NOOK Press for Print Books

Nook Press logo new

Nook Press logo newThis 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; 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.

Author: Lynne Cantwell

Lynne Cantwell grew up on the shores of Lake Michigan. She worked as a broadcast journalist for many years; she has written for CNN, the late lamented Mutual/NBC Radio News, and a bunch of radio and TV news outlets you have probably never heard of, including a defunct wire service called Zapnews. But she began as a fantasy writer (in the second grade), and is back at it today. She currently lives near Washington, DC. Learn more about Lynne at her blog and at her Amazon author page.

29 thoughts on “NOOK Press for Print Books”

  1. What good is this unless one just wants a copy of his/her book for vanity purposes? Too pricey for me!

    1. If you’re pulling together family photos or recipes for Christmas gifts, maybe. But even then, you’d be better off using CreateSpace unless you’re dying for a hardcover edition. David Gaughran compared prices on his blog this morning, and he says NOOK Press is charging double what CS does for a comparable book.

  2. Thank you so much for taking the time to really analyze this, Lynn. I haven’t had the time. It looks like another way to fool authors into investing in something that isn’t really developed for them and will give them nothing in return.

    1. You’re welcome, Anne. What really annoys me is that while Lulu and CreateSpace offer some (pricey) author services, they also give indies a DIY platform that allows us to easily put our print books on sale. The NOOK platform doesn’t even provide that. It’s strictly a vanity press operation.

  3. Thanks for confirming what I felt about it… seriously, this is ridiculous. I can get a single copy for myself at a bunch of places, and generally cheaper, at least for the page counts I got cost estimates on… I can’t imagine what they’re thinking…

  4. Wow, thanks for digging into this, Lynne. I initially thought it might be interesting, but it sounds awful. If they’re not actually going to sell the books at their retail site or make it available to others, why offer the service to authors? Nonauthors, who just want to print personal copies of their items can use CreateSpace, or another site.

    1. That’s exactly what I was thinking, RJ. My initial thought was, “Oooh, could this be a way into B&N stores?” But no. And it’s not a way into any other store, either, if you don’t pony up for your own ISBN.

      It never ceases to amaze me what these outfits think we’ll fall for…

    1. Thanks, Laurie. That’s the only rationale that makes sense to me. They would want to show a profit center to any potential investors, and what better way than to outsource print book production to a vanity press operation? And they’ve already outsourced production of NOOK devices to Samsung.

  5. What about using the service to print hardbacks to, say, sell on consignment in local bookshops or sell at conventions and whatnot? CreateSpace and Lightning Source have setup fees for hardcovers that are cost prohibitive. And the cost through Nook Press is much less than through Lulu as well. What are your thoughts?

    1. If the costs work out to be cheaper in that one specific case, LB, then it could make sense. (I didn’t look and compare, so I’ll assume it does.) However, one thing to consider is whether they are outsourcing this elsewhere. That’s not something we know yet, but if possibly Author Solutions is actually doing this for them, I wonder if dealing with them means you’ll get hassled trying to upsell you on their other “services” like AS is infamous for doing.

    2. I’ve never done a hardback edition, so I can’t say. Maybe someone who has will chime in here. NOOK Press has a quick quote widget here:
      But I don’t know whether the cost per book would include a setup fee.

      I would think that even if you’re selling on consignment, you’d need an ISBN. The retailer would need some way to track inventory. If you usually buy your own, though, that wouldn’t be a concern.

  6. I might just try one book just to see how their hardcovers look. Not getting really excited about this- I wish CS would do hardcovers.

  7. Clearly they have NO idea how powerful our Indie community is and how we help each other to avoid these silly traps. We’re way ahead of them thanks to IU, David Gaughran and the like spreading the word. Nobody rips off indies and gets away with it!

  8. Lynne, thanks so much for this valuable information. I’ve posted it on social media.
    And the exploitation of indie writers continues—most of it due to ignorance on the part of new writers. That’s why it’s important to get the word out everywhere, in social media groups, and by word of mouth.

    1. Thanks, Ester. 🙂

      I agree that it’s the newbies who are in the most danger from programs such as this one. The vanity press operators have big advertising budgets, and now they’re allying themselves with some (formerly) reputable names in publishing. I guess we’ll just have to keep shouting.

      1. Yes Lynne, that’s why I’ve posted it everywhere and it’s already getting acknowledged and “liked.” Hopefully many will subscribe to IU. You are all amazing with your barrage of info—loving it!

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