B&N Indie Publisher Analysis: Why You Should Publish on Barnes & Noble


Everyone knows that Amazon is currently the king when it comes to digital books and indie publishers and authors, but Barnes and Noble isn’t as far behind as you might think. Sure, their Nook device isn’t nearly as trendy, powerful or unique as the Kindle, but you can still buy books from their online selection with other devices, like your iPhone. While it’s an obvious choice to put your books on Amazon, you should also consider adding them to the B&N online network to get some extra cash. This is an analysis of B&N’s indie publishing record.


Online Bestseller List

Not only is it an honor to reach the bestseller list, but it’s a great tool for any author. Bad as it is, people have a short attention span and they don’t want to dig for a good book. While some readers might be willing to comb through all the pages and genres, the vast majority of readers are just going to check the bestseller list. This helps them find the best book, and it ensures that they’ll get a good experience from it.

So, how many indie books reach B&N’s bestseller list? Much more than you would think. About 53% of the bestsellers are from indie sources. Compare that to the 26% from the big five publishers, and the 21% from small and medium publishers. People like indie books.


Unit Sales from Bestseller List

Getting on the bestseller list is a definite benefit, but how many of these books sell? People tend to trust major publishing houses more when it comes to delivering quality, so it should be no surprise that about 50% of daily sales from the bestseller list come from the big five publishers. However, indie books pull a close second by making up about 30% of daily sales through the bestseller list.

Let’s break this down even further by looking at the big five publishers individually. Simon and Schuster sell about 4% of these books, and Macmillan comes up next with 5% of unit sales. Both Harper Collins and Hachette make up 9% of the unit sales (for a total of 18%), and Pengiun Random House takes up the remaining 24% of sales.

In other words, indie authors sell as many books as Pengiun Random House and Macmillan COMBINED! That’s a major figure to think about. The B&N network caters to indie authors more than you might think, and this figure definitely displays that.

Of the top 5,000 books on the bestseller list, there are about about 22,500 units are purchased from indie sources on a daily basis. Penguin only sells about 17,500 units on a daily basis. The odds are really in your corner as a self-publisher.



If you look at gross sales and revenue per publisher, than the big five easily makes the most by raking in about 70% of the money. There are two reasons behind this. First of all, they sell a lot of units every day. The second reason is that they tend to sell their books at a slightly higher price than indie authors, which allows the publishing house to make more money. However, this figure isn’t really important, because it only tells us how much the publisher makes. How much does the author make from B&N?

About 52% of the daily revenue goes to authors who belong to the big five, which isn’t bad. However, about 39% of the daily revenue goes towards indie authors. Considering that you are getting the majority of the money because you don’t have to go through a publishing house and their revenue guidelines, this means that you can make more money. The big five get more revenue, but the indie authors potentially get more profit (if you sell at the right price).



Many people think that the indie book phenomenon belongs to Amazon because their Kindle store is much more popular and welcoming to indie authors, but the truth is that the facts and figures from B&N are nearly the same as with Kindle. It might be harder to find indie authors, but readers are still flocking to them. You definitely can’t count the big five out yet, but the fact is that publishing your indie book on B&N might be a great way to generate more income. The readers are very welcoming to these books, and they are definitely buying them up.

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