An author who is using PubIt** has reported that books with erotic romance in them are being stripped of their samples. Sampling is an important selling tool. Another author reported that her sales have dropped nearly 10 fold without the sample. On the PubIt! site, here is what it says about Samples:
Barnes & Noble customers have the option to try before they buy. For all PubIt! eBooks, interested customers will be able to download up to 5% of the eBook to their NOOK or to their computing or mobile device enabled with free NOOK eReading software. From the sample, it is easy for customers to buy the full eBook and download it in seconds.
And it’s not that the Terms of Agreement don’t allow BN to remove samples:
F. Marketing. We will have sole discretion in determining all marketing and promotions related to the sale of your eBooks through the Service. Barnes & Noble shall make each eBook available for online sale and downloads in one or more formats. Prior to general commercial distribution, Barnes & Noble may distribute or cause to be distributed free of charge to some employees of Barnes & Noble copies of each eBook in any format for purposes of testing the electronic distribution of such eBooks in such format. Barnes & Noble reserves the right to distribute and display via download all front matter of an eBook and up to five percent (5%) of an eBook’s content (nonexclusive of an eBook’s front matter) free as a sampler. Barnes & Noble will not owe you any fees for any marketing efforts.
YOU ACKNOWLEDGE THAT BARNES & NOBLE HAS NO OBLIGATION TO MARKET, DISTRIBUTE, OR OFFER FOR SALE ANY EBOOK OR PART THEREOF, OR TO CONTINUING MARKETING, DISTRIBUTING OR SELLING AN EBOOK AFTER WE HAVE COMMENCED DOING SO.
Of the erotic romance titles released through PubIt, none have samples available whereas books distributed through a third party (such as a publisher or smashwords, does have samples.
Carnal Secrets is not an erotic romance but rather a contemporary as opposed to Destiny Entwined that is an erotic romance.
Authors have reported that phone calls and emails to customer service have gone unanswered. As one author noted to me:
Lots of questions: Is it just a glitch (they’ve had other problems and growing pains during the past couple of months with various things that have eventually been fixed) or is this something they’ve done to specifically target erotica? (And if so, why only the PubIt folks?) What’s really behind this? Did they get complaints from users about the erotic content on the Nook and this was their knee jerk reaction? Is this their way of trying to say that they’re protecting minors? And if so, again, why only PubIt books?
There are also some reports that high selling erotic romance PubIt! novels are not appearing on the bestseller list (much like what happens in the iBookstore). I’ve contacted BN as well. Any self pubbed authors want to speak to this?
** We are actually giving away a NookColor in conjunction with talking about Vintage Romances at PubIt! this Sunday and despite this turn of events, we still plan to go ahead with the post.