Back in May, Barnes & Noble announced that it would be launching a self-publishing platform, and now its PubIt service has officially gone live. The new DIY publishing option allows independent publishers and self-publishing writers to distribute their works digitally through BN.com and Barnes & Noble's eBookstore.
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.
As part of the launch, Barnes & Noble announced that the PubIt royalty rate for authors would be 65 percent of the sale price for titles priced $2.99 and higher. The rate falls to 40 percent if you choose to go lower than $2.99 or higher than $9.99, with B&N setting $.99 as the lowest allowable price and $199.99 as the highest.
That rate is close to Amazon's 70 percent royalty, but not quite as high (Amazon also has pricing restriction to get its highest rate). However, Barnes & Noble notes that its PubIt service includes a free conversion tool that takes your Microsoft Word, TXT, HTML, or RTF files and automatically converts it to an ePub file, which you then upload to Barnes & Noble's eBookstore (alternatively, of course, if your e-book is already an ePub file, you can just upload it directly through PubIt). Barnes & Noble says that you can preview how your content will look on one of Barnes & Noble's eReading devices using the Nook emulator. Currently, Amazon doesn't offer a conversion tool.
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 recently revamped its iPhone app and offers a Nook iPad app, plus one for Android smartphones. Nook e-reading software is also available for BlackBerry devices, as well as Mac and Windows PCs and third-party e-readers such as the Pandigital Novel.