Former leading New Zealand publisher and bookseller, and widely experienced judge of both the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the Montana New Zealand Book Awards, talks about what he is currently reading, what impresses him and what doesn't, along with chat about the international English language book scene, and links to sites of interest to booklovers.
Thursday, November 17, 2011
Barnes & Noble Offers Exclusive Patterson Holiday Novella Promotion In Stores; Can Bundle Print and eBooks Through Store Cash Registers
Barnes & Noble has secured a significant in-store "exclusive" for the holidays: a novella from James Patterson, MERRY CHRISTMAS, ALEX CROSS. The bookseller will give a free copy--either printed, or digital--to customers who buy Patterson's just-released KILL ALEX CROSS in hardcover and one other Patterson title in any format from a Barnes & Noble store.
Perhaps as important as the exclusive offer, designed to help drive store traffic, is that Barnes & Noble says they have developed a "cashiering system [that] will allow retail customers to seamlessly combine a Nook Book purchase with the purchase of the new hardcover title in-store, and leave with the authorization codes to download their digital purchase." BN will use the system to provide customers the ebook version of the promotional novella if that's the format they prefer, and it also accommodates those who buy the hardcover Patterson plus a backlist Patterson ebook in order to qualify. More broadly, it indicates Barnes & Noble has the in-store process ready to bundle print books and ebooks through the cash register in any way they, or publishers, might elect to pursue.
In other BN news, like Amazon's Fire, their Nook Tablet is arriving a couple of days earlier than promised, and is sharing at least some review attention with Amazon's new tablet. Conde Nast announced earlier this week that all of their magazines will be available on the Nook Tablet later this month (except for Vogue, which won't arrive until early 2012). Release
Penguin's online genre community Book Country launched an array of tools for authors to self-publish their work beginning on Wednesday, debuting in tandem with a redesign of their website. Book Country is offering three publishing packages to authors who wish to self-publish within the genres of romance, mystery/thriller, and science fiction & fantasy: a digital book with user-formatting based on a Microsoft Word file for $99, a package that adds POD printed books for $299, and a "professional" package for which Book Country creates "polished print and ePub files" from among "six different elegant interior styles," for $549. (Book Country also allows users to opt out of wider distribution if they prefer a private printing.)
All three packages include distribution to all major outlets that Penguin distributes to, including Kindle, Nook, the iBookstore, Kobo, Sony and Google, as well as outlets that carry and sell self-published POD books. Book Country will sell directly from their site as well.
Notably, Book Country is offering royalties based on the model found in Amazon's KDP and Barnes & Noble's PubIt rather than Penguin's traditional contracts. Authors receive 70 percent of the revenue for titles priced at $2.99 or greater, and 30 percent on books priced from 99 cents to $2.99. The service takes the same 30 percent of net when selling through third-party retailers--and they are selling their ebooks on an agency basis. (So authors will receive 49 percent of the list price, or seventy percent of seventy percent.)
"We want to allow users to create a book that looks as good as what traditional publishers produce." Book Country president Molly Barton told us last week during a demo of the self-publishing platform. "We're trying to give guidance on industry standards."
To do so, Book Country designed a platform that is as much about visual simplicity as it is about user-friendliness. A step-by-step guide walks authors through manuscript formatting, from the choice of book cover (users can upload their own work or select from several formats), font type, and placement of the dedication and acknowledgment pages. For now, users can only select from the three bundled packages, though Barton said there are "future plans" for unbundled a la carte features at an unspecified time.
Manuscripts will take somewhere between 2-5 days to produce a copy the author can proofread, and will be ready for publication in approximately 3 weeks. And in the event an author needs to make changes after the fact, Barton said the initial price includes one round of edits including 15 tweaks; any additional changes would incur an extra charge. Book Country's initiative will not launch with any particular titles, though the community has over 555 visible manuscripts to date from the more than 4,000 members currently signed up.
In the press release, Penguin ceo David Shanks said "Penguin is committed to maintaining its leadership position in digital publishing and that includes offering self-publishing services that are consistent with our overall strategy of connecting a broad variety of writers to the reading public. With its focus on nurturing and supporting new voices, Book Country is the perfect vehicle for introducing a new kind of self publishing that offers a more professional product and provides guidance that isn't currently available from other players." Pearson Release.