Wednesday, January 19, 2011


There are so many reasons why I find ebooks problematic. Barnes & Noble has what’s called Pubit. It’s a self publishing platform. Anybody can upload what they've written and illustrated. B&N takes 65% of titles listed under 9.99 and 40% of those listed over. The cool thing for most people doing this is that THEIR BOOK gets to be placed on the BN website along with standard edited, designed, copyedited PUBLISHED BOOKS! How great is that? For THEM.

Here’s where I think things get VERY problematic. When you browse for a children’s ebook Goodnight Moon and this book may be side by side!

The below book is Number 23 in children's ebooks.

Somehow when I look at it I can't hate it. The character is kind of cute. has no design to speak of. It's not done be a professional illustrator, designer, etc. And who knows what the text of these books reads like! One can only imagine. The Number 2 rated children's book is written and illustrated by the same folks. I went through the list on the BN ebook site up to 200 and saw very few books published by traditional publishers. Publishers need to wake up and see what’s going on! The price point for many of these ebooks is so low--only 99 cents. If THEY are what people are buying and being disappointed by (I've read some of the comments) then where will traditional books be in a few years? Can the buying public differentiate between a published book and a self published book? Will they go for the cheaper buy and then be disappointed? Will they then not want to buy picture books? I feel the same way about celebrity books but that's a discussion for another day.

Below are some other interesting covers that I found.

The above cover is accompanied this description:
"Recommend Highly-- another great children's story by this new author!
Read all her books and this moo ving story is one not to miss! Every wish upon a star and graze into the night. Read a good children's story like this and follow your dreams!" At first when I saw the cow cover I thought--aw, how cute, a kid is doing some books! But I guess not.


  1. Oh wow. When I began book reviewing, I made the mistake of saying I would review self-published titles, and was sent some books that were truly awful. I've also had well-meaning relatives give my sons books that were on sale at the grocery store that, shall we say, drove me absolutely crazy.
    Now e-books can combine those two scenarios: self-published books -- on sale! Yikes!

  2. Hi Meghan- I stumbled upon your blog.I am a "professional" author-illustrator ( thought I throw in my 2 cnets... I am not one bit worried about self published authors having their books side-by- side with "traditional" published books for these reasons:
    1. Readers and buyers are smart. They can determine what they like or not like without publishers or ebook stores deciding for them.
    2. I am entering the ebook business two ways- as a published author (through my publishers where my royalty is chopped) and also as a self-published author. I am bringing my out of print books back to life in ebook & App formats. I WANT B&N and Amazon, and ibookstore to put my self-published ebooks among all books. Yes- I will be able to sell my book for 2.99-4.99 VS 9.99-12.99 because I will retain a good portion of the price.
    Please check our a new blog: - we are a bunch of professional author-illustrators and YA authors who what to get our own original works or OP books in ebook format. WE want to be side by side with our traditional books...and let the readers decide.
    I like your blog.

  3. Marryann: you may be surprised to know that shoppers are not as smart as you may think! I've worked in a bookstore for 9 years. Most shoppers have NO idea what they want. They come in either with a NYT bestseller list and want what's on it, they want the latest celebrity book, or they want the bookseller to grab them something. I wish they did know more about books but they really don't. This is why the bestsellers ARE the celebrity books, the books that get on TV shows, and the like. People don't know what to buy when it comes to kids' books! This is one reason why a lot of really good children's books go out of print so quickly.

    I do think it's a good idea to put your OP books back in print. I have a few myself that I could "reprint." (right now I've got them up for free on my website). I that light--what do you think of the split? BN taking 65%?

  4. Hi Meghan- I could be wrong- But I think B&N takes 65% when you use PUBIT. Their regular cut (as is Apple) is 30%. I do not yet have books on the NOOK. I have one ebook in the ibookstore through my publisher and several Apps (which I developed myself). All Apple products take 30% off the top.
    If you submit your book directly to B&N , already formatted to their specs- it's 30%.
    It is a tough one...because I'd hate to see only traditional publishers getting priority in selling their ebooks. As someone wanting to publish my own ebooks- I want an even playing field.
    I do think this is a great debate. May I pose this question on the blog- Can I use a quote from you??
    my email is Thanks

  5. I should have said BN's PubIt's split of 65/35.

    The other problem with regular ebooks is that the payment is all over the place. One of my publishers offered me 25% and the other offered me 5! I didn't sign the second and it's still sitting on my desk. Now that I have a new agent perhaps I'll have him contact them or advise me. It's very unfair to try and take advantage of authors.

  6. Meghan, I'm really enjoying your new blog, especially the conversation on e-books! I think it is generally half-fun (new formats!) and half-scary (those self-published art/design examples are a hot mess... yikes).

    I've been thinking about the design of e-readers/e-books myself lately and made sure to link this post to my own blog post about it. Hope you get a chance to check it out!


  7. Children enjoy doing everything with the help of eBooks. They are good and the children should be encouraged. I took my daughter last week to, they make children enjoy doing yoga with the help of eBooks and DVDs etc.