hyperlink; not doing so was unprofessional of B&N. But it did not in any way change the contract to add hyperlinks. It just made it easier for users to find those document.

              • Ray Johnson Apr 12, 2013 @ 11:18

                Although you’re technically correct, you’re missing something. If I am going to sign a contract, I will not do so unless I can review every single document that forms a part of that contract, then and there. The way this contract was, before they added the links, was similar to a lawyer asking you to sign a contract which references paper documents: “Oh, they’re over there in my file cabinet. I just didn’t get them out. You can always look at them later.” Nope! Not doing that.

                If you want to protect yourself, you have to be sure that you know, before you sign, exactly what it is you’re signing. And if the other party makes it even slightly difficult or inconvenient to see what those terms are, walk away. You can always sign the thing later, when you’ve had time to think it over. Once you sign, you can’t unsign it.

                Holly may not be a lawyer (neither am I) but her instincts are great. I don’t know exactly how she learned those instincts, but after what I’ve seen her post, I’d think three times – not just twice – before ignoring anything she said about the dangers of this or that contract. And, again, you can always sign the contract after you take some time to think it over. If someone is trying to rush you into signing a contract, that’s a bad sign. It means they don’t want you to have time to think it over. (Yes, I know, there’s a deadline to switch over in this case. So what? You can refuse for the moment and still change your mind and relist the books later. You can’t go back and undo the fact you already signed a binding contract.)

              • Kevin O. McLaughlin Apr 12, 2013 @ 11:26

                Her instincts ARE great. And when I looked at the contract, my own first impulse was simple:

                Go find the documents to which it referred.

                Took me about a minute to find them. It’s not rocket science. But as I agreed earlier, it WAS stupid of them not to hyperlink the documents in question first, since there were bound to be people who saw that as a problem.

              • Ray Johnson Apr 12, 2013 @ 11:36

                I agree, this is a long shot – but something similar (not involving a contract) has happened to me more than once. Say I go off and find the referenced documents, as you did, then I go back to the contract to see how they fit in. What if, while I’m reviewing that, someone uploads a changed version of one of those files? That could lead to signing a different version of the contract than I thought I was signing.

                If you’re happy to go off and find the documents which should be linked, that’s your choice. I wouldn’t want to sign unless I could pull it all together in a way which would guarantee I knew what I was signing. Holly seems to feel the same way. Most of the time, it might not matter. But, when it comes to signing a contract, “most of the time” isn’t good enough for me. You certainly have a right to disagree, but in that case, we’ll simply have to agree to disagree.

                (Yes, I’m being anal. It was being anal which caused me to notice a defect in a deed which at least one lawyer and a mortgage company both missed. The land was described in the deed, but the buildings were not included – through several transfers. In the end, it had to be sorted out in Land Court. One or two experiences like that will make you very, very careful. Although, obviously, I wasn’t the one who got burned by that deed; the point is that even a lawyer and a mortgage company never even noticed something that jumped out at me. It was a very valuable lesson, and while it has nothing directly to do with publishing, the principle is the same. Relying on anyone or anything too much can give you a big headache.)

  • Ash Apr 11, 2013 @ 5:31

    “We have sole and complete discretion to set the Retail Price at which your eBooks are sold to the customer.”

    “We have sole and complete discretion to set the retail customer price at which your Digital Books are sold through the Program.”

    The first is, according to your post, the #1 Bastion of Evil in the B&N ToS.

    The second is a direct quote from the KDP Terms and Conditions.

    I guess I’m puzzled as to why the the former is a bastion of evil and part of the reason you are pulling all your books from B&N and the latter is apparently acceptable.

  • elle strauss Apr 11, 2013 @ 2:19

    And then there’s this:

    Taking a NOOK Book Off Sale

    A NOOK Book can be taken Off Sale once it has been put On Sale. To do so, click Take Off Sale from the Project’s Manuscript page.

    NOTE: Currently, once a Project is On Sale as a NOOK Book, a replacement manuscript file cannot be uploaded and changes cannot be made to the Manuscript in the Manuscript Editor, even if the Project is Off Sale. To make changes to a Manuscript that you have already put on sale, you will need to download the ePub file, create a new Project, and upload it as a Manuscript File. You will also need to provide in your NOOK Book Details again in the new Project.

    From what I understand, this means if you change a comma, you have to reload everything and start from scratch. (Meaning also you lose reviews and possibly ranking?)

  • Doug Dandridge Apr 10, 2013 @ 20:30

    I pulled my books off of Smashwords due to problems with Barnes and Noble not changing the prices on my books for two months after I changed them on Smashwords. Smashwords makes a big deal out of keeping your ebooks on as many vuenues as possible. But in ten months I sold about thirty books on Smashwords, including Barnes and Noble and Kobo, in a ten month period, while selling, to date, well over 26,000 ebooks on Amazon. And Barnes and Noble taking their time making the price changes on my books cost me hundreds of dollars on Amazon, who will lower my prices to match those of competitors. Add to that the over one thousand books they have lent through the Kindle Owner’s Lending Library, which net about as much as a sale, and it was a no brainer to go with Amazon exclusively

    • Mark Coker Apr 11, 2013 @ 6:51

      Doug, I’m sorry to hear you had a problem getting your prices set correctly. B&N is usually one of our most reliable partners, so it’s possible the pricing problem was caused by a glitch at Smashwords.

      I’m sorry to hear you opened out of all distribution, because you’re missing out on big markets not just at B&N, but also Apple, Kobo and even the Smashwords store. Different books break out at different retailers at different times. It’s great you’re doing well at KDP Select. There are many other authors who do better at the non-Amazons than they do at Amazon. Every author’s mileage will vary.

  • Ronald Apr 10, 2013 @ 20:17

    I think you are seeing the effects of Microsoft’s influence on the Nook. They did just invest ~$300 million into B&N, which makes them partners in the B&N ebook marketplace.

    The issues with the contract are indeed troublesome, but there are OTHER issues as well. Primarily, they want you to write your book on THEIR cloud, using THEIR webportal, and become literally dependent on the NOOK ecosystem. This will make it less likely that newer writers will abandon NOOK for Amazon. So that aspect is very “long term” sneaky. Another glaring technical issue seems to be a more complicated process for replacing currently published ebooks.

    All that being said, I see this as a shift to ‘social media’ meets ‘indie e-publishing’ with a bad contract. That seems typical for our era.

    Thanks for the heads up on this Holly. I have one ebook on both B&N and Amazon. The KDP select program has been a bit tempting, but until now I didn’t really feel a reason to abandon B&N. I will have to rethink the situation now.

    • Holly Apr 11, 2013 @ 8:10

      Oh, I never even considered using their software. I don’t write anything (except posts) that leaves my computer until I’m done with it. I would never have used Apple’s software, and if Amazon offers it, I wouldn’t use that either.

      I create on my home turf. That way, my product is mine to format and produce as I choose.

      • Ronald Apr 11, 2013 @ 16:49

        Oh I agree completely. I am professional designer by trade, and I can typeset my own work as well.

        I was merely thinking that a large number of neophytes will not know better!

  • Ray Johnson Apr 10, 2013 @ 15:53

    Holly, I am not a lawyer. But… I did spot a major flaw in a property deed that at least one lawyer and a mortgage company both missed. I am anal, and years ago I learned not to sign anything without reading it – and still not to sign if I didn’t understand what I read.

    I’m pretty sure I understand this contract. It is absolutely full of nasty, open ended little clauses which give Barnes and Noble all the advantage, and in effect let them determine how the contract works out. The “inclusion” of a royalty rate which is not in the contract, and can be altered at their will, is the worst of these, but by no means the only one. Note that they are allowed to determine the exchange rate – not even a limitation for ‘reasonable’ fees for this – with no restrictions at all. And on, and on…

    Even if there’s enough of an outcry they change this, I’m not sure I’d trust them after this unless I paid a lawyer to look whatever they came up with over. I’ve seen a few tricks pulled that I wouldn’t have caught – because the very worst thing about many bad contracts is how the various clauses interact. And in some cases, there are legal issues which determine that interaction.

    But even without looking for that sort of trap, this is like signing a deal with the devil. If someone else wants to do it, I can’t stop them. I don’t even claim a right to try. But it would be absolute zero in hell before I’d even agree to think about signing on to this one.

    I’ll add one other point. Once, when I was running an ad in a magazine as a professional genealogist, they sent me a contract… I read the terms and sent them back a very nasty letter, because the contract was pure poison from my point of view. I tore it apart and explained just why only an idiot would sign such a contract. The ad manager sent me back an apology: he’d cut and pasted boilerplate to make the contract, and never considered the implications. Neither had any of the other advertisers… He was actually appalled when he realised what he’d been asking people to sign. The thing is, that contract was clumsy. It was – or should have been – an obvious disaster to anyone who even glanced at it. This one is not like that: it isn’t a mistake. You have to read it and think about it, or you’ll miss what they’re trying to do.

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