Is Barnes & Noble Move Too Little, Too Late for Self-Published Authors?

The so called “HUGE news” in bookland last week was all about Barnes & Noble: it has actually made a competitive move that could leave Amazon in the dust  (there are 640 BN stores … Amazon has only 3) … but will it? I don’t think so. Maybe it may just be:


And maybe it’s too little, too late.

Yes, B&N is the gorilla when it comes to brick and mortar stores—in all 50 states. Amazon has just 3 brick and mortar to its name. Which will be David … which Goliath when it’s over?

  • Did you know that you ALWAYS had a shot at their bookshelves?
  • Did you know that you just needed to know what you needed to show “them” to get their attention?
  • Did you know that you could be a welcomed author in their sacred walls before this HUGE NEWS announcement was made?

The news release sounded like the siren call from author heaven when first looked at: 

“…authors have the opportunity to sell their print books at Barnes & Noble stores across the country… participate at in-store events including book signings and discussions, where they will be able to sell their print books and meet fans.”

Just what many authors want … even think they need. But, there is always a “but”… sure thing. Of course there are strings attached.

  1. You need to be a Nook Press author. B&N defines as: the program is for “eligible” NOOK Press authors, defined as “those print book authors whose eBook sales [of a single title] have reached 1,000 units in the past year.” The in-store promotion is for “those print book authors whose eBook sales [of a single title] have reached 500 units in the past year.” Is that you or your book?

  2. If you are eligible, your next hurdle is to submit to B&N’s Small Press Department. The buyer for your category also has to sign off.

  3. To do instore events, the local store manager needs to give your book a thumbs up.

Here’s the truth …  truth

  1. YOU HAVE ALWAYS BEEN ABLE TO SUBMIT TO B&N for bookstore consideration and purchase. ALWAYS.
  1. And yes, you do it via the Small Press Department. And yes, there are hoops you need to jump through.

  2. What you need is a PLAN … as in a detailed MARKETING PLAN. In other words, they want to believe that you are going to do all your thinking, breathing, and bankbook effort you can to drive people to their bookstores to order your book. It wants to know numbers, projections, what your social media followings are.

  3. And, another “yes” … your book needs to LOOK GOOD … it’s competing for “hot” shelf space. That means it doesn’t look like it’s been “self-published” like too many do.

  4. Instore – your book needs to be available via a distributor, such as Baker & Taylor; given a thumbs up by the Small Press folks and then blessed by the local CRM (the Community Relations Manager) who will set the date.

  5. The B&N gods (meaning buyer for the category and whoever else is in the mix at the time) decide if they want to do a “test” … maybe order a few hundred copies … and put your book into “the system”. If you get the “green light”, you now start pushing your tribe to the stores. Set up signings if that’s in your plans. Bluntly, you will do whatever you can to “do your part” and move books off the bookshelves.

That’s it. Good luck if your objective is to have your book in a major chain bookstore. Of course, if you are shooting for independents … than your life just got a whole lot easier. Many indie book stores don’t have a problem with ordering directly from a publisher (you) … you need the same criteria in that you want a good looking book and will drive people to the stores.

Here’s the contact info:

Evelyn Velazquez
Coordinator of Small Press Division
122 Fifth Ave.
New York, NY  10011

And, a PS from me: get savvy about IndieBound.orgindiebound
the organization for community independent bookstores.
Put the image on your website “store”–visitors can discover
local bookstores with the input of a zip code.

IngramSparkAND, another PS … get your book up on pronto. Indie bookstores can order your book via the Ingram catalog. Why am I recommending IngramSpark over CreateSpace?–several reasons, but here’s the BIG one: bookstores know Ingram; they’ve been ordering from them for eons–it’s about trust, the trust factor that is already established.

You are welcome,  

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Judith Briles is a book publishing expert and coach. She empowers authors and is the Founder of Author U, a membership organization created for the serious author who wants to be seriously successful. She’s been writing about and conducting workshops on publishing since the 80s. Judith is the author of 35 books including Author YOU: Creating and Building Your Author and Book Platforms (ForeWord IndieFab Book of the Year), Snappy Sassy Salty: Wise Words for Authors and Writers and a speaker at publishing conferences. The CrowdFunding Guide for Authors and Writers was published last year.

Become part of her inner circle by joining the Author’s Ark and exclusive monthly webinar and coaching event. Each summer, she holds Judith Briles Book Publishing Unplugged, a three day intensive limited to a small group of authors who want to be seriously successful. In 2017, the dates are June 22-24th.  Her audio and workbook series, Creating Your Book and Author Platform is now available. Join Judith live on Thursdays at 6 p.m. EST for Author U – Your Guide to Book Publishing on the Toginet Network at .

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