B&N’s PubIt! vs. Amazon’s DTP

B&N’s PubIt! vs. Amazon’s DTP

“Heya, heya, heya!  Step right up!  You say you wanna be an author?  You say you want your immortal piles of prose to take their rightful places along side the literary greats?  You wanna make a buck on a book?   You say you’ve tried going to publishers…that you could wallpaper a room with rejection letters?  Well, why should THEY get decide if you’re an author or not?  Let Mr. and Mrs. Reader decide!  And you know how much it is going to cost you?  Not ten thousand dollars!  Not five thousand dollars!  Not one single dime!  That’s right…you can become the next F. Scott Fitzgerald absolutely free!  You there…you look like the writer type…you can put two words together, right?  You’ve got a story to tell!  Well, there’s a world of readers out there, hungry to read what you have to say!  They WANT to pay you…they want to make you the toast of the town!  They want to get you one step closer to that Nobel Prize!  So, come one, come all!  Who’s next?”

 Self-publishing is one of the most important elements that e-books bring to us.  However, it can be good and bad…“It was the best of words, it was the worst of words.”  😉 

If you’re an author, you may find the options confusing.  It’s pretty clear where the big book markets are.  Amazon, for sure.  Barnes & Noble?  Yes.  There are other ways to go (SmashWords, iBooks, your own website?), but these are definitely two of the biggies. 

If you are also an EBR (E-Book Reader) owner, you know you basically had to pick one.  You can certainly own both a NOOK (sic) and a Kindle, but you can’t share books from one to the other.

Well, here’s the good news…you can publish your book in both!

Both Amazon’s Digital Text Platform (DTP) and Barnes & Nobles’ PubIt! use non-exclusive contracts.  Even after you publish your book with one or the other, you can still publisher wherever else you want to do that.

Since PubIt! is new, I thought I’d give you a comparison of the two.  For disclosure’s sake, I should mention that I’ve used the DTP, and yes, gotten royalties from it.  My experience has been pretty good…I had one weird thing happen where they temporarily removed a book, but they straightened it out. 


Let’s get right to it.  🙂 

Amazon offers two plans.  One is a 35% royalty, and the other is a 70% royalty.  Why the difference?  With the 70% plan, you agree to more guidelines: price between $2.99 and $9.99; no purely public domain books; at least 20% below the print list price; allowing text-to-speech; and a couple of others. 

PubIt! also has two plans.  For books in Amazon’s 70% range, they pay less…65%.  However, for books in Amazon’s 35% range, they pay more..40%. 

That doesn’t give you a clear winner.  I’d say the most popular books are in the 70%/65% range, but if you want to do a ninety-nine cent book, you’ll make more with B&N…but not a lot more.  On the other hand, it you are writing a photography book, a technical book, or a textbook, all of which could sell for a lot more than $10, that 5% could matter. 


B&n has a pretty strong content policy.  You can have things that are legal (like books with explicit sex) that are prohibited by B&N.  It makes sense to protect yourself legally, so I can completely understand prohibiting libelous and infringing material.  But material that is “offensive”, “harassing”, or “intentionally hateful”?  I may not like books like that, but it’s interesting that B&N is going to accept your book or not based on your emotional intent.  Hmm…Amazon also prohibits “offensive” material.  Looking at these two, I’m not sure that they are all that different.

Payment Terms

This is also very similar…approximately sixty days after the end of the month in which the sales happen.

DRM (Digital Rights Management)

If you don’t want your book to use DRM, both services give you the option to use it or not.  (Thanks to reader Dave for correcting me on this…I had misread it).

Store programs

Each store has their own special programs…notably, Amazon has text-to-speech, and Barnes & Noble has LendMe, which lets owners loan a book to one other person for fourteen days.  B&N compells you to comply.  Amazon pays you more if you do. 


My thoughts generally on this is that it would make sense to do both.  Why not expand the potential market?  I don’t think it makes sense with my Kindle oriented titles, particularly, although I suppose it wouldn’t hurt to have them in B&N, too.  My one concern with going with B&N is I’ve had bad customer service experiences with them online and on the phone (never in a store).  That hasn’t happened for me with Amazon…quite the opposite, it’s always been good.  The sales I’d generate for something called I Love My Kindle in the B&N store might not be worth the risk of a bad experience.  With some other titles I may do, though, it might be.

My recommendation?  Do them both. 

Doing either, by the way, also gets you on the iPad, PCS, Macs, and so on.

I also need to be very clear here that I haven’t mentioned anything that isn’t in the public information.  Nothing confidential has been revealed.

You can see the Terms for each of them here:

PubIt! Terms

PubIt! Publication and Distribution Agreement

DTP Digital Publication Distribution Agreement

Have you used PubIt!?  Any experiences you want to share?  Feel free to leave me a comment. 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

3 Responses to “B&N’s PubIt! vs. Amazon’s DTP”

  1. Steve Says:

    I’d like to give a hint about the german Pubit called XinXii: http://www.xinxii.com The platform went international these days and is accessible worldwide.

  2. Dave Says:

    A couple of problems with your reading of the terms from my experience. PubIt allows DRM or not. The PubIt terms are much simpler whereas DTP makes you agree to a whole bunch of restrictions on your pricing for that extra 5%. Read the fine print. I’m not sure if those things matter to you, but they sure confused me and had me reading it several times.

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Dave!

      I was looking at the terms as I wrote that piece, but I won’t say I know the PubIt! ones inside out. You are right, I’ll correct the DRM piece. This was their section (VII) on it:


      Barnes & Noble shall use commercially reasonable efforts to provide industry standard and commercially reasonable copyright protection (Digital Rights Management, herein referred to as “DRM”) for those Publishers who have indicated to Barnes & Noble that DRM is to be applied for an eBook. You acknowledge that all security technology is subject to possible breach by interlopers. Barnes & Noble assumes no responsibility for any breaches of such security technology.


      I apparently read the section too superficially: when they started out with “shall use”, I didn’t see the modification.

      As to the pricing limitations (and other limitations) at the DTP, I did mention four of the elements, and that there were more. I’ve read the fine print on that one, but I do have to stick to the publicly available information. 🙂

      Thanks for taking the time to point this out! I’ll correct the post in regards to the DRM at PubIt!

      By the way, I find BN’s quirky capitalization and such a bit…trying. They do PubIt! more than one way, for example, and they started out with nook with no capitals, and then sometimes went to NOOK with all capitals. Just a note…

      UPDATE: I’ve made the correction…thanks again. 🙂 Have you used PubIt! yourself? What has been your experience with them?

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