Nook & NINC Sale

Snowbound, #1 of the Secret Heart Ink series of contemporary romances by Deborah CookeThere is a NOOK sale featuring first-in-series books from authors who are members of Novelists Inc starting today – which includes yours truly. 🙂 It’s called the Nook Book Bash.
Using the discount code, you can get first-in-series books free. This includes Kiss of Fire by Deborah Cooke, The Crusader’s Bride by Claire Delacroix and Snowbound by Deborah Cooke. The cool thing about this sale is that you can then save 25% on the second book in that series. There are lots of other books too, so have a look. Remember to use the discount code.
Nook also has a reading app but this sale code (which you apply at checkout) won’t work when you shop from a mobile device or an app, just FYI.
The landing page for the Nook Book Bash (which goes through Feb 28) is right here.

What’s Up with Nook?

Spring Fever, #2 of the Secret Heart Ink series of contemporary romances by Deborah CookeSome of you have contacted me, asking about the appearance of duplicate editions at Nook this week. There’s a story behind this (of course!) and today, we’ll talk about it.

Once upon a time, in 2012 or 2013, when I first began to indie-publish, it wasn’t possible for authors outside the US to open an account to publish at Nook. As you know, I’m in Canada, but I wanted to make my books available to Nook readers. My New York agent agreed to make this possible, and we set up the account so I could publish my books there. At the time, I thought I would eventually return to traditional publishing and my relationship with my agent would continue. There also was talk that Nook would eventually open to non-US authors, so I planned to switch over the account when that happened.

Fast forward six years. My agent and I had less and less business to do together and finally, earlier this year, the last of the Dragonfire novels reverted to me and we had no business left to do together. I also had decided not to return to traditional publishing. I like being indie too much. 🙂 Since I’d heard nothing more about Nook opening to other authors, I began to distribute my books to B&N via an aggregator, replacing the Nook editions with Draft2Digital ones. This meant that the product numbers changed, which meant that the links to the product pages changed. It also meant that there wasn’t a specific Nook edition, with links to my other books at Nook inside each book.

You can guess what happened next. Just as the transition was nearly done – with the last of my books coming out of Kindle Unlimited and going into wide distribution again, all with new Nook links – Nook contacted me and asked me to be part of a beta-test for the opening of their portal to Canadian and Australian authors. Ha. Right now, we’re in the middle of taking my books direct again, so there are duplicate editions appearing at Nook. Once the transition is complete, my books will be published directly to Nook again and the old product numbers (and links) will be the good ones again. The ebooks from Nook will also have Nook links inside for my other books.

Simply Irresistible, a contemporary romance by Deborah Cooke and first in the Flatiron Five series.I’ll also make some print editions available directly through NookPress, just as I make some available directly through Amazon, as that gives a better consumer price than having either portal sell the Ingrams editions. For example, the list price of the trade paperback of Simply Irresistible from Ingrams is $13.99 US. I have an edition available on Amazon that is the same except that it isn’t available for broader distribution. It’s priced at $9.99 US. On Nook, I just put a print edition on sale which is exclusive to B&N – it’s also otherwise the same as the Ingrams edition, but has a list price of $9.99 at Nook.

So, if you are a Nook customer, please be a little patient. Good things are in the works!

Strange Magic at B&N

Things have been very strange in the land ‘o Barnes and Noble this year, particularly on the indie side. It all started with an update to the dashboard in December of last year, presumably to accommodate the additional variables for distribution in the UK. As per the norm with these publishing portals, none of the changes were documented and there was no call to action from authors to verify that books were published well.

Plus there were weirdisms in this update. For example, when publishing a book, there is always the option of defining the territories where the book can be sold. This metadata mirrors traditional publishing – traditional publishers don’t always buy world rights. Rights are sold on the basis of territory, language, medium and format. So, a publisher might buy US English print mass market rights, or Commonwealth English rights (which would include print and audio, for example) or German hard cover print rights. As a result of this, when rights revert to an author, that author might not have all rights revert at the same time. So, it makes sense for the portal to allow authors to select territories for the English language edition they’re uploading for distribution. Some portals have a very comprehensive list of territories, but B&N did not. They offered US and World with nothing in between. The thing was that in December, when they actually began to distribute outside of the US, all of this data was automatically reset to US. Authors had to verify again that they had the right to sell the work in question outside the US, i.e. in the UK. While this seems like a prudent and cautious step, B&N didn’t mention this to any of us. Checking your rights options is not something that people ever do once it’s been set and the book has been published.

Secondly, there was metadata lost in the December change. Keywords for search engines were deleted, for example, and the indication of whether the book existed in print was lost (along with the page count of the print edition), etc. etc. There were lots of bits and bytes dropped in December, again with no notice, documentation or call to action.

Thirdly, they changed the conversion engine. If a book was updated or published in December, chances were very good that something messed up in that conversion. I was updating my editions then, substituting lovely formatted editions from professional formatters for my very rudimentary formatted editions. They all looked great in the files from the formatters. They looked great in the Nook preview. They even looked great when I downloaded a copy. Unfortunately, a lot of people who bought one of them got a book of blank pages. Finally, the engine was updated and I got my files republished in January, but there are lots of reviews on B&N for unhappy readers who got the blank editions. (Incredibly, B&N shows no desire to remove these reviews, which are a/ referring to a previous edition of the book and reflect an error which has been fixed, and b/ could be detrimental to sales. There’s a reason why some authors believe B&N wants to go out of business.)

Then came NookPress in March. In the migration of titles from the old portal PubIt to NookPress, more strange things have happened. Rankings have obviously changed and also-buys seem to have lost connections. My sales on B&N have plummeted since March, to the point that the portal might not be worth my trouble. Again, there is no documentation and there are no calls to action. There are also no replies to queries made through the dashboard. My books are no longer listed in the Nook UK store. They were in December. I had very low sales through Nook UK in first quarter, which is odd because I sell well in the UK through all other portals, so didn’t notice they had dropped to nil.

I talked to a B&N person at BEA who checked on this – here’s my last B&N weirdism for today (although there are lots more). Evidently the books are available for sale there, but Nook UK’s own search engine doesn’t find them. (Now we know the Secret of the Disappearing Sales.) I have to wonder if this is a result of the conversion from PubIt to NookPress, because the only title I have that returns as a search result is one that was published after the conversion, and published through NookPress. It also is the only one that’s selling at a volume I’d expect, so its ranking, temperature and also-buys must be correct. (This isn’t absolute, though. I have a second title published after the transition, also through Nookpress, which is completely invisible. I also republished everything through NookPress, which made exactly no difference but chewed through a day of my time.)

The B&N person sent me all the direct links and I spent this past weekend updating my sites with direct buy links for Nook UK – that’s the only way you’ll find my books there. The bizarre thing is that even if you follow in one of the links, you still won’t find the others – they’re not in a secret room where all is revealed once you find your way in. They’re just hidden. This isn’t good for sales, and I’m not getting an answer, which tells me that I’m not special – there are lots of authors with this issue. Again, you’d think that someone would notice that sales had gone away and wonder why.

There is btw an additional issue with my Dragonfire titles on Nook UK which is still being sorted out. It’s possible that the metadata from NAL is incorrect, or the glitch might be at B&N’s end. When I have direct buy links for those titles, I’ll add them to my site, too.

They do have another weird glitch that they say is being fixed – under the books of mine that do appear on Nook UK, there’s a strange line that they are “digitized from the 1920 edition” or the 1910 edition or similar. I’ve no idea what’s up with that. B&N admits they’re looking into that, so I’m not special there, either.

When I learn more, or hear of a solution, I’ll let you know. The adventure continues!

Nook Gook

It appears that my Claire Delacroix books have issues in their Nook editions, available from B&N. Some readers have posted complaints that the books are blank, which certainly isn’t what they thought they were buying!

The Nook PubIt interface has been very glitchy since the beginning of December, when Nook sales were opened to the UK. I have tried repeatedly to upload the new covers for THE COUNTESS, THE BEAUTY, THE TEMPTRESS, BQII Boxed Set, THE ROGUE, THE SCOUNDREL, THE WARRIOR, Rogues of Ravensmuir Boxed Set and THE RENEGADE’S HEART. It has consistently refused to process them.

The strange thing is that when I log in, the changes appear to have been saved. (?) Today, I had a better look around and discovered that it HAD updated the covers on the site. The issue is that the files appear to be blank, so the technical issue must have been in the conversion of the file onsite. This is really strange. I checked out the preview and it was fine, but then was told that the update couldn’t be processed.

I’m pretty annoyed right now, as I expect some of you have been. I’ve removed the books from sale that have complaints posted in the reviews. It appears to be the Bride Quest books and the Rogues of Ravensmuir books, as well as all four boxed sets. The boxed sets might be an issue for a different reason, in that the files are large. I don’t see any complaints for THE RENEGADE’S HEART so have left it on sale – if you have had issues with that Nook file, please let me know.

Fortunately, I’m right in the midst of having ALL files made beautiful by a professional formatter. When she’s done, I’ll upload them again.

I’ll let you know when that happens. Thanks for your patience – it should be soon. 🙂