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This article in Forbes: http://www.forbes.com/sites/jeremygreenfield/2013/02/06/barnes-nobles-big-problem-and-what-to-do-about-it/?et_mid=602015&rid=234706508 suggests that B & N should emulate Amazon in several of its business practices, including offering perks to self-published authors to make books exclusive to the Nook.

What would it take to get you to commit a book (for, say, the same 90 days) exclusively to B & N?

My instinct is that free days aren't enough, but what would be? Promotions via some special lists? Email promotions to buyers who have purchased similar books?
 

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I can't think of any one thing that would make me say "Okay" to exclusive. I'd look at the full combination—and one factor that would contribute to my willingness to accept it would be that I could take two stories and have each one exclusive at a different location for the 90 days. (That's something I want to do, sometime—have a temporarily exclusive story at each of the major vendors. We'll see if I get there.)
 

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They would really have to push it. My B&N sales are so low, I wouldn't risk it without a major push on B&N's part. Just being able to give books away wouldn't do it.

On the other hand, Amazon sales seem to be striving for the bottom lately, so as I have less and less to lose on the Amazon side, it would be easier and easier for B&N to woo me away for three months.

 

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It would be pure silly for a retailer with a smaller market share to offer exclusivity. They need to think beyond exclusivity. They need to think about ways to bring readers to the authors. Perks to keep them from going exclusive at Amazon. They need to innovate. If you're copying Amazon today then in a year you will be Amazon 2013 and the real deal will be Amazon 2014. That sort of practice never works.
 

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If I was B and N I'd take advantage of the only thing that Amazon doesn't have.

Real people in shops.

If they offered you guaranteed shelf space - if - for example you sold X amount of eBooks, would that turn your head?

Even more, how about if they offered you a book signing in your local B and N? or a reading/discussion evening? Amazon can do a lot of stuff, but...
 

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I'd have to be crazy to consider an exclusive with B&N. I can't think of anything they could offer me that would make me do that.
 

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Shawn Inmon said:
What would it take to get you to commit a book (for, say, the same 90 days) exclusively to B & N?

My instinct is that free days aren't enough, but what would be? Promotions via some special lists? Email promotions to buyers who have purchased similar books?
Promotions would certainly help, but I couldn't commit to such a lengthy exclusivity without them improving their web site, particularly search features and expanding the Also-Boughts to improve the browsing experience. My sister-in-law bought her husband a Nook for Christmas and the first thing they discovered was how hard it was to find books without knowing the exact title.
 

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David Alastair Hayden said:
It would be pure silly for a retailer with a smaller market share to offer exclusivity. They need to think beyond exclusivity. They need to think about ways to bring readers to the authors. Perks to keep them from going exclusive at Amazon. They need to innovate. If you're copying Amazon today then in a year you will be Amazon 2013 and the real deal will be Amazon 2014. That sort of practice never works.
Bingo. The problem with copying is you're following blindly. Copying a successful strategy can be beneficial in some ways but fail utterly in others. Exclusivity will never work in B&N's favor because market share is not one of their advantages. The only successful strategy is to learn how your competitors are playing to their strengths, see which portions of their strategy you can use or improve based on your own situation, and identify the areas where you have an advantage and play those up.

B&N is not doing this. Their physical stores are an asset they're underusing, and the parts where they should be directly emulating Amazon (by having a good, responsive website and a fairly stable publishing platform) they're not.

Shawn Inmon said:
What would it take to get you to commit a book (for, say, the same 90 days) exclusively to B & N?
Nothing would ever do that. Even if they had a greater market share than Amazon, they've proven their online arm is a joke. I heard so many terrible stories about PubIt! having problem after problem that I never did get around to publishing there. Instead they drove me into KDP Select. It'd take demonstrable competence in the field at this point for me to publish with B&N at all, but I'd never go exclusive because taking your book off Amazon is suicide.

The idea of getting indies to go exclusive with B&N is a complete joke; the article is mostly right about everything else. There may be big publishers or authors who would be willing to go exclusive with B&N if they're given enough scratch to make up the difference in sales they'd get from also being on Amazon, but that shouldn't be the main focus. The main thing has to be improving the retail experience so Nook owners can easily find content they want, but that goes hand in hand with getting their ducks in a row and fixing PubIt! so it actually works. If B&N could get their self-publishing arm working properly, and then focus on finding clever ways to market those titles and improve visibility for all authors using it, that would be a huge surge of income from the long tail.
 

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But how could it ever be like Amazon? For readers, B&N's customer service is nonexistent and it lags behind Amazon with a terrible search function. I never hear from B&N about recently released titles based on what I bought before, whereas Amazon's constantly courting my wallet. An an author, forget it. Since July when they severed the link between my Nook and paperbacks, making it look like one version had no reviews, my sales there tanked. For B&N to change, they'd have to start listening to customers and authors. Can't see that happening soon.
 

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I'd certainly consider exclusivity for a package of email promotions. My concern would be for my own welfare rather than what makes sense or will be successful for B&N. As always, details matter.
 

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It's one thing to agree to exclusivity with Amazon, when you're already selling 90% of your books there. But to agree to cut off your 90% and list exclusively with the 10% doesnt sound very appealing.
 

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Maybe not exclusivity, but what about if they leveraged physical presence into keeping a much bigger slice of the pie?
 

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Guaranteed visibility.

If they can guarantee that my title is in front of x-number of eyeballs per day I would.
If people don't buy my book after seeing the cover, title, blurb then that's my fault. But being seen is what is tough across all platforms.

I doubt this is possible, so I'll keep my eggs in the Zon bucket.
 

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Shawn Inmon said:
This article in Forbes: http://www.forbes.com/sites/jeremygreenfield/2013/02/06/barnes-nobles-big-problem-and-what-to-do-about-it/?et_mid=602015&rid=234706508
My instinct is that free days aren't enough, but what would be? Promotions via some special lists? Email promotions to buyers who have purchased similar books?
Well the free days for B&N don't make as much sense as for Amazon. Amazon is using the select to feed their Prime needs. So any losses they can make up in another aspect of their revenue stream. B&N would also have to find a new revenue stream to make up for it, or else they'd be assuming the bandwidth and transmission costs for books that don't make up for it in normal sales. And they probably wouldn't want to set it so that an author/publisher already had a proven track level or in general make any sort of threshold to join an exclusive program.
 

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"Maybe not exclusivity, but what about if they leveraged physical presence into keeping a much bigger slice of the pie?"
Well said. Do I detect a consultant in the house?
 

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jdfield said:
If I was B and N I'd take advantage of the only thing that Amazon doesn't have.

Real people in shops.

If they offered you guaranteed shelf space - if - for example you sold X amount of eBooks, would that turn your head?

Even more, how about if they offered you a book signing in your local B and N? or a reading/discussion evening? Amazon can do a lot of stuff, but...
That would be very interesting, and tempting. The X would have to be pretty high though for it to be worth it for B&N. Shelf space is extremely expensive.
 

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B&N can't get exclusivity from indie authors. Amazon is just too far ahead. There's nothing for B&N to do.

What B&N should do, however, is create a program for indie authors to bring people into the store. Make it easy and inviting for us to organize book signings, release parties, readings, and other events there. There's no reason not to have a constant flow of events from open to close in every Barnes & Noble. Create a section of every store for events and gatherings and invite indie authors, book bloogers, writing groups, and other bookish people to book it solid, and take a percentage of sales from the events in exchange. Turn the physical stores into a reality-based version of what we're all doing online. If it was easy for me to book an event at B&N, and I knew I was welcome there, I would do a couple of them a year, and every time I bet I'd turn up twenty or more people who wouldn't have otherwise gone to the store.
 

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Lisa J. Yarde said:
But how could it ever be like Amazon? For readers, B&N's customer service is nonexistent and it lags behind Amazon with a terrible search function. I never hear from B&N about recently released titles based on what I bought before, whereas Amazon's constantly courting my wallet. An an author, forget it. Since July when they severed the link between my Nook and paperbacks, making it look like one version had no reviews, my sales there tanked. For B&N to change, they'd have to start listening to customers and authors. Can't see that happening soon.
B&N should have learned from Amazon a long time ago. I considered the Nook, but a friend of mine had a nightmare of a time with their customer service. B&N would do well to overhaul their customer service. Improving their web page would also be a good idea. Complaining about Amazon doesn't address the problem, it is rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.
 

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Shawn Inmon said:
What would it take to get you to commit a book (for, say, the same 90 days) exclusively to B & N?
Two years ago maybe, but not now. Amazon ruined the 90 day exclusivity with it's bait and switch style algorithm changes. Barnes and Noble is just too late to the game with e-reader functionality and unfortunately is dominated by a genera that I do not write in.

However for me to yank everything and go exclusively with B&N for ebooks only? They would have to provide me with cash upfront that is not an advance that has to be paid back by royalties. In essence they would have to buy my exclusivity. And they would have to provide some sort of promotional tools that they themselves actively promote like front page listings showcasing books that are exclusive to B&N so the only books your competing with are others in the same program. 5 days on a list that's swamped with perma free and public domain books isn't a promotion tool.
 
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