Publishing Spotlight: Barnes & Noble Press

I was excited when I heard about Barnes & Noble Press, especially since it’s part of  the oldest bookstore chain in the United States. Small presses and self-published authors now have another avenue to get their books out to readers, and I hoped using a book printer with the clout and know-how of Barnes & Noble might give these publishing entrepreneurs some added benefits.

As I started looking into Barnes & Noble Press, questions about sales, royalties, distribution, and the promise of bookstores appearances for authors swirled in my head. This, I thought, would make a great publishing spotlight post, so I quickly reached out to them and asked some questions.

What is the main benefit of using Barnes & Noble Press for print books?

The main benefits of using Barnes & Noble Press for print books is that it’s fast, free, and easy for authors to upload projects and make print books available to millions of Barnes & Noble readers. Plus, authors can earn twice as much publishing in print directly with Barnes & Noble Press compared to using a third-party service to sell on BN.com. We offer competitive printing costs and a 55% royalty vs a 40% royalty if authors publish with a third party service and distribute to BN.com.

Which formats (i.e. hardcover, mass market, trade paper) does Barnes & Noble Press offer for printing?

Barnes & Noble Press offers multiple formats for print books including paperbacks and stunning hardcover editions — hardcover with printed case or hardcover with dust jacket. We use premium paper stock and print in full color or crisp black & white. We offer a variety of trim sizes, cover options (glossy or matte), and use high-quality ink and paper stock.

Does Barnes & Noble Press give new self-published authors any guidance, such as how to obtain an ISBN?

Yes, through our Build-A-Book file upload process, we offer a number of prompts, tips, and guidance on everything from recommended paper color, to how to format your interior file, to obtaining a free ISBN provided by B&N Press. We also have a dedicated Authors Tools & Tips section, which is a great self-publishing resource on the self-publishing process, cover design, metadata, marketing tips, and more.

What services, if any, does Barnes & Noble Press offer self-published authors aside from printing? (i.e. proof reading, editing, cover design)

As mentioned, our Authors Tools & Tips page offers insight into the self-publishing process and shares best practices from some of our bestselling authors. We also have partnered with trusted industry professionals to help new authors in creating high-quality print and eBooks. We’ve partnered with  99designs to offer cover design and interior file formatting, while partnerships with Reedsy and Girl Friday Productions provide affordable,  high-touch options for editorial and marketing design services. And we have many more partnerships to come!

Do all titles printed by Barnes & Noble Press appear in stores? And if not, what is the criteria to have a self-published book appear in a B&N physical bookstore?

Barnes & Noble Press print titles can be ordered directly from any Barnes & Noble store nationwide. Typically, our print titles are not available on the shelf, but all of our books can be ordered and shipped directly to a customer’s home. Barnes & Noble Press does offer authors the opportunity to pitch their books to Barnes & Noble buyers for placement in a physical book store. An author must have sold at least 1,000 B&N Press eBooks in the past 12 months in order to qualify, and the book must be available for print through Barnes & Noble Press.

If an author uses Barnes & Noble Press for their print titles, will the print books be available in stores other than Barnes and Noble?

No, not at this time. Barnes & Noble Press print books are only sold through the B&N ecosystem.

What file formats does the author need to have his/her book printed?

To make a print book available for customer purchase or to order personal copies, an author needs a print-ready interior and cover file. For an interior file, B&N Press recommends using either Microsoft Word for Mac or PC or Mac Pages. Interior files can also be saved as PDF’s and uploaded to our platform that way.

Print book cover files must be uploaded as print-ready PDF’s. We offer a variety of how-to’s that help authors format into these file types.

Since physical books are printed via print-on-demand, which means they aren’t printed until a sale is made, when does the author pay for the printing of the book?

The author royalty on a print book is 55% of the list price minus the printing cost. For a 300 page, 6×9” trade paperback, the printing cost is $5.05. If the book is priced at $13.99, the author makes 55% of the $13.99 list price that the author sets, minus the $5.05 to print, for a total royalty of $2.64. By comparison, using a distributor to publish to BN.com, and with a book listed at the same price point, the author would net only $1.15.

You can see this royalty breakdown here.

Can a self-published author who uses Barnes & Noble Press have an author event in a physical B&N store?

Yes! A self-published author who has sold at least 500 B&N Press eBook units in the past 12 months qualifies to pitch their book for an in-store event at a local Barnes & Noble store.

Can an author get extra print copies for themselves?

Yes, an author can order extra print copies for events or for any other occasion – to give to family & friends, your business, fans of your book, prospective readers & reviewers, or keep for yourself. We’ll deliver copies to your door within a week from the date you place your order, or in as little as three days with expedited shipping. Once your book is in our system, it’s easy to create different formats, make changes, and continue to sell it on BN.com.

Can a title printed and sold on Amazon via Create Space be printed by Barnes & Noble Press for sale in B&N stores?

No, a title printed and sold on Amazon via CreateSpace cannot be printed by Barnes & Noble Press for sale in stores. However, B&N Press print services use the same formatting guidelines, so any CreateSpace book published with Amazon is transferable to the Barnes & Noble Press platform. And, authors will make more money publishing to Barnes &Noble using B&N Press as opposed to CreateSpace.

Do you have any advice for new authors thinking of self-publishing?

If an author is serious about selling a book, the best advice is to ensure that the book has a professional, eye-catching cover. By having a well-designed cover that reflects the genre, tone, and your particular brand, your book has a better shot at catching the attention of not just readers, but promotional merchandisers as well.

A professional, well-designed cover may cost a little money up front, but the end result is that your book has a better chance of finding an audience through promotional programs, on Barnes & Noble or otherwise.

We look forward to working with your readers on selling or printing their books!


Feel free to ask any questions you may have in the comments below or visit the Barnes & Noble Press web site.

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