Thursday, June 14, 2012

Kindle Select vs. Nook First vs. My Readers--Oh My!

There’s a lot of buzz these days about special e-pub options thrown out to authors from Kindle and Nook. Both require that your e-book be published exclusively with them for a particular period of time before you can open it up to any other e-pub site. Both have pros and cons…but those cons are really generating a bad vibe in the writing blog-o-sphere.

Kindle Select requires a 90 day commitment-that’s three months during which your book can only be purchased in e-format as a Kindle product. Great news for Kindle readers…a long wait after the initial launch build-up for everyone else. For this commitment Kindle will promote you in their lending library and…well…not that much else, as far as I can figure.

And believe me, I’ve tried! The contract is daunting, to say the least, and I write contracts in my ‘day job’! It’s full of lots of ominous CONS. There are a few other minor perks, hardly worth mentioning, and in return you give Kindle/Amazon, well, let’s just say by the time I finished reading the contract I was scanning back for the ‘First Born’ clause-certain I must have missed it as it seems they want everything else!

Who’s this one for? Not the Indie Author. It’s clearly the multi-published well-known author who gets a bump here and, generally, this is what I’m hearing from those who have tried it. If you are tempted, just be certain to read all the fine print and follow the rules-or else! Oh, the PRO is that you can hop onto Kindle Select at anytime-not just when you first publish. So maybe it helps when the doldrums hit. The jury is still out there.

Now, Nook First DOES require just what it says-you e-pub with them first, when you initially launch the book. They get exclusive rights to your e-pub for the first 30 days. Not as bad as Kindle’s 3 months, but this is a program that apparently makes it worth your while. I can’t tell you what the contract is like, because I haven’t made the cut yet. While anyone can do Kindle First, you have to submit your book to a panel for the Nook First program. They determine if it fits the needs of their particular promotions at any given time.

I contacted the Nook First administrator via a contact from an acquaintance. I have no idea how you would do so otherwise-I couldn’t find any contact info on my own. The plot thickens, eh? But if I ever do get a book accepted, I probably will participate in this program. It’s all about featured promotion on their website and emails-for 30 days I don’t think you can lose, assuming there’s no First Born clause!

Of course, in the end either of these promotions will cause some of your readers to find themselves out of the loop and unable to access your book for the duration. Yes, they can always buy a paperback-those aren’t affected. But will the initial flush of excitement to read your latest offering wear off by the time they are able to do so?

No Kobo, Sony, Smashwords, etc. access either. As you can imagine, this is leaving authors with a tough choice: enhanced promotion vs. readers. The problem is that the promotion part remains a rather elusive item-stats are unreliable and the buzz is bad. 

Our readers, on the other hand, are often loyal and true. In general it seems that, for now, authors are erring on the side of loyalty. Here’s hoping that in the future e-pub companies can find a way to bring the best of both options together.  

(photo courtesy of GETTY)


  1. Good post, Robin! Thanks for shedding light on the publishing choices out there.

  2. Thanks Sandra! It's an ever changing challenge we are all facing daily!