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Barnes & Noble launches new publishing platform

The bookseller's new Nook Press self-publishing platform allows for in-tool editing, which B&N presumably hopes will make it easier to use than rival Amazon's tools.

James Martin/CNET

Barnes & Noble is replacing its self-publishing platform, PubIt, with a new system presumably designed to make publishing with the bookseller easier than doing so with rival Amazon.

Nook Press lets authors compose the book within the platform, instead of requiring them to upload a file and convert it to the system's formatting. An author need only upload the content once and then write and edit within Nook Press, and preview the work, before it turns into an ePub file.

Theresa Horner, Barnes & Noble's VP of Digital Content for Nook Media, said this allows authors to avoid having to upload different versions of an ePub during the editing process. She called it a "more succinct and simple-to-use process" but wouldn't say specifically if this will give the struggling bookseller an edge over Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing system.

"Our goal is to make the process of providing content to the Nook ecosystem streamlined and desirable, rather than couch it against competitiveness with any other self-publishing platform that may be out there," Horner said. "But if it happens to be easier to use, well then that's great."

Amazon is one of the behemoths of the self-publishing e-book industry. Neither company will reveal how many titles total are published under their separate platforms, but Barnes & Noble said the number of self-published Nook titles grows by 24 percent each quarter. These titles account for 25 percent of Barnes & Noble's book sales.

Other Nook Press features include a collaboration method that lets authors invite others to read and comment on the content before publishing, live-chat customer service, and a new sales report format. The pricing model will remain the same.

Horner said Nook Press will eventually replace PubIt completely.

"There will be a sunsetting of PubIt once we feel that the bulk of our authors and publishers have transferred themselves over to the new platform," she said. "That time frame hasn't been completely determined because we're interested in making the communities comfortable."