Barnes & Noble has recently made it possible for self-publishers to upload and sell ebooks for Nooks and the Nook app on the iPad and iPhone—through their Pubit! system. I was particularly interested in this development, because Barnes & Noble supports EPUB format—the open source, non-proprietary format for ebooks.
To sign up for Pubit!, you have to have a US Tax id (a social security number or Employer ID number), a credit-card from a US bank, and a US bank account to which your earnings will be sent. These are almost, but not quite, insurmountable obstacles for non-US residents.
There was one thing in the Terms & Conditions that caught my eye. First, while you set the List Price for your books (upon which your royalties are based), you agree to give Barnes & Noble “sole and complete discretion” over the price they charge your customers. I can’t quite explain why that rankles, though I know I hate giving anyone “sole and complete discretion” over anything of mine!
Next, they’ll pay you 65% of the List Price if that price is between $2.99 and $9.99, but only 40% if the List Price is less than $2.98 or more than $10. It seems that, like Amazon, which has a similar tiered system (70% for the midrange and 35% for very cheap or very expensive), they want to pressure you into keeping the price within a certain range: not so cheap that it’s not worth their while, not so expensive that they end up storing your files for an eternity with no sales in sight.
The excellent news is that you can upload EPUB files directly, which means you have complete control over the layout (and can take advantage of the tips in my EPUB book). However, if you don't have an EPUB file, you can also upload Microsoft Word docs (DOC and DOCX), HTML, RTF, and plain-text documents, all of which will be automatically converted to EPUB.
You can decide whether or not to apply DRM, though once you upload a book, you can't change your mind about DRM. What I'd like to know is whether non-DRM books uploaded through Pubit and bought through Barnes & Noble can really be read on any EPUB compatible ereader (like say iBooks on the iPad). I'll work on testing that and report back.
Book files can't be larger than 20Mb.
It’s nice that you don't need an ISBN, the international book number that booksellers use to keep track of a book within their channels. B&N will assign an “internal” 13-digit number (presumably not an ISBN) to your book.
Curiously, Barnes & Noble says you can only upload books in one of the following languages: English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Latin, and Dutch. This seems a rather arbitrary limitation. Why not Catalan, or any of the Scandinavian languages, which can all be properly represented with the character set that the Nook already supports?