Thursday, March 08, 2012

Nook First or Amazon Select

On March 19th, SAVING SCOTT officially joins the Nook First program. Why did I decide to pursue this route, especially for those of you who read my post about why I didn't join the Amazon Select Ranks. Why the change of heart?

First, it's not really a change of heart. The two programs aren't the same. Amazon Select is open to anyone who signs up. The perks? You can list a book for free for up to 5 days in a given time period. People who belong to the "Prime" program (it's fee-based) can borrow your books, and when they do, you get paid. On the flip side, you can't sell your book anywhere but Amazon—not even through your website—for 90 days. If your books are for sale elsewhere, you have to remove them.

The Nook First program also requires exclusivity, but for 30 days, not 90. It's not open to anyone. You have to ask to be a part of the program, and participation is limited, so you're not in "competition" with countless other books. You get an assigned 30 day period. Also, it's for books that have never been published elsewhere. (Hence the name "Nook First")

Since SAVING SCOTT is a new book, I asked about Nook First. What I discovered, and the tipping point for me, was that Barnes & Noble actively promotes your book during that 30 day period. Among other things, their current agreement says they will place your book on their storefront, and include your book in email campaigns. Their website has a special "Nook First" page where your work will be on display, and not with dozens and dozens of others.

And, a well-known successful author's experiences with both Kindle Select and Nook First helped me make my decision. This is what she had to say:

I've done both the Nook First and Kindle Select programs. My take…Nook First was fabulous! BN really delivered as far as pushing my title and giving it great visibility. I more than doubled my BN income that month. I did get a few grumbles from the Kindle and iTunes folks who had to wait, but most were fairly okay with waiting 30 days. And they did have the option of downloading the free Nook app and reading the book on another device - which I know several people did. This is a program I would definitely do again in the future.

For me, Kindle Select has been a huge bomb. I've heard from some newer authors that it's really helped their sales, but it has actually caused my sales on Amazon to go down - not even taking into account the lost sales at all other outlets. I've heard similar things from other authors who were doing well on Amazon prior to Select. I think if you have an established foothold on sales at Amazon, Select probably isn't going to help as much. And I severely dislike the restrictions and exclusivity. I think I've pissed off many more established readers than I have gained new ones with this program. 90 days seems to be too long to wait for a book for most readers. Plus, one reader pointed out something I hadn't even thought of - when I took the books off of BN and iTunes, they disappeared from her wish lists on those sites (which she used as to-buy list)s. So, not only are they not available now, but they totally disappeared from her future purchases radar. Not good.

What about the "free" perk? Not with Nook First. There's a minimum price of $2.99 to participate. And, I will be totally honest here: I've never had any success with offering my books for free. I've done Buy on Get One, offered free books for the asking, and done promotions. Right now, the "Read an eBook Week" promotion is going on, and I'm participating with 1 discounted book (Finding Sarah) and 1 free "book" (Finding Fire—which is really a companion piece to Finding Sarah). As I type this, I've had excellent results with the free book, but zero sales of my half-price book. I expected crossover sales to my other titles, but I'm not even selling the book that's being discounted. My concern with free at Amazon is that thousands of people would get one (or more) of my books, but that my sales wouldn't go up enough to make it worthwhile.

Now, there are lots of people who swear by the "give them a free book" system, but it's never worked for me. Your mileage will vary. Likewise with the "library" lending feature. I've heard some say they've had a lot of borrows, and others have had none.

So, SAVING SCOTT will debut shortly, but it will start out as a Nook book. Will people with other e-readers be upset? Maybe, but I doubt I have that big a following, and 30 days isn't that long to wait. And, as all the Amazon Select people tell me when I say I have a Nook and can't take advantage of their books—"You can download the app for your computer, phone, etc." So if they really want to read the book before it's released at the other sites, there IS an option.

And, after my 30 days is up, I'll let you know how things worked out for me.


Tomorrow, my crit partner from England is on tap with his pictures of birds. He saw the ones I posted last week and offered some of his own.

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13 comments:

Ruth Harris said...

Terry, thanks for this. Very informative. I haven't joined Select & am still resisting but your analysis further helps clarify my thinking. Look forward to your report on NF.

Mario said...

Great analysis. Please report back after the program to let us know how you did.

Vicki Batman, said...

Very interesting, Terry. Thanks for sharing the comparison.

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on this, Terry!

Terry Odell said...

I shall definitely report back.

jonnie jacobs said...

Thanks for sharing, Terry. Very helpful information.

William said...

I'd never even heard of Nook First... Everyone's ranting and raving about Kindle Select (which I'm currently part of, and with no huge successes at all). I'll definitely give Nook First a go for my next book!

Suzanne said...

This is also the first time I've heard of Nook First. I'm definitely interested in hearing more about your experience with it. Kindle Select should be renamed "Kindle Sarcophagus." Sales of all four of my books on Amazon have plummeted since I put one of the books into the Select program.

Terry Odell said...

Nook First isn't an "open to the public" type program the way Amazon Select is. They only feature a small number of books at any given time, and it's a promotional effort on the part of Barnes & Noble, NOT the author.

Eddie Jones said...

Ah, that explains. It surfed the web trying to figure out how to load a new release into the program. B&N does some things well, but helping publishers market eBooks isn' one of them. I'm still hopeful the people at B&N will catch up with Amazon but the gap is widening. In any case, thanks for the info Terry.

Terry Odell said...

Eddie - the program is not "open to the public" as it's selective and you have to apply. If you check my results on my April 2nd post, I think you'll find that B&N IS doing things for authors, but it's selective, which in turn, makes it more valuable. MY B&N sales have skyrocketed above my Amazon sales.

Jason Brant said...

How long did it take for them to respond after you applied?

Terry Odell said...

Jason - it took only a day or two to get a response; longer to get into the program. Right now, they're not looking at new subs. Word of Mouth has been very productive for them.