Though it's taken a little longer than we expected, Barnes & Noble has announced that this summer it will launch PubIt, a new DIY publishing option for independent publishers and self-publishing writers to distribute their works digitally through BN.com and Barnes & Noble's e-book store.
The new service will compete with Amazon's pioneering Digital Text Platform (DTP), which many writers have turned to for distributing their works to the Kindle and other devices that run the Kindle Reader software. Sony, too, has a DYI option for its Reader Store, and Apple is now allowing self-publishers to distribute their e-books in its iBookstore thanks to a deal with Smashwords, a start-up that specializes in DIY e-book creation and distribution.
Barnes & Noble hasn't announced its royalty rate, saying only that, "Independent publishers and writers will appreciate PubIt's simple and competitive royalty model and compensation process, the details of which will be available in the coming weeks." The press release also note that, "Content owners' intellectual property will be well-protected with Barnes & Noble's best-in-class digital rights management technology and offered in the industry standard EPUB format that allows publishers' works to be enjoyed by millions of Barnes & Noble customers on hundreds of the most popular computing, mobile, and eBook reading devices."
Apple already gives developers and publishers a 70 percent cut on both apps and e-book sales. Under pressure from Apple, Amazon has announced that it will improve its royalty rate on June 30 to the same 70-30 cut. One would assume, then, that Barnes & Noble's numbers will be similar, but we'll wait and see what it comes up with. When contacted, a Barnes & Noble rep reiterated that the rate would be "attractive and competitive," but had no further details to add.
Like Amazon, Barnes & Noble's strategy is to expand beyond its own e-reader, the Nook, and get its eReader app onto as many devices as possible. It's currently in the process of revamping its iPhone app, has a brand-new iPad app in the works (supposedly available later this month), and will launch an app for Android smartphones later this year. B&N eReader is also available for BlackBerry devices, as well as Mac and Windows PCs.
We'll let you know when PubIt is officially open for service, but until then, feel free to comment and let Barnes & Noble know how it can improve on Amazon's Digital Text Platform.