Episode 182 – Michael Hyatt, Kindle in China, and The Future of Nook

people like this. Be the first of your friends.

Question of the Week: Is Barnes & Noble getting a tech partner or selling its ebook and e-reader business a good thing for authors or a bad thing and why?

Has Nook finally waived the white flag? Find out in our latest episode! Jim and Bryan take on tips about efficient book launches, common mistake, and information overload. After thanking their patron Dead Still, the two triple-threats discussed stories on Amazon’s Alibaba sale in China, attitudes about intellectual property, Canada’s audio battleground, an investigative report about Michael Hyatt’s Author Solutions connections, and Barnes & Noble making changes with the Nook. This week’s Question of the Week: Is Barnes & Noble getting a tech partner or selling its ebook and e-reader business a good thing for authors or a bad thing and why?
What You’ll Learn:
  • How authors can jumpstart their launch by zeroing in on their audience
  • How authors can avoid the most common mistakes in indie publishing
  • Why starting the day with mental junk food can have long-lasting effects
  • What Amazon’s newest move in China could mean for its future plans
  • Why authors need to adjust their attitudes about Intellectual Property
  • Why Canada could be the battleground for an Amazon vs. Kobo audio throw-down
  • What you should consider about David Gaughran’s investigative report on Michael Hyatt
  • What is Barnes & Noble’s new plan for Nook and how will it affect the company
Links:

get show updates

  • It’s a good thing- as long as they go with a company like Kobo that is willing to innovate and drive the business rather than sit on a moldering heap. Anytime we can have a viable market to sell our books profitably, we win. With more viable markets there are more eyes to put books in front of, and it will force Amazon to offer more $$ to keep content flowing into Kindle.

    • Bryan

      “As long as they go with a company like Kobo that is willing to innovate.” Agreed.

  • I think it’s too early to tell if this would be a good thing or not. B&N’s strategies have obviously failed so far. Having a fresh pair of eyes and a new perspective could be great for them. I feel that if they were just going to give up on Nook they would have just binned the whole thing already. Clearly the new partner sees something they don’t. Only time will tell.

    • Bryan

      Yeah, let’s see who the partner ends up being.

  • Nikki Davis

    In my opinion, it’s already been bad for business. Barnes & Noble partnering up explains all the erotica cleaning house that’s been happening over the last few months. The only place readers could find and authors could sell ultra smut was on B&N.
    Now, they suddenly care just so they can partner with a company that doesn’t sell what they were selling well. Erotica writers couldn’t write fast enough to satiate the hungry readers over there. And 2.99 for a 2K quickie short sold all day long. That door’s closed and locked now.
    Is a partnership going to be better in the long run? Yes.
    Will it ever be the same for erotica authors again? No.

    • Bryan

      “Barnes & Noble partnering up explains all the erotica cleaning house that’s been happening over the last few months.” Ah ha. That makes some sense.

  • C.E. Martin

    I think it is a good thing NOOK is shutting down. Without innovating their hardware, it seems pointless to keep going. I would much rather they turn over their customers and service to someone else, like Google, who finally seems to be paying attention to their ebook selling; if you haven’t tried the Google author uploading in a while, check it out. It’s finally easy to use.

    • Bryan

      “If you haven’t tried the Google author uploading in a while, check it out. It’s finally easy to use.” Oh really? Will have to check it out.

  • Shelina V

    As someone who’s still ‘wet-behind-the-ears’ in the indie publishing sphere, I’m leaning toward it being a good thing for authors and bad for Barnies. I hate to see a bookstore go down but if they can’t keep up with the digital market they should yield to someone who can. I plan to publish my ebooks wide and I’d like to think that the platforms that I choose care as much about the business as I do.

    • Bryan

      FYI, I love the term Barnies :).

  • Barnes and Noble has been ineffective at providing authors with a strong competitor to Amazon, so selling their e-book business is a step in the right direction. What would benefit authors most is for a new player to take over B&N with fresh ideas, an entrepreneurial attitude, and a robust vision for the future.

    • Bryan

      “What would benefit authors most is for a new player to take over B&N with fresh ideas, an entrepreneurial attitude, and a robust vision for the future.” Absolutely.

  • It’s a good thing that B&N is transferring the ebook platform. Currently, many authors go through Draft 2 Digital to get promotional support because the support provided by B&N is lackluster to non-existent. It’s a Google Form, did you know that? I tried it, got accepted, had a hour-long conversation with one of their execs, got a prominent spot on their blog, and had zero sales. So, yeah, I think they need to let someone else take the wheel.

    • Bryan

      After all that effort too, Ines! Yeah, we’d heard it was a Google Form. Let’s see who takes the wheel! Thanks for commenting!

  • Gregory Attaway

    With the concession in the digital market, how long before B&N goes the way of Borders?

    • Bryan

      I thought it was going to be ages ago, Gregory, but it’s still on life support I suppose. Thanks for commenting!

  • Josiah Rosell

    I think it could be good for people in KDP Select (I say as a newbie author with one book in Select). Depending on how it shakes down, it could mean readers coming over from that platform into the Amazon ecosystem. I know, I know, we don’t want to feed the gorilla necessarily, but if you’re exclusive to Amazon, more readers there is always a good thing.

    And actually, if someone picks it up that does something cool and innovative with it, that could be good for authors generally as well, providing more and better options for going wide. So I give it a thumbs up either way at this point!

    • Bryan

      Good points, Josiah. Thanks for commenting!

  • Eric Cooper

    I think that this is a great thing. Now the Nook platform has a chance to soar or crash and burn. I hope that someone takes it and hires Jim to implement all of his ideas to take on Amazon.

    • Well, that ‘s a great idea. It make take some persuading to get Jim to do it though!

      • Bryan

        Jim could be a city councilman and a CEO, right, Beca?

    • Bryan

      I keep waiting for them to call Jim! Thanks for posting, Eric.

  • Sacha black

    Change is always good because it creates opportunities… but only for the positive and the creative. Amazon needs a disruption before it becomes any more of a monopoly than it already is so my hope is Rakuten do buy Nook. And if they do, I will be super excited about what might come. Kobo have made consistently good choices and progress forward so who knows what new avenues this could bring for authors. I get a bit tired of the scare mongers over change. I’m about to be made redundant and (as a result, lose my home) but you know what, I’m trying to see that as an opportunity, maybe it’s a blessing in disguise and will allow me to move towards writing full time. Nook going down? Bring it on. Let’s see what we can make of it.

    • Bryan

      I really hope Rakuten buys Nook too, Sacha!

  • It depends who the partner/purchaser is, and whether that company is willing to innovate. It seemed like B&N was just willing to coast with Nook rather than try to make the platform into something that could have hung with Amazon. The reality is, they should have brought in a tech-savvy partner years ago. Now the window for Nook to be successful may have closed.

    • emilitawrites

      I’m afraid of this as well. I hope this can be a good thing but it will live and die with the partner that gets to run it now.

      • Bryan

        I have to agree, Emilita!

    • Bryan

      Let’s hope Nook gets a second wind for the sake of competition, Dr. Tom. Thanks for commenting!

  • George Sirois

    I’ll give credit to Barnes & Noble for recognizing that Nook is still a viable resource to get books into the hands of readers AND that their people have no idea how to properly hone this resource. They could have very easily just buried it and said, “See? It doesn’t work!” The fact that they didn’t speaks volumes (no pun intended), and I hope the new tech partner knows how to make Nook the success it deserves to be.

    • Bryan

      I just wish they would’ve recognized that a few years ago, George :).

  • It’s a good thing BECAUSE it’s been bad how they’ve let it die all this time. If Kobo, Microsoft, or Google buys it and takes over, it can only improve.

    • Bryan

      True, Roland. Nowhere to go but up!

  • I’m disappointed to hear Michael Hyatt promotes (or is negligent in promoting) Author Solutions. I’ve listened to him in the past and even purchased a program of his (it was good). There are some gurus out there who are truly out of step with reality when it comes to publishing and self-publishing. There are people who think AS-type services are trying to legitimately help authors, too, but he needs to get his facts and update his thinking if that’s the case.

    I fear the worst, and even though I stopped following him closely, I DID think he was one of the good guys when it came to marketing online. 🙁

    • Kirsten Oliphant

      This made me sad too. But maybe was less surprising as I feel like so many people I respect constantly share undisclosed affiliate stuff (which you know, Roland, is my pet peeve). I’m also a worst-case scenario person, so few people have far to fall. 😉 I sometimes wonder if people on the other side of this just don’t get HOW bad these deals are for authors. I sat through a meeting with an agent at a christian writers conference and the agent (at a company I really like, actually) pitched me their new “hybrid” publishing offer for $7. As in, I would pay the $7k. Again, I really like the company, know people who work with them personally, and just wonder if it’s one of those things where some people try not to think too hard about this. Because if they do, they’ll KNOW. But if they just sort of don’t think too hard, they can convince themselves they are helping authors. Then there are others who are just out to take all our money without any care in the world. 🙂

      • There’s a chance that he thinks it’s legit and just kidding himself or simply doesn’t know any better.

        If you’re a true believer in Trad Publishing you can’t see anything else. I personally know people in publishing who think it’s normal for a book to cost $20k to produce, but the “supply chain” that educated indies use is on a different scale from traditional publishing. A trad editor costs $5k. A proofread costs $3k A trad cover costs $2-5k. 10 proof copies costs $600. 100 ARCs cost $1200. An ebook format costs $2k. Not to mention the costs of putting the book in the catalog, press releases, a publicist, and more. When that’s your world, AS doesn’t look as much like a scam to you.

        These are real numbers, btw.

        • Bryan

          That is a lot of money. I’m sure most freelancers would be happy to get 1/10 of that.

        • Steve

          These aren’t numbers I’ve seen out in the freelance market – the figures you quote are far, far higher than I’ve seen and self-published authors routinely get these services at high quality and at far lower costs

          • Right. Those are numbers for traditionally published book services.

  • It will not matter what B&N does with Nook. However, what would happen if Walmart online acquired the Nook technology for an app and built their own online version of kindle unlimited? Wouldn’t you want your book read there, too, if the price were right?

    • Bryan

      I’d be interested in a Walmart Unlimited, JB, but I’d probably wait until I knew someone had success there first before I jumped in.

  • I think it will be a good thing for B&N if they go with a company like KOBO. B&N customers would, or should, be able to migrate their eBooks to new, updated ereaders and apps, and receive better tech customer service. KOBO would expand their reach into the US. And authors may see an increase in sales after customers are introduced to new, easy to use, and competitive products they trust. Could be a win-win for everyone.

    • Bryan

      I agree, Kathy. Definitely a win-win!

  • Kirsten Oliphant

    This is like that breakup that you KNOW is coming. Some people prefer to drag it out. I always liked to kill the relationship dead right there. (Just ask all my exes…) I think it will be a GOOD thing for authors in that it’s inevitable. Yes, there will be growing pains and ugly cries, but it’s dead already. We know this. It’s coming. So it would behoove us all to have the clean break so we can move on (and get a new boyfriend).

    • Bryan

      Kirsten, I’ve asked all your exes and they seem to agree.

  • I think you missed the point with your AliBaba story. It’s not about books, but about toasters and TVs and all that other stuff.

    I’m on the fence about the Nook story. So much depends on who buys the platform and how much they care about the book market.

    One other thought came out of your Nook talk. Everyone who opts do go exclusive to AMZ is potentially opting to kill the competition by limiting where their product is available. KU is now big enough that there are large numbers of readers who may not even care there are other outlets out there or what’s happening to them.

    • Bryan

      That makes sense, Edwin. I think it was more of an Amazon story than a self-publishing story. And it’s true, anyone who goes into KU is playing into the virtual monopoly.

  • Nook has stagnated, and in that sense it’s good for the community, both reader and author, for another company to come in and try to make something happen with it. I haven’t gone over the financials, but assuming Nook is no longer profitable for B&N, then it’s good for them to also get someone else involved.

    If Nook fades, leaving Kobo and Amazon basically alone, that would be a bad thing for everyone.

    • Bryan

      We totally agree, Adam. Thanks for commenting!

  • I totally agree with you both on your thoughts about authors needing to adjust their attitudes about Intellectual Property. Instead of seeing it as a problem, think of it as getting your work into the hands of more readers–readers who wouldn’t have otherwise bothered to open their wallets for you. A few of those people might mention your book to a friend or someone who WILL go out and buy it.

    I recently discovered that an audiobook version of my novel was pirated and uploaded to YouTube. Rather than being angry, I was ecstatic. It has 5,001 views. What great publicity! 😉

    • Bryan

      Haha, that’s awesome, Joseph. Can’t complain about 5,001 people who now know about your book :).

  • From what I read of the things said in the meeting, I think its a good thing for authors. It sounds like they never had any desire to even get into the e-book market and just did it because they thought they “had” to. Coming at it from that position would explain why they have never really done any kind of push for it, why their author interface still sucks so bad and they seem rather blase about bugs in the platform, and why they are failing at it.

    Like others, I’m hoping it is Kobo who they partner with. They are doing a great job and it could give them a bigger US foothold. The underlying infrastructure of B&N sucks, but from my experiences, more US readers still know the names B&N and Nook versus Kobo, so could end up being a nice signal boost.

    I agree with Jim’s broader idea that a good competitor needs to get into the e-book came to compete with Amazon, but I’m not sure offering more money will really help. Other platforms already have similar or more favorable terms than Amazon overall – Kobo and iBooks are both at 70%, neither have any exclusivity agreements, and iBooks at least doesn’t even require being the same or cheaper than anyone else).

    But I think even if another platform came along and offered 80% or 90%, authors wouldn’t flock to them, because even with lower royalty rates, Amazon has the market share to mean overall higher income. 90% of 1 sale just can’t compare to 70% of 100. And while it never worked that well for me, authors doing well in KDP Select with Kindle Unlimited are going to be even harder to tempt away. It’s almost a chicken or the egg scenario…to get authors to really consider leaving, a serious competition needs the reader base to be able to result in a truly comparable income, but to get the user base, they need a large number of products which require getting the authors on board.

    I know for me I choose to go wide more because it fit my overall operating practices. While I like the idea of KU, I don’t like potential readers being stuck with just a single retailer or platform, I like being able to sell direct and offer the bundles Amazon doesn’t, and I don’t like all my eggs in one basket.

    • Bryan

      Thanks for the comment, Anma. Whenever you have to do something, it’s not exactly something you pump extra resources into :).

  • Lavie Margolin

    I believe it is a good thing. The ebook market has been a terrible drian on B&N resources and the company has to concentrate on what it does better- in-person book selling and improving their website.

    • Bryan

      But what if Amazon Books starts doing it better than B&N, Lavie? 🙂

      • Lavie Margolin

        Well, let’s just say they aren’t well positioned but they have no shot currently with e-readers.

  • I always assumed Alibaba’s marketshare in China was because it also owns Taobao (which is huge even in Singapore), Alipay (I don’t use it but I’ve heard that it’s one of the main ways to pay in China), and all the other companies it owns. It’s more than just a company, it’s basically an ecosystem by now.

    But I’m not living in China so this is all what I hear/read living in Asia.

    • Bryan

      Ah ha, that makes sense, Eustacia. Thanks for the regional insider info :).

  • Patrick O’Donnell

    To a small time writer like me it’s a non-issue. I tried selling on B and N with no success. I’m exclusive with Amazon mainly because of KU. I’m hoping to go wide when I have a decent enough sized back library to promote. Hopefully when I have more books, Amazon will actually have competition and that will make them compensate authors more aggressively.

    • Bryan

      One of these days, Patrick!

  • For the record, I haven’t promoted Westbow or Author Solutions in years. I have removed any pages on my site that promote them. I originally believed they offered a viable option for authors who (a) couldn’t get a traditional publishing deal and (b) were overwhelmed with the complexity of self-publishing. However, two things have changed my opinion about “assisted self-publishing” in general and Author Solutions in particular.

    First, self-publishing is easier than ever before. It can still be overwhelming for some authors, but there are much better, more reasonably priced options than Author Solutions. Second, since the acquisition by PRH, I have lost touch with the company and its practices. I would no longer feel comfortable recommending them, even if I believed in their model—which I don’t.

    • @mhyatt:disqus Thank you for sharing your side of the story.

      When you relaunch your show, I’d love to hear you talk about the changes in publishing over the years, and what it means to the modern author. There are so many successful indie authors and indie publishing experts that would love to help you and your listeners out.

      • The new podcast will be exclusively about leadership. I won’t be talking much about publishing in the new podcast at all. Also, I am not sure that what I have to say would be all that relevant since I have not been involved professionally in publishing for almost seven years. A lot has changed in that time.

        • I suppose that would depend on whether you think a leader should write a book. If so, having a guest on to help your audience get their message out there via their book would be a good idea.

          I would suggest Tim Grahl (booklaunch.com), who works with authors from a book launch and platform building perspective more than the technical side of publishing.

          For the technical side (editing, covers, printing, and distribution) I suggest Kevin Tumlinson of Draft2Digital.com.

          • That might be a possibility. Of course, I know Tim and many others in that space. My guess is that if we did a show on this topic, it would not be about all the changes, but on why they need to consider publishing a book and how that might expand their influence. Thanks for your input.

    • David Gaughran

      I’m afraid that’s just not true, Michael. One example should suffice:

      In Season 6, Episode 13 of your podcast “This Is Your Life” – which by the way was titled “How To Win With Your First Book” and subtitled “My Best Advice for New Authors” – you spoke approvingly of Author Solutions and its business model, as opposed to what you described as “do-it-yourself publishing.”

      That episode was from last year.

      • David, you are right. I apologize. Thanks for catching this. Just to be clear, it was from February 1, 2016, almost two years ago. Regardless, we have removed it from the site, though I am not sure that removes it from iTunes.

        • David Gaughran

          You know what? If your change of heart truly is genuine, I’m incredibly surprised that you haven’t expressed any remorse whatsoever for delivering thousands of writers into the exploitative clutches of Author Solutions – while lining your own pockets.

          • Steve

            And he still says he refuses to call AS a scam in his comment above!

      • Micheal deleted the podcast.

        Michael, while it is great that you are _finally_ cleaning up your act, simply removing the mentions does not go far enough.

        You should have stopped pushing ASI years ago. There was ample evidence that ASI was a scam, and yet you were promoting them last year.

        What you need to do – and what you should have down 4 years ago – is take an active position against ASI.I don;t normally say this, but you owe penance on this topic.

        • We’ll have to disagree there, Nate. I am not willing to call them a scam. Please don’t reply with the evidence you think supports that assertion; I have already read it all.

          • Daniel Martone

            Wow, not a scam? That’s where you lose any credibility.

          • Steve

            Author Solutions is terrible Michael – what are you on about?!

    • Bryan

      Thanks for commenting here, Michael. We really appreciate you coming here to tell your side of the story.

      • David Gaughran

        He didn’t really tell his side of the story though, did he? Did he tell us all about the meetings he had with Author Solutions executives, where he was so blown away by their business plan he decided to set up an imprint focused on on newbie authors? Did he tell us about the decision making process that decided that publishing packages should cost up to $19,999? That’s the side of the story I’d like to hear more about.

        • Daniel Martone

          Obviously Author Solutions is a scam. The incredible price tags on their services are so far beyond reasonable that anyone who promotes them is a villain, in my eyes.

          Of course, there are many villains in this industry. As we’ve recently seen the S&S $5K and $10K programs being sold to dreamers. These are shameful practices that need to be called out for what they are.

          • Just because it is expensive—even ridiculously so—doesn’t make it a scam. I’m not trying to justify their price; I am just trying to be precise with my language.

          • Daniel Martone

            No, price is the payoff. The scam is what is provided for those large sums of money. The implied promise that you will succeed if you are willing to spend the money. If you aren’t willing, you “can’t be serious about the work”… This is the BS that that these services are selling… selling dreams at a high cost and delivering disappointments followed by “well, your work must not have been good enough”.

          • Steve

            In your language, how would you define a ‘scam’, if it doesn’t include wildly over-priced ‘services’, spam-emailing etc?

    • David Gaughran

      Another question for you Michael:

      I saw a video recently where you advised people to “always always always disclose their affiliate status” – advice I agree with, not least because it’s the law. It’s also the right thing to do, as I’m sure you will agree.

      I also saw you endorse or recommend Author Solutions/WestBow and numerous occasions over the years – particularly to first-time authors. I never once saw you disclose your affiliate status.

      Can you explain this discrepancy?

  • Honestly I think that either way, if they are getting a new partner or selling Nook, the band-aid needs to be ripped off. I do think once this gets settled it will be a benefit for authors since the uncertainty that is present now will be removed and both authors and readers will be able to find each other. The other hope is for whomever takes control has a tech background and understands that e-book is not the same as physical books.

    I personally was a die hard Nook reader for years, but switched to a Kindle last year because I was having issues purchasing books with my Nook. I have a love of Barnes and Noble, so it was difficult for me to switch to Amazon (or as I’ve called it ‘the Evil Empire’ because they are so large and crush all competition.) I’ve since realized the benefit to having a Kindle as a reader, but I still root for an under-dog.

    I would love for Kobo to be the ones to take over the Nook platform. I think they could help revitalize it and get those readers re-engaged in the brand. Either way, let’s hope things finally start happening and there’s better competition in the market. It will benefit the consumers and authors, instead of just the distributors.

    • B&N’s problem has always been that it’s beholden to the traditional publishing supply chain and consignment practices for stock. It’s a system that’s incompatible with ebook delivery (and, quite frankly, modern lean-manufacturing practices, but that’s a separate issue). Tradpubs never considered readers as their customers – it was always bookstore buyers, and that meant the dozen or so national buyers at B&N. And B&N made some bank on selling its real estate. In fact, nowadays, it’s probably more accurate to say B&N is a real estate company that features books, gifts, and coffee in the longest-running, multi-site open house in the world. They sell real estate, with books in it. Whether it’s letting go strategic properties like a Manhattan anchor store for an infusion of cash, or selling table placement spots and face-out/endcap spots to publishers for nice monthly income, they sell real estate with books in it. I loved my Nook, but love isn’t enough. I need a good customer experience. If B&N’s ebook business is sold to or taken over by an entity that pays attention to what READERS want, while keeping in mind a fair deal for AUTHORS, then Amazon will have some competition.

      • Bryan

        I completely agree, Athena. I’m sure Jim does too :).

    • Bryan

      Good points, Yvonne. It’s very tough when the Evil Empire does it so much better ;).

  • Thanks for the shoutout, Bryan and Jim! I know the changes were pretty minor, but it was fun getting to put that little bit more polish on a couple of them.

    To the question of the week: Personally I think things would go smoother if Nook is sold to another company over B&N still owning it but letting a tech company manage it. My concern is that if B&N still own it, the tech company won’t have as much freedom to implement the changes needed to make it a really great platform for authors. It depends on how hands-on/off B&N intend to be, I guess. That being said, if it’s sold to a company that isn’t ebook market savvy, well, that’s not going to do much for Nook, either. I do hope it’s a good move and whoever gets their hands on it can do something special with Nook. Time will tell.

    • Bryan

      You did good, kid ;). What do you think is the worst company that could buy Nook? I’m gonna go with… K-Mart!

  • I think outsourcing Nook to a third party might actually be a good thing. Initially to continue to offer the service and device support to existing customers and (really rooting for this) hopefully in a later period actually adding functionality or releasing new devices. As authors we really could use an extra competitor in the e-reader space. Perhaps they could even partner up with the Tolino grouping in Europe to increase their reach. While I love Kobo and Kindle, we need more than a duopoly to keep the market evolving.

    • Bryan

      Bring down the duopoly! Thanks, Brecht :).

  • I absolutely think it will be a good thing for B&N to partner with someone else. Especially if that someone is Kobo. With Amazon controlling most of the market, it’s counterproductive for competitors to have the same exclusivity. Standing on their own, no one can compete with Amazon, but if someone like B&N were to partner with someone who knows what they’re doing (Kobo), they can pool their strengths and come out as a much more viable competitor than either could have achieved on their own. That’s my opinion at least. It will be exciting to see what happens.

    • I love your point on getting rid of exclusivity in the market via providers. I would even be happy with the model that video games are starting to settle on, short periods of exclusivity followed by wide availability.

      • Right! Amazon can afford to be exclusive because they own most of the market. But I think other providers will only suffer if they’re not willing to play nice with each other.

    • Bryan

      I hope Mark Lefebvre is hearing our pleas, Jason. Thanks for commenting!

  • B&N has done next to nothing with Nook. In the UK, they sold their ebook business in 2016 to a national supermarket who, within months, sold their entire digital media business to – you guessed it – Kobo. I really hope B&N sells their US ebook business direct to Kobo/Rakuten – they’re a great, innovative, company who could use the influx of US customers to, hopefully, give them the critical mass to go toe to toe with Amazon. As an author, I’d welcome that.

    • Bryan

      I wonder if B&N will do the same thing in the U.S. Sell the biz to a random company that is willing to sell to Kobo. Thanks for posting, Kevin!

  • I’m with Jim in hoping it makes more competition for the big A and can work out for more competitive royalties for authors.

    • Bryan

      I’m with Jim! Thanks for commenting, David!

  • Bryan

    Thanks for all the great comments, everybody! Jim and I are looking forward to giving out a couple of prizes this week :).

  • Quenton Jones

    I think some new partners could really help Nook grow and hopefully become real competition to Amazon.

    • Bryan

      Time will tell, Quenton. Thanks for commenting!

  • Anything B&N does to improve the reader experience is, ultimately, good for authors. Good enough to make it worth our while? [Insert curmudgeonly harrumph.] Easy for authors? Probably easy-er. Almost anything would be easier than their own attempts at author-interface.

    • Bryan

      Haha, a second your curmudgeonly hurumph, DC :).

  • NA Dixon

    I think it’s good that it go to a better home like Kobo. Although it’s sometimes said that more competition in the market is a good thing, it’s only really relevant if the competition is strong. If Kobo, or another partner can make something of it then great. Use their patents, content, staff, anything to get ahead.

    • Bryan

      It’s like a puppy, NA. It needs a good home :).

  • I think the best thing for authors is having significant competition with Amazon. If the only way we can get it is by B&N’s Nook business being swallowed by another non-Amazon ebook retailer, so be it. I do hope that this allows Nook to update its strategy and offer something better than Amazon for both readers and authors.

    • Bryan

      Updating its strategy from Crash and Burn would definitely be helpful, Betsy. Thanks for commenting!

  • Laura Martone

    Only time will tell if the Barnes & Noble upset will be a positive or negative thing for authors… if Nook simply goes away, giving authors one less distribution channel, then it’s a bad thing… but if B&N finds a partner or buyer with a more indie mindset and better business sense, then it could be a very good thing indeed. In the meantime, I think it’s awesome that listeners commented on the Michael Hyatt/Author Solutions story anyway – even though it didn’t end up being the official QOTW. While discussing alternative distribution channels is important for indies, so is warning one another about potential scams in the indie world. And Author Solutions is certainly not the only company willing to take advantage of desperate authors. As a “graduate” of Sterling & Stone’s StorySeller’s Apprentice Program, I’m dismayed by the direction that S&S has recently taken – away from primarily being a fiction/nonfiction publisher and toward a high-priced seller of programs, summits, and story packages that often over-promise and under-deliver. It might be a controversial opinion, but still, it makes me incredibly sad to see three authors – Sean, Johnny, and Dave – that once inspired so many fellow authors now taking advantage of that same audience.

    • Bryan

      Thanks for the comment, Laura! We all have to be careful about where we put our money for sure!

  • Daniel Martone

    Kobo buying Nook would only serve Kobo. Which is not a bad thing as the stronger they are, the better they will compete with Amazon. BUT, I’d really like to see them stay independent of any of the other retailers. If someone bought them and did things the right way, that would only help the industry.

    • I wonder what Kobo’s market share in the US is, though. It may be bigger in Canada, but maybe picking up Nook customers would be something to at least make amazon think.

      • Bryan

        I’d love to make Amazon go, “Hmmm.”

    • Bryan

      Any thoughts on which company might go for that, Dan? Maybe we should all raise some money and do it? The Sell More Books Book Platform of Books?

  • Alexa Kang

    Jim, Bryan, you asked for someone get in touch about why Amazon can’t break into the China market, so here I am. This topic is so complicated I can write an 800 pages book about it, but I’ll try to give you the very abridged version. Basically, you all have to stop thinking that China is a free country and does thing the way we do things. I’d commented on this before but this point is always so hard to get through to people in first world countries outside of China.

    (1) Unless there’s a drastic regime & system change, Amazon (or any other foreign MNC for that matter) will NEVER be able to compete with local Chinese companies because companies like Alibaba are backed by the PRC government. The system is rigged against foreign companies both intentionally and by osmosis. On the one hand, Beijing will always make sure a company as big as Alibaba gets all the advantages. If foreign companies get too competitive, the govt will just pass protectionist laws to stunt their growth. They had done this before. Beyond that, the PRC business system is also loaded with regulators putting unbelievable amount of obstacles requiring companies to get this permit or that permit to get things moving. Last year there’s been a huge improvement in deregulations, but foreign companies are always in over their heads all the time trying to comply with all sorts of socialist regulations you would find unimaginable. The Chinese know how to navigate their systems. Foreigners don’t, and it costs exorbitant amount of legal fees and also educating the foreign company decision makers to understand how to navigate the system. Foreign companies are always 10 steps behind, and the Chinese economy moves at lightning speed.To date, not at single foreign MNC can say they’re the dominant player in the PRC market. For every giant we have, China has created its own version for its own people.

    2. By the way, Alibaba in China is a B2B commerce site. The equivalent of Amazon is in China is actually T-Mall (https://www.tmall.com), with Taobao (https://world.taobao.com) being the equivalent to our eBay. Retail customers shop at T-Mall not Alibaba.

    3. Even without the govt obstacles, foreign companies have a hard time adjusting and adapting to Chinese consumers behaviors. The problem is not brand loyalty, but foreign companies not being able to change their mindsets nearly quickly enough to adapt to the Chinese consumers. While they’re learning (and often resisting learning), the local companies already made a killing and have already moved on to the next big thing/trend.

    4. Chinese readers are not reading ebooks and self-pub books on Alibaba. Nobody download books to read from Alibaba. Again, in China, Alibaba is a B2B commerce site. They’re reading indie-pub books on sites like https://www.qidian.com

    5. I have a bad feeling that the Kindles in China won’t be profitable. If they do become popular, watch for cheap knock-offs to pop up everywhere.

    6. Finally, don’t forget there are censors in China. Last I heard, PRC law restricts foreign companies from getting into the media and publication sectors. I don’t think that has changed but I can find out.

  • JustinSwapp

    Barnes & Noble has mismanaged their ebook business from the beginning. Barnes and Noble has miss managed there ebook business from the beginning. They missed and opportunity to partner with others, and really maximize their market. So sad.

    • Bryan

      Agreed! It could’ve gone differently for sure. Thanks for posting, Justin!