Episode 117 – Brexit, The Midlist, and B&N POD

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Question of the Week: How would the indie landscape be different if Nook successfully implemented POD six years earlier in June 2016?

After Jim recounted his experience at the Cleveland Cavaliers parade and Bryan discussed his upcoming new book, How to Write a Sizzling Synopsis, the triple-threat-twosome tackled stories on algorithms, Brexit, joining the midlist, Nook’s POD idea, and author service scams. They also thanked their latest patron Anmarie Uber (and hßer book 5 Numbers of Destiny http://bit.ly/5numdest ) and provided a few thoughts on tips related to Snapchat, pricing at $1.99, and getting more out of your readers. This Week’s Question of the Week: How would the indie landscape be different if Nook tackled POD six years earlier in June 2016?
What You’ll Learn:
  • Why Snapchat may or may not be for you
  • Why the $1.99 price point may not be so bad after all
  • How you should use your readers in your marketing
  • Why Jim doesn’t think you should focus on algorithms
  • How Brexit will impact authors throughout the world
  • Why it’s easier than ever to get on the midlist
  • Why Nook’s new idea is five years too late
  • Why you need to be careful which author services you trust
Question of the Week: How would the indie landscape be different if Nook successfully implemented POD six years earlier in June 2016?

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  • Spider McGee

    Did anyone suggest “Brexit” as a baby name?

    • Laura Martone

      Well, someone did now! Good going, Spider!

    • Bryan

      Brexit Cohen. Not bad!

  • Lavie Margolin

    If this was 2010 (actually the year that I published my first book), I am not sure how much it would have changed things. If it was the same rules, that one would have to have proof of concept (selling 1,000 books in it’s first year of publication outside of Barnes and Noble before getting consideration), it would have been a small pool of books. I’ve sold 2,000 copies of one book in a year buy only 650 of those were print books.

    • Bryan

      Good point. That ebook selling criteria would’ve been a challenge.

      Here’s a bigger what if. What if BORDERS did this before it closed down and stayed in the game? 🙂

      • A moment of silence is in order

        • Bryan

          Borders, we barely knew ye.

  • Daniel Martone

    Instead of having a poll for names and weights, you should sell naming sponsorships. 1st name $2K / year for 18 years… Middle name, $1K / year for 18 years. It would at least give you a good kickstart on saving for college. 😉

    • Brian Brown

      Better make it $20K and $10K.

    • Bryan

      I mentioned this to my wife… and she’s not on board :).

      • Laura Martone

        Somehow, I’m not surprised. 😉

  • Brian Brown

    2010: Nook Press dominates print sales, not only for indy authors, but 40 of the top 50 bestselling authors abandon trade pub for this new platform
    2011: The success of Nook Press drives Nook ebook reader sales through the stratosphere carrying the Barnes & Noble web store with it
    2013: Amazon acquired by Barnes & Noble
    2014: Barnes & Noble pivots to major Artificial Intelligence player by enlisting their Nook Press SciFi authors to collaborate with high tech coding community
    2015: Barnes & Noble A.I. think tank makes huge strides toward super-intelligence
    2016: Barnes and Noble announces that “The Singularity is Here” and promises to “flip the switch” on the 4th of July
    July 4, 2016: Human life as we know it ceases to exist as the newly-created super-intelligence runs off the rails manufacturing a better paperclip, consuming all resources on the planet

    TLDR: Barnes & Noble’s lack of vision saves humanity

    • Laura Martone

      Hmm… on second thought, maybe the planet would’ve been better off. Mother Nature’s probably wishing B&N had had such foresight! (I’m only sorta kidding.)

    • Bryan

      I may have to read this whole thing on the show 🙂

      • Brian Brown


  • Annie Adams

    Bryan, you shouldn’t feel bad about requiring upfront payment, because you have a money back guarantee.

    • Bryan

      Good point. I’ve only had to refund one person to my recollection anyway :).

  • Annie Adams

    Brexit! Yes.

  • Laura Martone

    Silly boys, this is a trick question! Folks who are stricken with Mahogany Desk Syndrome would never have been such visionaries. That’s why the trad publishers and brick-and-mortar stores are now scrambling for such nostalgic ideas like this. But, okay, yeah, to play devil’s advocate for a moment – if Nook Press had been so forward-thinking, it might have made a dent in Amazon’s book sales. Maybe. But Amazon would still rule in every other department!

    • Bryan

      Publisil. Don’t leave home without it.

  • Anmarie Uber

    Thank you for the mention! <3 I would have been a Patron regardless. I am new, my first book, so I'm listening to your podcasts from the beginning. Haven't made it to this one yet, lol!

    • Bryan

      Thanks, Anmarie! 🙂

  • This maybe like champion Dell in an Apple store, but I’ve always been a B&N fan. When e-readers first hit, I liked the nook over the kindle. When I self-published my first book in 2013, I liked the B&N platform over KDP. It felt far easier to use for a beginner who didn’t understand how to get my work into different formats. What drove me to Amazon was Createspace. I had readers who wanted paperbacks, and I couldn’t get those with B&N. If they had been doing this in 2011, I probably never would have moved to Amazon.

    Side Note: not only in B&N publishing on demand, they are offering hardcover options with jackets. While I recognize these are 99% about status, the ability to offer one is one of the few things that still separates an indie from a trad pub writer – and as a print on demand option, they cost me nothing to put out.

    I was surprised you guys (Jim and Bryan) were so down on B&Ns new steps. I get that they are most likely in a “How the Mighty Fall” tailspin. At the same time, y’all talk all the time about how someone needs to start trying to eat into Amazon’s monopoly. What would B&N (or anyone) need to do for you to say they are taking a step in the right direction?

    • How about stepping up the ebook dept some? Print is on the decline, coloring books aside, and B&N is cutting back on the Nook ebooks in favor of print?

      Even if they do the same thing as CS and have expanded distribution, now you’re book is on Amazon earning tiny royalties just like now when our CS books are on B&N and earning tiny ED royalties (Expanded Distribution books on B&N, etc. only pay a tiny fragment of what one gets on Amazon). There’s nothing inherently wrong with that, but if you sell more books on Amazon than on B&N, you’re going to lose money.

      Five years ago, they could have made themselves into the home of indie books, but I don’t think they would have even considered it because they’d have pissed off the Big 5 (or was it 7 or 8 back then?).

    • Bryan

      We may have been a little harsh, but I really wish B&N had done this when they were a solid #2 as opposed to #4 or #5.

      • Well, I called you out, but the truth is, I’ve published six books since I started in 2013 and I haven’t used B&N since the first one for the exact reasons Roland and others have listed, so I can’t defend them too much. =)

        • Bryan

          Good to know, Jeff :).

    • Bryan

      And Roland is right. They really need to fix up their ebook store. I haven’t even been able to publish there lately because of errors on my account.

      • “Roland is right.” – Bryan Cohen

        I needed that, today. 😉

        • Bryan

          You deserve it, Roland!

  • A B&N forward thinking enough to go POD 6 years ago would have changed the modern landscape dramatically. Rather than being on the edge of extinction as they appear to be now they could have become a real threat to the AMZ juggernaut. This does assume that the forward thinking went beyond POD into their entire Nook presense.

    • Bryan

      Interesting food for thought.

  • QOTW – They might have helped legitimize Indie books quicker since they are a physical book store, unlike Amazon.

    However, they believed the Trad Pub story as much as Trad Pub did or feared alienating them. I think that’s also why they haven’t put much work in the Nook platforms and systems. Don’t bite the hand that feeds you until that hand is running out of food.

    • Bryan

      Good point.

  • David A King

    “six years earlier in June 2016?” So you are referring to June 2022?

    • Bryan

      We’re always trying to think about the future, David.

  • David A King

    if Nook successfully implemented POD six years earlier in June 2010, then they would still be trading in the world outside of USA, instead of having withdrawn to just USA.

  • Stella Wilkinson

    If anyone did invent said time machine, it would probably only be available through Amazon

  • Ethan Jones

    Hi Bryan and Jim:

    If Nook set out its current program six years ago, it would have not make a lick of a difference. That’s because the Nook program has so many entry barriers, which would have turned off many authors, even new ones. We need new gatekeepers like we need new types of cancer.

    Enjoy your blessed weekend,