A Philosopher's Blog

Nooking Kindling

Posted in Technology by Michael LaBossiere on April 9, 2011
Logo for the Barnes & Noble Nook

Image via Wikipedia

A little while ago I wrote a post about how to create and sell Kindle books through Amazon. While Amazon seems to be the biggest seller of eBooks, Barnes & Nobles is also a major seller of eBooks. Whereas Amazon has the Kindle, Barnes & Nobles has the Nook, which is essentially a crippled Android tablet (which can be freed by rooting it) that serves as a remarkable reader. Like the Kindle, there is also Nook reader software available on various platforms.

After getting my latest book up on Amazon, I decided to look into making my books available via the Nook. The process is very similar to that of selling via Amazon: you set up an account with PubIt, create and upload books and then wait for your cut of the sales.  The hardest part is, of course, writing a book. The second is getting your book in the proper format for uploading. You are on your own with writing the book, but the following will help guide you through getting it ready for the Nook.

First, you will set up an account with Barnes & Noble. Go to the PubIt page and enter your information. The site also has some useful information about creating and formatting your eBooks.

Second, you will need to format your book. As far as the formatting of the book goes, PubIt provides the core information you will need. The basic idea is keep it simple since ePub is rather limited in regards to its layout capabilities.

Third, you will need to get the book into the proper file format. While Amazon uses the Kindle format, B&N uses the ePub format used by almost everyone else who sells eBooks. PubIt allows you to upload files in various formats and will create your ePub book from a non ePub file. However, I would suggest creating an ePub file rather than uploading a file for conversion. After all, you will probably want to see how your book will look before it goes on sale (be prepared-eBooks seem to be a flashback to the awesome formatting of 1990s web pages). However, if you just want to type out a book in Word and upload it, you can.

In terms of creating an ePub file, you can find all the official information for the standard at the  International Digital Publishing Forum. As far as creating the file, you will need software that can create it directly (like Adobe InDesign) or software to convert it.

You will also want to create a cover for your book and a matching file for the web site. Amazon requires a file that has minimum dimensions of 500X500 while B&N insists on a minimum of 750X750. As such, you should create a file that is at least 750X750 if you intend to sell on Amazon and B&N. The book cover itself will generally need to be larger. I usually create the cover in a vector program (be sure to use RGB) and then use a “paint” program to create the smaller version for the web. Since the cover and product images are just JPEGs, you can actually use just about any graphics software to create them. Be sure to use relatively large lettering-the product images will be displayed as thumbnails (115X155 on Amazon) and you will want the cover to be recognizable even in that form.

Since I create my books primarily for Amazon’s Kindle (as you also should-they provide a huge market) I use the following method of creating the ePub file for B&N:

  • Write the book in Word, create a table of contents, save it as HTML.
  • Convert the book to the Kindle compatible format using MobiPocket Creator.
  • Convert a copy of the book to ePub using the free software Caliber.
  • Preview the book using the free Adobe Digital Editions.
Once the book is complete, I then take the following steps:
  • Upload the book to PubIt.
  • Wait for fame and fortune.
At this time, I just have three books on the B&B store: 42 Fallacies McDonald’s is for Breakups, and Of Tendon & Trail.
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