Barnes & Noble’s PubIt is Live

Barnes and Noble’s new self-publishing platform, Pubit, is now live. To put it simply, it’s Barnes& Noble’s version of Amazon’s DTP platform, and it has very similar terms:

Books released through Pubit! can be priced as low as 99¢ and as high as $199.99, but there’s definitely a sweet spot where Barnes and Noble encourages publishers to list their e-books. That spot is between $2.99 and $9.99, where publishers take 65% of the money collected. Titles priced less than $2.98, and more than $10.00 only earn publishers 40% of the list price.

So authors can earn somewhat less than Kindle authors for a book priced $2.99 (70%) on Amazon, but slightly more for books priced under $2.99 – 40% compared to 30% on Amazon.

According to Pod People, the release has had some hiccups. Shannon Yarbrough of the LL Book Review, writes,

Don’t hold your breath. I had to re-request an invite and have yet to receive it. My current log-in is not working and although I’ve contacted PubIt! support, I have yet to get a reply. When I attempt to log in, it just reloads the log-in screen and doesn’t take me anywhere. I’m not sure if this is an isolated situation with just me or if they are experiencing issues across the board. I’m guessing the latter.

If you’re already distributed to Barnes and Noble via Smashwords, it could turn out to be a headache to remove a book from distribution and re-enter it – though obviously this would mean getting a better royalty percentage. Publishing via Smashwords means that you get 85% of the net of books bought on the Barnes and Noble site.  This 15% loss would be in addition to whatever percentage you set at Barnes and Noble.

Keep in mind also that charging less on Barnes & Noble than you charge on Amazon could lead to pricing difficulties on Amazon, as they require that their price is the cheapest available. This is one of the arguments for staying at Smashwords, as it’s easier to set one price and distribute to a collection of different stores.  Depends how hands-on an author wants to be.

  • I’ve uploading ebooks to B&N via PubIt since early in the week (I’m PubIt publisher number 131). I ran into a few registration glitches due to the rigidity of the automated system, but I got good, fast help from real people, by phone.

    The process for adding books is very much like Amazon’s. It’s fast and by the numbers. There is, however, no way to get help from humans. The help area offers only FAQs and manuals without any contact info or means whatsoever. This is troubling in that one of the first books I set about uploading somehow split into two dialogs for the same title. One has been “processing” since early in the week, and the other can be edited but not saved. Also, nearly all my covers do not show up in the store. They’re all formatted the same, so no clue as to why some are failing–and no one and no way to ask.

    It was impressive to rack up my first sale on the first day, then others. It looks like the listing of sales is updated just once a day, which ought to drive obsessive author-publishers nuts.

    All in all, it’s reasonably good so far, but there will be growing pains as B&N learns how to deal with self-publishers.

  • A great deal of snooping around the PubIt FAQs turned up a direct contact for support: pubit@bn.com

    Meanwhile, a link to a “Community Board” just links back to the FAQs page.

    These guys don’t really want to be contacted.

    • Eric-

      That is the email addy I tried which generated an auto reply a day later which contained the same link. Thanks.


      • All I can say is I’m selling books at a rate I want to believe is commensurate with their overall ebook market penetration–not that much, but it’s still a welcome adjunct to the serious results from Amazon.

        My technical issue has not been addressesd in any way by a human or an autoresponse, but I think it might be working itself out–very slowly–in the normal course of events. I’ve uploaded 42 titles intuitively with just the one technical glitch.

        As a warning, the book file upload is finicky. In about 10 of 42 cases, I’ve had to try different files in different formats. Sometimes epubs work, sometimes Word docs work. Be absolutely sure to preview at least the first dozen pages. If it chokes at all, it’ll choke in there, somewhere.

        • Here’s a new one. Where I have eformat at PUBIT and Createspace you think I would still need to pay for the process at Lightning Source? CreateSpace covers Amazon and PUBIT covers B&N. Are there any outlets out there that I am missing? Thanks!

  • Actually got a follow-up email yesterday (from a person). Wow! The “glitch” has been fixed and I’ve been able to log in successfully, but Eric is right. They do not want to be contacted.


  • Heh. They probably saw all those forum posting over at Amazon and thought, “We want no part of that.” But I’m thinking that’s going to have to change. Eventually they’re going to get swamped with tech issues, and if they don’t deal with them in some fashion they’re going to start losing publishers/writers, who are also customers in a way since BN will be making money from each sale.

  • I also don’t appreciate their condescending and cutesy language seemingly aimed at KittyJoe Smith who’s ALWAYS WANTED TO WRITE A BOOK ABOUT THAT THING THAT HAPPENED. But I signed up anyway.

  • “Keep in mind also that charging less on Barnes & Noble than you charge on Amazon could lead to pricing difficulties on Amazon, as they require that their price is the cheapest available.”

    The Pubit! contract also has a “no-underselling” provision. In both cases, don’t offer a title for less on your Website than in the online bookstores.

  • Jose

    I have been trying to login to my Pubit to add more books and it has been impossible. I have sent a dozen emails. No response. They are TOTALLY HORRIBLE!!!

  • Pubit did a strange thing. Sunday I had 11 books sold. I checked in yesterday. The page looked different and I had only 1 book sold. I am now up to 2 books sold. I emailed Pubit to find out what happened. Only got a generic response. When earnings start disappearing, I get worried.

    • Vernon-

      It appears now that PubIt has reached the 60 day mark and will start paying out royalties this month, they’ve made some changes to their sales screen. I just logged into my account and noticed prior sales are gone, but in their place is a revenue box showing the amount I’m currently due. Under that is a dropdown menu where you can view sales by month (October, November, and December are all listed).


      • I had sold 11 books. Now it says 2. Searching on prior month’s sales don’t show anything sold, not even the 2 listed. It does not show any revenue to be paid out. It previously show this number. I thinking some kind of data transition did not go well.

  • I have been trying repeatedly to create a BN account but when I click on the create a new account – nothing happens. Thanks

  • Okay, Pubit (great name, appropriate) has disappeared my seller’s account and offers to sign me up to publish…. Who, then, is selling my book on B&N, and what has become of my previous sales? It is impossible to even get into the pubit site to look for a support number because everything I try goes to the set up new account page. There have been repeated glitches before this, but it is worrying to find that they now claim to have no records that my account exists.

    • T. W. Monroe

      I feel they do not have their heart in this program. I have been dealing with them for four weeks and have not recieved any results from their support people. They say call. I call. They say wait for e-mail. I wait. The e-mail says to call. I call. They say wait for the e-mail. see a pattern here. I e-mailed them and they have not responed.

  • Hi,
    I am so glad I found this site. I just uploaded today and it says to wait 24 -72 hours for processing. But, then I see my book on the site but no Nook book available AND my price has a reduced cost of 41%…Who prints these books because I would surely be in the whole. So confused…Can ANYONE tell me what is happening PLEASE and a huge THANK YOU!

    • So you don’t have a print option available but BN set it to 41% off? If you distributed a print version, I would have said you may have set it to too deep a discount. Have you published it with Createspace, Lulu, et al.?

      • Thank you for your reply,

        I have my book coming out on Lightning Source and Createspace…But I haven’t even released to sell them yet. I am about 5 days out. I have the books with them at $15.95
        Where does Barnes and Noble get that they can sell/print a book for $9.34? That doesn’t even cover my cost I believe. I am so confused.
        Thank you thank you

        • So you’re printing with two sources? Check to see what discount you’ve set for distribution. It’s quite possible if you’re all done uploading the book that it went live early. A 40% retailer discount is normal. With LSI and CS, a 288 page book should cost you around $4 to print, so you shouldn’t be taking a loss.

          • Ahhhhh…okay. I think standard discount was 55% but I should still be okay. Scary new waters I have entered. Apparently, they don’t check to see that the book is available yet. But, Monday it should be on Creatspace and shortly after Lightning Source. I feel like I might sleep tonight now. Thank you!

  • HLofVernon

    Im so glad to see that there are finally authors who sell at Pubit publicly posting about the detraction of sales that their accounting has been committing since about this time last year. I have also had sales detracted or subtracted if thats a better word for it from royaties owed to me but these WERE NOT ebooks that sold and then were returned by customers. They always show the activity in my account when this happens but instead these were sales that were in my account and then mysteriously disappeared. The Pubit Help Board is buzzing right now with authors upset about their sales being reduced to much lower amounts or down to zero with no explanation. I started writing my sales down every day and found that Pubit has not only been cutting my sales back but also not paying me for the ones they subtracted from my totals without telling me why they did so. Its way to many to be returns by customers and it has happended to many times for nearly a year to just be a mistake. It is obviously being done to keep them afloat I would suppose because if it was just a system bug they could have fixed it long ago. Its amazing that a company as old as Barnes:Noble would allow their Pubit people to resort to this type thing. If they are struggling to stay alive as a web book store this has been known to make even honest companies go the wrong path of ethics. Pretty sad really that they have now become guilty of this very thing.