Dear Barnes and Noble,
When you announced plans for Pubit!, indie authors everywhere rejoiced. You were going to be another venue, a direct competitor to Amazon, and a means for those of us who chose Nook over Kindle to get ebooks that aren’t victims of price inflation by New York. It took you a while to get on your feet, but you opened your doors about a year go. I signed up immediately.
There were expected hiccups. Incorrect product descriptions. Some funky inability so find stuff initially. But you listened and tried to adapt. Kudos. The adaptation came with more hiccups. Suddenly keywords we entered to find our books no longer worked. We emailed you. We talked about it on the Pubit Help Boards. We were told “We’re working on it. Be patient.” Estimations that it would be fixed were pushed back to December. Then January. Then you stopped responding to us at all.
You rolled out more changes to the site. Smoother interface (thumbs up). A customers who bought also bought feature (thumbs up). Better linkage of paperback and e versions (thumbs up). You made a lot of good decisions.
But you’ve made an equal number of bad ones.
- Keyword searches for pubit books still do not work, after a YEAR. (at least for every single Pubit author I know–and I know many) This is unpardonable, as it is vital that authors are FINDABLE via searches for readers who may not be aware of them. That is, after all, the entire POINT of having us enter keywords.
- Category searches do not bring up all books in that category. This does not seem to be a bias against Pubit books or books in the BN catalog via Smashwords, as I see enough lousy covers to indicate self pubbed work (which is no to say all self pubbed work has lousy covers, but usually that’s a hallmark) in there, so what precisely is your criteria? And how is anyone expected to find new authors if you don’t show them everyone?
- You’ve removed the Free Nookbooks listing. Yes, we can do a search by price, but this STILL does not display all available books, even when winnowing down to specific categories. I looked for my free title. It’s not there. I looked for my friends’ free titles. They aren’t there either. It’s not like you actually have a ranking attached to these on some kind of Best Seller List (like the Kindle Top 100 Free where you only see the TOP 100), so again, what is your criteria?
- We’re coming up on yet ANOTHER holiday season and you STILL haven’t implemented a way to gift people Nookbooks. Get with the program!
I hope you’re listening Barnes and Noble because if you want to be a true competitor in the ebook market, it isn’t JUST about creating an ereader that can go neck and neck with the Kindle (and I am a very happy Nook owner). You have to create a competitive marketplace, where authors stand just as much of a chance at being found and being made visible as they do at Amazon. You benefit from that as much as we authors do. The more we sell, the more you make. And that is a win win situation for both of us.
Fix your search engines.
Show category rankings on individual book pages.
In essence, look at what Amazon is doing and emulate it because they did it right the first time.