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Watchdog: Review Of Nook’s New Author Services

Watchdog: Review of Nook’s New Author Services

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Giacomo Giammatteo, ALLi Watchdog

ALLi's Watchdog, Giacomo Giammatteo, assesses the value of Nook's author services.

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How Does Nook’s Author Services Stack Up?

A lot of authors were surprised when Nook sent out an email announcing a new POD and author services addition to their self-published offerings. At first glance it seemed like a welcome addition for authors and a great new competitive player.

At first glance.

But when you take a closer look, things not only don’t look great, they are downright disappointing and depressing. What do I mean by that?

Let’s Take A Look At Nook’s Author Services

As you can see from the screenshot below, Nook’s author services don’t come cheaply. For B&W books, you have two basic options: $999 or $1,999.

The chart makes it look as if you’re getting a lot of work for your money, but when you break it down it doesn’t amount to much at all. Let’s break it down. We’ll do the lower-priced option first.

Bookend Package

One-on-One Author Support

I’m not sure what the one-on-one author support consists of, but I assume it is at the very least phone support for issues you might have. Value it as you see fit. But remember that CreateSpace and Ingram both offer phone support as well.

ISBN Assignment

I don’t see where they actually provide an ISBN, and in the FAQs they mention that you don’t need an ISBN (more on that later).

Custom Front Cover

This is one of the strangest things I’ve seen from a POD company. Nook doesn’t allow you to make a full cover, inclusive of spine. Read below. It was taken from their website.

Can I create my own book spine design?

The NOOK Press print platform builds your spine for you during the cover building process. It will calculate your spine for you based on the trim size of your book and the page length of the PDF interior that you upload. NOOK Press will stitch the front and back cover files you provided with the proper sized spine. You can choose from three spine colors and either black or white type color for your title and author name.

Why can’t I upload a full cover PDF?

The NOOK Press print platform calculates the spine size for you so you only need to upload a front and back cover PDF. We do this to ensure spine size accuracy and to make it easier for you to create your cover.

So, if you ever had hopes of getting your book placed in a bookstore you would be losing out on perhaps the most important part of the book’s cover—the spine—which is what shoppers see on 99% of the books in the store. Unless you’re fortunate enough to have someone (a publisher) pay to have your book featured, the spine is all you get to grab a reader’s attention.

Personalized Back Cover

Covered in above section.

Interior Design and Layout

I’ll lump the rest of the services together as they are all related.

Image Insertion

Hardcover or Paperback Formatting

eBook Formatting

I admit that the interior design and layout, and all of the other items mentioned are important, but we don’t know details of exactly what they will or won’t allow. As an example, will they charge extra for images inserted as chapter headings or scene breaks? They mention image insertion, but how many images?

Analysis of Bookend Package

When you look closely at this, you are really paying $999 for a full cover, and layout and formatting.

Shelf-Starter Package

The Shelf-Starter Package includes everything in the Bookend Package, but it adds the following:

  • Expert Editorial Assessment — separate cost = $399
  • Cover Copy Polish — separate cost = $199
  • Library of Congress Control Number
  • Copyright Registration

Analysis of Shelf-Starter Package

You really don’t need the Library of Congress Control Number or the Copyright Registration, but even if you wanted them, you could do both for less than $100. That leaves you paying $1,000 extra for the Cover Copy Polish and the Expert Editorial Assessment services, which, if added separately would only equal $598.

Doesn’t look like a good deal to me.

Editorial Services

Editing is an essential part of publishing. I am a firm believer in producing a high-quality book, and editing is a part of that; however, you can find reasonably priced editors who do fantastic work. The prices quoted on the Nook site are way out of line. Take a look.

ServicePer word cost100,000 wordsTotal cost
Line Editing.37100,000$3,700
Content Editing.44100,000$4,400
Developmental Editing.81100,000$8,100

This represents some of the most expensive editing I’ve seen. If you opted for the developmental edit on a novel of 100,000 words, 99% of authors would never earn enough to pay for the edit, let alone make a profit.

POD (Print on Demand)

This would have been a great option for Nook to offer, as it would have spurred more competition in the market and given authors a choice besides CreateSpace and Ingram. (I realize Bookbaby and others offer services, but they are the two big providers.)

The problem with Nook’s offering is twofold.

  • Costs are too high.
  • No distribution.

Let’s Look at Costs First

The chart below compares Nook’s prices with those of CS and Ingram. In all instances, the books are paperback, b&w, 6×9, cream paper. Nook has a strange way of pricing, doing it by a range of 50 pages rather than per page, so that a book with 201 pages costs the same as a book with 250 pages. The other providers don’t do that.

Page CountNook PressCreateSpaceIngramSpark

As you can see, in every instance the price for printing with Nook is higher. Below is a screenshot from Nook’s site showing the option for a book with 201–250 pages.

Even if we overlook the pricing issues, the bigger problem with Nook’s POD offering is that they don’t provide distribution! In other words, all that it’s good for is printing books for yourself—like a vanity press.

Bottom Line

It would have been nice to have a new player in the POD market for self-published books, and it would have been especially nice to see that player be Nook, as I really want them to stick around and provide much needed competition for Amazon. But what Nook is offering is nothing to be thankful for. It’s not a service I can recommend.

BTW, if You Want to See a Detailed Comparison of CS and Ingram, Check Out These Posts:

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Author: Giacomo Giammatteo

Giacomo Giammatteo is the author of gritty crime dramas about murder, mystery, and family. He also writes non-fiction books including the "No Mistakes" Careers series.
He lives in Texas where he and his wife have an animal sanctuary with 45 loving “friends.” His website is at www.giacomogiammatteo.com.


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