Amazon Opens Dutch Kindle Store, B&N Moves Into Author Services

Amazon launched a Kindle Store in the Netherlands this morning, as anticipated by The Digital Reader yesterday.

Kindle devices are now on sale for prices ranging between €59 for the basic model, up to €189 for the Voyage, and the store has opened with over 3m titles. However, only 20,911 of these titles are in Dutch and only 1,221 of these e-books are by Dutch authors.

That may change now that KDP has launched a local portal for Dutch writers and small presses. The opening of the Dutch Kindle Store also means the abolition of the regressive and unpopular Whispernet Surcharge in the Netherlands which added $2 onto the price of many e-books.

For those already publishing via KDP, your book is on sale in the Dutch Kindle Store without any further action needed at your end. You will earn 70% on sales between €2.60 (~$3.24) and €9.70 (~$12.08) – matching the terms of the other Euro-based Kindle Stores, and reversing an unwelcome trend where 70% royalties were only available if that title was enrolled in KDP Select (as is the case for Kindle Stores in Brazil, Japan, Mexico and India).

Amazon is a little late to the party in the Netherlands. Competitors like Kobo, Apple & Google already have some presence, and there is a strong local competitor which is estimated to have 60% of the nascent e-book market (Bol.com, which partnered with Kobo as recently as September).

But Amazon has a track record of dramatically changing the digital markets it enters. For example, Amazon grabbed around half of the Italian e-book market within three months of opening its doors there. On the other hand, Amazon has had it tougher in markets like France and Germany where strong fixed book price laws have hindered its desire to ability to discount.

Whoever ends up on top, the opening of Amazon’s Dutch operation is a reminder that we are only at the very beginning of a long period of change, and that the real battle isn’t between authors and publishers, or even Amazon and publishers, but an international turf war between a small handful of tech giants. Next stop: Scandinavia and Russia.

* * *

One company that doesn’t quite fit that profile is Barnes & Noble, which has been trying to spin off Nook Media for a while – presumably to someone who can match the investment levels of Apple, Google, Amazon, and Kobo (the latter has a strong international presence through hitting international markets early, partnering with local retailers, and now has extra cash on hand thanks to their parent company Rakuten).

In a move that smacks of pre-sale window-dressing, Barnes & Noble’s self-publishing platform Nook Press (part of Nook Media) has moved into POD and author services. The reaction among self-publishers has been one of bewilderment for two main reasons.

First, the prices are very high indeed. Two main packages are available to authors, costing $999 and $1,999 respectively. Neither of these include proper editing, merely an editorial assessment which will then recommend whether you need line editing, developmental editing etc.

Line editing of a 80,000 word novel will cost you $2,960 and developmental editing of a book of the same length will set you back $6,480. Needless to say, this is significantly more expensive than engaging a qualified, experienced freelance editor – several multiples, in fact.

Second, the POD service that Nook Press is offering won’t get you into B&N stores – which is to be expected – but won’t even get you onto B&N’s website, unlike Amazon’s (free) CreateSpace platform. From the FAQ:

B&N

Weirdly, this POD service is only for personal author copies. And the prices are crappy too – a quick check of various sized books showed prices almost double what CreateSpace charges for author copies ($6 – $9 per copy versus around $3 – $5).

It appears this service is purely aimed at the hobbyist, rather than authors who actually want to make money from selling books, and those author services have a real whiff of vanity about them.

Nate Hoffelder at The Digital Reader has noted that the packages look very similar to some of those offered by Author Solutions. And a commenter there has also pointed out that these packages are similar to those provided by Lulu – who began partnering with Author Solutions in March 2013.

Barnes & Noble has yet to respond to his request for more information on same. I’m doing some digging myself, and I’ll let you know if I turn up anything.

At the moment, these new services are only available to those in (continental) US, but I’m not sure why anyone would want to use them. Potentially dodgy connections aside, the prices are terrible, you won’t get into online bookstores (let alone bricks-and-mortar ones), and the quality of the books themselves, as well as those incredibly expensive editing services, is a real unknown.

* * *

Speaking of the whiff of vanity, the chair of Penguin Random House UK – Baroness Gail Rebuck – gave her maiden speech in the House of Lords last week.

Baroness Rebuck spoke eloquently about literacy and social exclusion, and her work on behalf of the most vulnerable in society – which all sounds lovely until you remember that Penguin Random House owns the largest vanity press in the world, one which explicitly targets the most vulnerable authors. From her speech:

Through my years as a publisher, I have always believed that businesses should consider their wider purpose and social impact.

Consider it, and then ignore it, presumably.

About David Gaughran

David Gaughran is Irish, living in Prague, and the author of Mercenary, A Storm Hits Valparaiso, Let's Get Digital, Let's Get Visible, and this here blog.
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35 Responses to Amazon Opens Dutch Kindle Store, B&N Moves Into Author Services

  1. C J Alan says:

    Very informative. Thanks!

    Like

  2. Nate says:

    “Next stop: Scandinavia and Russia.”

    Speaking of Russia, the new Kindle hardware offers an option for Russian language menus. This hasn’t been announced but I caught it when my review unit arrived:
    http://the-digital-reader.com/2014/10/09/amazon-quietly-ships-new-kindle-support-russian-signalling-plans-local-kindle-store/

    Curiously, Amazon does not support the sale of Russian language ebooks – yet.

    Like

  3. KATHY JONES says:

    The second part of this post, about Barnes and Noble’s move into author services is a quick must-read, not least because we should compare prices.

    Kathy

    ________________________________

    Like

  4. KATHY JONES says:

    Apologies that I replied to this post when I meant to send it to a friend who is considering his publishing options.

    Please ignore and sorry!

    Kathy

    ________________________________

    Like

  5. I’ll just stick with CS thank you very much. They have an awesome team and now I can coordinate my print with my e-book preorders. So why on earth would I want to switch? Yes, they do have hardcovers and dust jackets, but my genre doesn’t really support that. And frankly I sell physical books mostly at reader events and signings. The vast majority of my sales are e-book and audiobook.

    Like

  6. That Nook Press self-publishing service seems astonishingly high. I can’t imagine anyone using it, but I presume they have some research on the matter. I’ve investigated having my next novel edited, and they are talking around $1,000/ I’ve had a Chapter edited for sampling purposes, and the work seems thorough and well though through. For the prices Nook Press want to charge, I would think they would at least chuck in a couple of bottles of fizz to help you get over the bill !

    Like

  7. Lola says:

    Yay for Amazon finally opening a dutch store, should be interestig gto see how this changes the e-book market in the Netherlands. I noticed the change this morning when going to leave a review on Amazon and it kept asking me to switch to the dutch amazon. Let’s hope they finally decide to accept Ideal as a payment option, then I might actually consider buying from amazon, until then I’ll stay with Kobo.

    Like

  8. Thanks, David. I got the email this morning, and after checking through the contact/information site, I saw no mention of any distribution services coming with any package. No distribution means a garage full of expensive inventory and a depleted bank account. Not for me.

    Like

  9. Thanks for this piece DG. It seems that the continual fleecing of authors goes on unabated. It is sometimes hard to tell the difference between providers offering valuable services and those who would sell their own grandmothers – or at the very least, charge her for printing her memoir.

    Like

  10. Rebecca says:

    “It appears this service is purely aimed at the hobbyist”
    Very RICH hobbyists, I think.

    Like

  11. Pingback: Amazon Opens Dutch Kindle Store, B&N Moves ...

  12. AGClaymore says:

    I bet some minion at B&N came up with this idea but, after the idea got stolen by successively higher bosses, it morphed into this silliness. The guy at the bottom probably had a version that indies might actually want but, by the time it reached the top it was the bloated abomination we see this morning.
    I once ruminated about the idea of putting RFID labels on pallets leaving our distribution centres. It had the potential of eliminating false claims from the stores. The plan would more than pay for itself because it eliminated the labor needed to manually scan the pallets. A director in our group claimed they were already working on it, but he seemed caught off guard by the suggestion.
    A couple of months later, he got pinned with the flak when someone pointed out that putting RFID chips on EVERY SINGLE item sold would raise privacy issues with customers.
    Moral – Big companies are ideally suited to the task of turning simple ideas into bloated chimeras that accomplish nothing.

    The phrase that minion at B&N is looking for rhymes with ‘clucking bell’…

    Like

  13. Very disappointing that Barnes and Nobel would put their efforts into this scammy print books option instead of focusing of the very real issues of Nook Press, starting with the lack of indie author support.

    On the other hand, Amazon in more foreign countries will be very interesting.

    Like

  14. blair says:

    Ye farking gads, $399 to be told which editing package you should purchase. And the clear statement you’ll pay thousands for something the company you paid will then refuse to sell.

    It sounds more like snarky satire than an actual business.

    Like

  15. Pingback: Barnes and Nobles Wants To Be Author Solutions When It Grows Up | Blair MacGregor

  16. I understand why B & N formed the service, but question the pricing. It’s not viable for writers. I hope Author Solutions hasn’t infiltrated B & N. Lulu already uses AS marketing services. That’s why I tell writers to avoid Lulu.

    Like

  17. Scott Gordon says:

    Excellent! I was wondering if anyone was going to mention Amazon’s rollout to the Netherlands.

    Like

  18. mattinparis says:

    Reblogged this on The Art of Life Balance and commented:
    If you wanna publish, read this.

    Like

  19. Jim Self says:

    David, you gotta know it’s another AS vanity tentacle. B&N whips up a POD service out of nowhere. Who else could it be?

    I agree with you completely that it’s window dressing. Surely no one is going to USE those services.

    Like

    • “I agree with you completely that it’s window dressing. Surely no one is going to USE those services.”

      Sadly, I must disagree. The whole history of vanity press is that Barnum was right. There’s a sucker born every minute. There will be no lack of such to sign up for B&N’s new VP service.

      It’s also, IMHO, a sign of B&N’s desperation to open new avenues of income, or “enhancing” their Nook operations (for possible sale to some other sucker).

      Like

  20. sjarnott says:

    B&N would be better served by putting money into improving their pitifully poor search engine. Help us find the book we want to buy, not the book you want to sell.

    Good news about the Dutch Amazon store. I suspect that many agents and publishers take on books with an eye on the English-speaking market, so the onset of a ‘Nederlands’ indie market could see a flowering of local literature.

    Like

  21. Just another nail in Barnes and Noble’s coffin, IMHO. I don’t care what they do since I’m exclusive with Amazon (at least for now) and doing quite well. What are they thinking?

    Like

  22. Pingback: Buyer Beware: Can You Trust Your Self-Publishing Company? « Beth Jusino Beth Jusino

  23. Pingback: Writer Wednesday | creative barbwire (or the many lives of a creator)

  24. Reblogged this on In Search of Auria and commented:
    This is a good post to read for all of you authors and book junkies out there.

    Like

  25. Pingback: Barnes & Noble’s Dirty Little Secret: Author Solutions and Nook Press | David Gaughran

  26. Pingback: asmsg.com – Barnes & Noble’s Dirty Little Secret: Author Solutions and Nook Press

  27. Pingback: B&N’s Nook Press in Bed with the Author Solutions Devil?

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