Self-Publish Your Ebooks at Barnes & Noble

Barnes & Noble is one of Amazon’s largest competitors as a book retailer and although their share of the ebook market is considerably less they certainly have strong ambitions in the ebook sector.

The NookOne reason you can expect to see continued growth in ebook sales at B&N is due to their Nook range of ebook readers and tablets.

William Lynch, Barnes & Noble’s CEO had this to say in early in early 2011“We intend for Barnes & Noble to be a leader in the exploding market for digital content. We now represent 25 percent of the e-book market in the U.S., larger than our share in physical books. We sell twice as many ebooks as all formats of physical books combined on”

The company’s history is quite different to Amazon’s. While Amazon started out as an online book retailer Barnes & Noble’s business was built on a chain of brick-and-mortar bookstores. They now have more than 700 stores in United States.

How to Publish Ebooks at B&N?

Independent publishers and authors can upload their ebooks to B&N and they will converted to the epub format. They will then be available for sale at and readable on Nook devices as well as the Nook reading apps for iPad, iPhone/iPod touch, Android, PC, etc.

To publish ebooks at Barnes & Noble you can either do it directly or via the services of an ebook aggregator.

To do-it-yourself, you go through PubIt!, a service launched in October 2010. You will need to meet these requirements:

  • you must have the U.S. rights to your content
  • you must have U.S. Bank Account, U.S. Credit Card, and U.S. Tax ID.

If you are an author or publisher based outside the U.S. you can still use PubIt! provided that you meet the conditions above. If you don’t meet those requirements you can still publish to B&N through an aggregator such as Smashwords or BookBaby.

Fees and Author Royalties at B&N

There is no upfront charge for using the Pubit! service. Barnes & Noble retains a percentage of the list price when your ebook sells.

You can set your preferred ebook price anywhere between $0.99 and $199.99 provided that it is not priced higher than the print edition, if any, and not higher than the ebook is priced at any other sales channel (Amazon or Smashwords, for example).

You will be paid the following royalties based on the list price:

  • ebooks priced from $2.99 to $9.99: 65%
  • ebooks priced below $2.99 or  above $9.99: 40%

If you use an aggregator to get your ebook into B&N then you be subject to their upfront charges, other fees and royalties, as may be applicable.

To get started setting up an account visit PubIt!

To see how these B&N’s royalties compare to other stores see this chart on Ebook Royalties.

To compare ebook aggregators who could help you publish ebooks at B&N see this chart of Ebook Aggregators.

About the Author: Gary McLaren

Gary McLaren is the author of 'The Indie Author's Guide to Publishing Ebooks'. He also manages several web sites for professional writers including Publish Your Own Ebooks and Worldwide Freelance.


  1. Roy Hagen says:

    I cannot complete the Pubit! because I have a Canadian addess, even though I did open a USD TD Canada Trust account just for this purpose.

    Can you help?

  2. Thanks for the info!

  3. Hi;
    I have successfully completed application to B&n to publish my ebook. I already have it on Kindle and it is on the Amazon website; is there any simplified way to get my Kindle version into Barnes & Noble?
    Larry Purcell

    • Hi Larry. As far as I am aware there’s not a quick one step conversion solution. If you have the original manuscript in Microsoft Word, HTML or even Text it may be simplest to make a copy then follow B&N’s formatting guide. If you really want to try converting from the kindle book (without DRM) you could possibly use the Calibre tool to convert from mobi to epub. You will probably still need to check that the resulting epub file meets B&N’s formatting guide for submitting epub files.

  4. I have an Indian address and write from India; does that mean I can not e publish with Barnes & Noble?

    • Hi Jeff,

      You may not be able to publish it directly, but you can still get your ebooks into the Barnes & Noble’s ebook store by submitting it via an ebook aggregator such as Smashwords or BookBaby. Smashwords costs nothing upfront, but they keep a small percentage of each sale.

  5. Hi Gary, when you say I must have the U.S. rights to my content, does that mean it needs to be copyrighted? As for the Tax ID, does that mean I need to set up my own LLC?

    And, one comment — B&N providing a smaller royalty (40%) to writers who charge under $2.99 is in direct contradiction to the pricing model at Amazon. Do you have an opinion or direction on pricing between the two competitors? Is it kosher to use a lower price at Amazon, and then a higher price at B&N?

    Let me know your thoughts. Your info has been very helpful thus far.

    • Hi John,

      1) U.S. rights to the content means you still hold the rights to sell the work in the United States region or territory. You still have these rights unless you have already entered an agreement otherwise, for example with a publisher.

      2) You do not need to set up a U.S. company in order to obtain a US Tax ID. Please visit the IRS for more details.

      3) B&N’s model is quite similar to Amazon’s, slightly higher at 40% vs 35%, and they are slightly lower in the $2.99 to $9.99 range, 65% vs 70%. It’s not a huge difference in either case.

      I hope this helps.

  6. Hi Gary,
    Thanks for the helpful article! I am about ready to epublish with B and N. You wrote that a credit card was necessary. Is a debit card enough? I have not used a credit card in years. Amazon does not have the card requirement. How do I deal with this at Barnes and Noble?
    Most grateful for your reply,
    (email is the title of forthcoming book….but I am currently in the U.S.)

  7. Nice basic info, including in the comments! 😉 thanks!

    I was considering going through an aggregator, after i first finish uploading to amazon, but am wondering if you know of any advantages/disadvantages of going either route?

    Is there a delay in pmt via b&n direct vs going w/say smashmouth?

    Fortunately, my work is in epub format to begin with, so my challenge had been converting using calibre into mobi, then check that out to see if all came out well

    thanks for all the great info, very helpful!


  8. I have my self-published books at Barnes & Noble. Unfortunately, I sell a handful of my books (two sweet historical Western romances and two Fantasy romances) a day at B & N and over a hundred a day at Kindle. I make less than a $100 per month on at B & N and thousands on Kindle. That’s a huge difference, and that’s the case for most (but not all) of the self-published authors I know. However, every sale counts, and I’m appreciative of the ones I do have through B & N.

    • cynthia francis says:

      Hi Debra,
      You say you make 1000’s a day from kindle v 100 per month on B&N. Just curious to know how things are going for you now? I have an ebook that I would like to publish on both sites and was wondering how you went about doing it on the Kindle? thanks

    • I understand that an agreement with Kindle precludes the ability to offer one’s books in electronic format anywhere else. How were you able to publish with both companies? Thanks for your help on this?

      • Don, publishing your ebook with Kindle Direct Publishing is non-exclusive. You cannot sell the Kindle version elsewhere but you can sell other versions such as ePub, PDF, and even Mobi format (which can also be read on the Kindle) in other stores. However if you sign up for Kindle Select, which puts your ebook into the Kindle Owner’s Lending Library, THEN you are entering an agreement not to sell your ebook elsewhere for a period of 90 days.

  9. I tried, but was not able to buy an e-book from Barns and Noble. Reason? I’m not an American. I went to Smashwords and bought the book, no problem.

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