This week, NOOK Press announced it would begin “publishing” print books.
There’s a reason why I put “publishing” in scare quotes. For indies, the news isn’t as big as one might think at first glance.
First, the good news: NOOK Press will indeed turn out a print book for you, in a variety of trim sizes and cover types – including hardback, which CreateSpace doesn’t offer.
NOOK Press also provides a handy-dandy formatting guide, which looked pretty comprehensive to me when I skimmed it: covering everything from headers and pagination, to what the heck front matter and back matter are, to how to size the spine. And it actually appears to be written in English, not typeset-ese, which I thought was a problem when I originally looked at Lulu’s directions.
Now, the bad news. And there’s a lot of it.
Let’s take a look at the FAQ. For starters, NOOK Press is only available to authors in the continental US. Once again, non-US authors are left out, and this time authors in Alaska and Hawaii are joining them.
Next, for those of us who are used to uploading Word interior files and jpg cover images to CreateSpace, get ready to figure out how to convert everything to pdf – because that’s the only format NOOK Press will accept.
More worrisome is the fact that you don’t need an ISBN to publish your print book at NOOK Press. They’ll put it on the cover if you have one of your own, but they’re not going to make you do it, and they’re also not going to provide you with a free one the way CreateSpace will. You’re also not required to include a copyright page in your NOOK Press book. Why? Because they’re not going to send copies of your book anywhere other than to you. They’re not going to submit it to Ingram or Baker & Taylor so that libraries can order it; they’re not going to put it on sale for you at BN.com; and they’re certainly not going to put it on the shelf at your local Barnes & Noble.
They do, however, offer you a large selection of author services – with packages in the range of $1000 and up. At least one blogger, the Digital Reader, has commented on the resemblance between these packages and the ones offered by Author Solutions companies. Anybody care to speculate on whether NOOK Press has outsourced these services to a vanity press?
If NOOK Press was aiming at competing with Lulu and CreateSpace, it has fallen far short of the mark. But that may not be what’s going on. The Digital Reader article suggests that B&N may have thrown this thing together for investors. This new print platform may well be nothing more than an effort to make NOOK Media look more attractive to Wall Street when Barnes & Noble spins it off within the next few months.
In any case, I’d recommend that serious indie authors steer clear of NOOK Press’s new vanity setup.