I still hesitate to make the big leap and buy my own ISBNs and use IngramSpark. It’s $500+ up front for me to do that and I’m just not convinced it would pay for itself because I’m not convinced that enough bookstores would decide to order my books if I did it.
So I tried a little experiment, which was to use NOOK Press to publish a few of my books through Barnes & Noble online rather than let those books reach B&N via Amazon via IngramSpark. B&N also provides free ISBNs so it was just my own time and effort involved.
One thing I do like is that I can put spine text on much skinner books than I can with Amazon. I have a lot of titles in the 80-90 page range that have no spine text through Amazon but can through NOOK Press. So that was an improvement.
The colors in the covers were more washed out looking to me for the four books where I did this.
The paper quality is lower. I could see text through the page on my black and white books and it doesn’t look like I have a choice to use their heavier paper option if I’m just doing black and white interiors.
I had adjusted the outer margin based on their specs, but the inner margin was a little tight. Not so much it warranted going through the whole process again, but enough that I’d adjust inner margins on any books going forward.
They don’t have a handy-dandy cover creator like Amazon’s so I had to make my own. Once I’d done it for each trim size it was pretty straight-forward.
I will now make more on any sales of those four paperbacks that happen through Barnes & Noble. But not as much as I make per book when sold on Amazon. For example, I have ones that sell on Amazon that pay me $5 on Amazon and $1.50 on B&N through Expanded Distribution that will now pay me $3 for a B&N direct sale.
Expanded distribution sales have never been a significant part of my sales. And if I discount my mother bulk ordering books from B&N, they’re even less. So I’ll also be watching to see if this means more sales on B&N than before. It doesn’t get physical store placement for me. That requires more ebook sales than I’m going to have there probably ever. But I have noticed with each platform that I’ve gone direct with my ebooks that I did see a small bump in sales along with it, so we’ll see if that holds true for print as well.
If not, I probably won’t do more this way, mainly because of the paper. I just don’t like the paper being that thin and not having the option to choose to pay for a heavier paper. It’s just balanced out by the spine text for me. But just.