Monday, February 2, 2015

Nook Press Print: A Missed Opportunity

Nook Press Print is the newest addition to Barnes & Noble's Nook program. This time offering high quality Print on Demand services for physical books.

When this service was first announced, I was excited by the prospect. Nook was being competitive, something it desperately needed to do to compete with Kindle. Print on Demand was out of left field, but that's the sort of thing that needs to happen to win over authors Amazon as wooed.

Nook Press Print offers the standard paperbacks with white or cream paper in most sizes, while the selling feature will be the hardcover books with printed covers or dust jackets at very competitive prices. Not a lot of Print on Demand services offer hardcover options, and the ones that do, like Lulu, or a tad bit expensive. I quickly picked up my estimate if I turned The Dragon's Tear into a hardcover and it was reasonable, about $11 in total, minus S&H. That's a few dollars shorter than Lulu, which ain't bad.

The big selling point is if this is Barnes & Noble's own service with Nook, there would be some synergistic pathways with the stores. Authors cannot get into B&N and most bookstores with POD services, like Createspace. They can, but it is difficult, because places like Createspace do not offer refunds. Bookstores survive through refunding books to publishers that don't sell after a certain period of time. The exception being Ingram Spark, who will, at a slight cost to the author, accept refunds.

I wouldn't have titled this a missed opportunity if Nook Press Print could get into the stores, now would I? Nope. According to Nook Press Print itself, this is for personal use only. Here is the actual excerpt from the website itself, "The NOOK Press print platform program is for you to print books for your personal use, and does not include selling those books through Barnes & Noble stores or You may sell the books you print on your own, however."

It goes to show how Barnes & Noble can't compete in today's day and age. That's unfair to say. I know they're careful with this program in such a way as not to seem like competition to book publishers, just like Amazon did. I can't wait for the day for Nook and Barnes & Nobles to part ways, because Nook needs people who know what today's market wants and needs.

I can see Nook Press Print taking a large chunk of the POD services from everyone if they offered stores to stock their own printed books. They can even raise the fee for the transport and stocking, profiting off the printing and profiting even more off the sale. I imagine most authors would move their books to Nook Press Print for paperbacks, and exclusively for hardcovers, because it would allow them author signings and participation to events, which they are currently barred from.

Right now NPP is competitive with Lulu and that's about it. It goes to show just how benign their service was rolled out as. Barnes & Noble's major strength over everyone is they have physical bookstores, and contrary to popular belief, their bookstores are doing just fine. If they want to out-compete Amazon, the bookstores will be instrumental.

As of now, there is no reason to use Nook Press Print instead of Createspace or Ingram Spark. It fails to work on many levels, which is a shame, because it could have been a game changer for Barnes & Noble.