PubIt! A Digital Strategy for Brick-and-Mortar Bookstores

Digital book publishing has encouraged and, in some cases, forced companies like Barnes & Noble to employ new business strategies that accommodate recent technological innovations. Although the brick-and-mortar stores are taking their fair share of damage, the future looks promising for companies that open their doors to e-book publishing.

In the expert hands of Barnes & Noble, one of the largest retail bookstores in the world and a big contender in the race for the Best E-Book Reader Ever, writers can now self-publish their books through B&N’s PubIt! digital publishing platform.

More than 65,000 books have been published since the launch of the PubIt! service. So how does Barnes & Noble make it possible for a writer’s work to get noticed among 65,000 selections? Writers can market their work on Barnes & Noble’s website and the Nook. B&N has even tailored a new PubIt! best-seller list.

The “Read In Store”program also allows for e-books from PubIt! to be sampled by Nook owners while inside Barnes & Noble bookstores. The company is hosting in-store workshops to teach writers how to publish on the new PubIt! platform. The workshops will begin in Santa Monica, California. These kinds of strategies are important  because they  encourage readers to walk through the doors, furthering print (and Starbucks coffee) sales.

PubIt! offers 65% royalties on all purchases made on an e-book. In other words, if an e-book costs $9.99 (the standard price for most e-books), the author will retain $6.49. It’s comparable to the business model of veteran e-book publisher and distributor, Amazon, whose royalty system offers 70% on all purchases made on any e-book. If a book sells for $9.99, the writer will retain $6.99.

Without a doubt, digital publishing is a smart move for Barnes & Noble if it wishes to say alive in an industry where traditional brick-and-mortar stores are losing profits to digital books, web sales, and the high costs of stocking their shelves.

Take the current situation of Borders, for example. Borders filed for bankruptcy last February, claiming the company was $1.29 billion in debt. One of the main causes of death was Borders’ lack of an online publishing plan. The company never fully delved into e-commerce, creating a great disadvantage against competitors such as Barnes & Noble. Borders did not participate in its own online book business until 2008, even though the company had linked its online store with Amazon back in 2001; not to mention, Borders never even released its own e-book reader.

Barnes & Noble needs to continue on the path of digital-business innovation in order to maintain the dominant edge in the digital industry. As of 2011, e-books account for only 9% of all book sales, but a recent survey predicts that in three years e-books will make up half of all book sales. Digital publishing is quickly taking over the market. That’s why Barnes & Noble is taking the initiative.


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