This weekend I was using my new Kindle Fire HD to do some web surfing and I made a surprising (and welcome) discovery: my print book is for sale on Barnes & Noble. I guess with all the rivalry talk about Amazon and B&N, and the fact that I use CreateSpace, not to mention the book’s title, I never expected this.
I did not realize that the CreateSpace Expanded Distribution would automatically place my title into the online Barnes & Noble book store.
An accidental discovery
The reason I noticed this is because I was using the Bing.com search engine which is the default search tool on Kindles (it replaced Google back in 2012). Oddly enough, my book is in position number 9 when I search for it using Bing, but when I search using Google on my PC or iPad, I can't find it. In fact I searched well beyond position 100, 10 pages mind you, and never found it (I did find NigerianWeddingGuide.com at #97). I tried a couple other books, both more popular than mine (I know, hard to believe), and found one on the first page of Google and the other was on the fifth page.
Google not indexing the BN website thoroughly doesn't seem like a good thing for authors, or BN.
A few other discoveries
As soon as I saw this I decided to post the EPUB edition of my book to NookPress.com to see what might happen. Up until this point I never tried to sell outside Amazon because the low sales there for self-publishers didn’t seem to warrant the effort. That may still prove to be the case but these findings give me hope that B&N is trying harder.
Like most self-published POD authors I use CreateSpace so some of these findings may not apply. If this is the case keep in mind that the only way to control your BN print book listing is via your CreateSpace dashboard. With this in mind here are a few things I’ve learned so far. I hope these help you and your book:
- Author bio. BN does not have an author tool like AuthorCentral. Instead each Nook book has a field for author information which it pulled from your NookPress listing. (I haven’t tested what happens if you complete your author field on CreateSpace.)
- Print book price. My price was temporarily $12.99 which Amazon discounted to $11.84. BN picked this up and matched it. But then I returned the price on CreateSpace to $14.99 and Amazon did not change, perhaps because they are matching BN. I don’t expect this difference in price to persist but I hope it does because it’s great for my readers and I get paid the same royalty no matter what either store charges.
- Description formatting. Unlike Amazon where the print and eBook descriptions can differ, the description on BN is the same for both formats and in my case it is ignoring my NookPress.com description and using the CreateSpace profile. Why is this significant? Because you can use HTML to enhance your CreateSpace book listing and this carries over to BN from CreateSpace. Also be mindful that whatever you say on CreateSpace will show on BN. I referenced Matchbook in my CreateSpace profile which I plan to change now that I know this profile is used in other stores.
- Editorial reviews. BN has a space for editorial reviews and CreateSpace does not so if you have independent reviewers you can quote, add those to your NookPress listing.
- Changes seem quick. I edited my book’s CreateSpace profile mid-December and it was reflected in the BN listing as of January 4th (although it could have been even faster than this since I wasn’t monitoring it).
- Your ISBN is part of your book’s URL. If I type my ISBN into Google (9780615710730) my Barnes & Noble listing is #9 in Google results and #1 in Bing results. I can’t claim this will sell more books but an ISBN is an important piece of metadata in the world of books so can’t hurt.
Search engine marketshare
Google represents 66.7% of all searches but Bing is making headway (they also supply the search results for Yahoo which I found matched Bing exactly). Together with Yahoo, for whom Bing also supplies search results, the Bing+Yahoo search marketshare is a combined 29.3%–not insignificant. I think this is an important thing to keep in mind if you are selling your books via BN and in other stores. You might even suggest to prospective readers to “Bing my book” instead of “Google my book.”
AuthorImprints specializes in helping authors and books achieve greater online visibility, aka marketing. Please call or email for a free consultation on how I might help you and your books become more discoverable.
Reminder: join my mailing list to learn more about SEO for Books where we share inside tips and information not found on this blog.