I just finished a live chat session with Nook Press support, asking them the following question:
Does Nook Press/B&N allow self-published books to be given away for free for a short period of time or for a select number of days for promotional purposes?
Yes, you can definitely set your book for free before you publish it. However, once you set a price, you have to take it off sale first. If you do that, all the ratings, comments, rankings and reviews for your book will be removed as well.
SERIOUSLY????? Why even allow us to set our book for free before we publish it (whatever the heck THAT means) and then take all the rankings, comments and ratings away???
Amazon has their KDP Select program where they force authors to publish their books EXCLUSIVELY through Amazon for 90 days in order to get 5 free days to promote their books. Many authors complain about the exclusivity.
Wouldn't it behoove B&N/Nook Press to allows authors X-number of free days during the first 90 days of publication WITHOUT exclusivity? I'm certain that if they do this, they will win a SLEW of authors over to preferring to publish through B&N versus going to Amazon. In my opinion, it would put them in the running with Amazon as the preferred publishing platform. Self-publishing is generating a ton of sales, so B&N is missing out on all this. Personally, I think if they did this sooner, they wouldn't be filing for bankruptcy and closing down stores.
It doesn't cost B&N anything to let us promote our books for a certain number of free days. OR they could offer 10 days free during a 180-day period if the author EXCLUSIVELY publishes through B&N. Or however many of days with a bigger incentive to go exclusive.
I know Amazon.com patents all their processes, so there may be some things that will tie B&N's hands, but surely there is some way to work around this and give authors an incentive to publish through B&N versus Amazon, which is turning into the 800 lb. Gorilla of the publishing industry...and they're starting to get obnoxious.
Another alternative would be to create coupons, like Smashwords does. We can promote our books on sale or for free - our choice - and unless someone has that coupon, the book is still offered at the listed price. Surely that would be to B&N's advantage versus a site-wide sale and still gives authors the freedom to promote their books.
Instead of fighting against and complaining about what Amazon is doing, B&N should use what Amazon is demonstrating already works. B&N obviously can play nice with Amazon since my CreateSpace book, available through Amazon's Extended Distribution channels, is listed for sale through B&N!! I like it that anyone can go into B&N and order my book now. Thanks for that! Let's get the rest of the offerings for authors available by providing a venue for free promo days.
That's my two pence...