Screen shot 2010-10-04 at 10.56.25 AM.pngThe program has gone on line. You can find information here.

In a typical example of bad web design, the royalty rates are not listed in the FAQ under the category labeled “My Sales, How are my publisher royalties calculated?” but are listed under “Service Policies, Pricing and Payment Terms”. Makes a lot of sense, NOT!

Here they are:

Publisher will set a List Price for each eBook between $0.99 and $199.99.

Publisher will be paid a royalty off the List Price according to the following terms:

1. For eBooks with a List Price at or between $2.99 and $9.99
* 65% of the List Price
2. For eBooks with a List Price at or below $2.98 or at or greater than $10.00 (but not more than $199.99 and not less than $0.99)
* 40% of the List Price

Publisher will, at all times, ensure that the eBook List Price:

1. Is no greater than the eBook’s List Price at any other retailer, website, or sales channel.
2. Is no greater than the eBook’s print edition (if applicable).
3. Complies with the minimum and maximum pricing policy as stated above.

Sample royalty calculation:

1. List Price: $9.99 – Publisher Royalty: $6.49
2. List Price: $20.00 – Publisher Royalty: $8.00


  1. The good news:
    It’s almost a miracle that “the little guy” can now play in the majors with the big publishers, and get her/his ebook sold in the world’s largest ebookstores.

    The not-good news:
    But if a big player is going to do this, they should go all the way, and (like Smashwords) make it indie-author and small-press friendly.

    Two of the big players are doing it right: the split is 70-30.

    Apple iTunes iBookStore pays 70%
    Amazon Kindle Store pays 70%

    And two of them are not paying enough:

    Barnes & Noble PubIt pays 65%
    Google Editions is planning to pay 63%

    For me, these royalty rates (of Google and B&N) are a huge disappointment.
    I would like to complain to B&N, and try to explain how it would be in their best interests to give a fairer share to independent authors and publishers.

    Unfortunately, I could not find any contact information on the PubIt site. Even after logging in to create an account, I could not find any contact information.

    If B&N is smart, somebody on their staff is a regular reader of TeleRead. Maybe they will reply to the question: “Why should we sell our ebooks on your site for 5% less?”

    Michael Pastore
    50 Benefits of Ebooks (2010 edition)

  2. Well this is anti-climactic.

    Normally I’m all on-board with nook and Barnes and Noble, since the I don’t believe many of the things they’ve been criticized for in the past have represented simply poor execution that’s excusable for a company in their situation, rather than poor judgement. But there’s really no way to classify this as anything other than brainless-ness on par with Amazon’s publisher in-fighting and repeated refusal to even read epub.

    Released on-time, with competitive royalty rates, or with any sort of creative twist whatsever pubit! would have been a real game changer for Barnes and Nobles.

    It is nice that they’ve revamped their website a little to make it easier to find self-published books (something I don’t think Kindle does all that well). But if this was all they had planned, I just don’t think it was worth the wait.

  3. Michael Pastore asks B&N, “Why should we sell our ebooks on your site for 5% less?”

    The answer is simple: to sell to B&N customers. Amazon only sells to Kindle customers. Apple only sells to iPad and iPhone users. B&N (basically) only sells to NOOK customers. Gotta love them walled gardens.

    B&N is claiming that they’ve carved out about a 20% share of the e-book market. Do you want 65% of that 20%, or nothing?

  4. The evening arrived; the boys took their places. The master, in his cook’s uniform, stationed himself at the copper; his pauper assistants ranged themselves behind him; the gruel was served out; and a long grace was said over the short commons. The gruel disappeared; the boys whispered each other, and winked at Oliver; while his next neighbours nudged him. Child as he was, he was desperate with hunger, and reckless with misery. He rose from the table; and advancing to the master, basin and spoon in hand, said: somewhat alarmed at his own temerity:

    “Please, sir, I want some more.”

    The master was a fat, healthy man; but he turned very pale. He gazed in stupefied astonishment on the small rebel for some seconds; and then clung for support to the copper. The assistants were paralysed with wonder; the boys with fear.

    “What!” said the master at length, in a faint voice.

    “Please, sir,” replied Oliver, “I want some more.”

    The master aimed a blow at Oliver’s head with the ladle; pinioned him in his arms; and shrieked aloud for the beadle.

    The board were sitting in solemn conclave, when Mr. Bumble rushed into the room in great excitement, and addressing the gentleman in the high chair, said,

    “Mr. Limbkins, I beg your pardon, sir! Oliver Twist has asked for more!”

    There was a general start. Horror was depicted on every countenance.

    “For more!” said Mr. Limbkins. “Compose yourself, Bumble, and answer me distinctly. Do I understand that he asked for more, after he had eaten the supper allotted by the dietary?”

    “He did, sir,” replied Bumble.

    “That boy will be hung,” said the gentleman in the white waistcoat. “I know that boy will be hung.”

    –Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist

  5. > Do you want 65% of that 20%, or nothing?

    Even if they have 20% of the total ebook market, that’s not a fixed percentage since some people have multiple devices or programs for accessing content. By going exclusively with say, Amazon, you’d be forcing some of those B&N customers to shop there.

    In addition there’s something to be said for the slippery slope of lowering rates. There’s nothing stopping say, Amazon, from demanding the same rates as B&N if you also sell your books there. They could easily set up an exclusivity system where authors and publishers are rewarded by getting the 70% rate by going Amazon exclusive, but get punished by getting 65% (or even say, 60%) if the ebooks are put up on other stores.

    B&N and Amazon are both smart – they’re setting up a system that’s easy to get started with and has relatively decent royalties to attract publishers and authors, but at the same time they’re the ones dictating the terms. Just like the agency model is the big publishers dictating terms to the ebook stores, this is the ebook stores dictating terms to the small publishers and self-published authors.

  6. What I don’t get…

    …is that B&N, according to their formatting guide, cannot display even the limited glyphs that Amazon Kindle can. No en-dash, no em-dash, no curly-quotes.

    Ugly typography? Worse than lower royalty rates.


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