Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.

As in all supply and demand issues, small publishers have to make choices of where to publish books. I hear you, but I need to focus my energies.

Are the ebooks you've made available to Amazon's Kindle also available to the Barnes and Noble Nook eReader? If not, when can Nook geeks expect equal opportunity? Not trying to be sassy or arrogant, merely trying to ensure that Nook users have the same opportunities as the Kindle users seem to get routinely?

In this excerpt from Answercast #13, I look at the demand for Kindle books compared to Barnes and Noble's Nook. I need to know if there is a demand.

Nook availability

From my own personal perspective, I would love to do a Nook version of most of my books.

The problem is that it is extra work and the demand has to justify it. In other words, I've got to be able to actually sell enough of my books on Nook in order to justify the expense of converting the book to a Nook format: going through the process of uploading it and making it available.

I'm absolutely open to it, but it depends on untapped demand. It depends on people letting me know that, yes, they are Nook readers and, if I make a book available on the Nook, they will actually turn around and buy it.

Market forces at work

What you're experiencing here is simply market forces at work. When we take a look at more than just Ask Leo!, there's a cost involved for every different format that a publisher provides a book in. There's a cost in setting up; there's cost in formatting; the cost can be small, it can be large, but there's definitely an additional cost. There is also maintenance, and so forth, for handling the various different platforms.

If a platform doesn't have the sufficient number of users, a sufficient number of readers, [or] a sufficient number of people who are willing to actually purchase books, then what you end up seeing is that small publishers (such as myself) have to make the really hard decisions.

Small publishers say, "OK, fine. If I'm gong to do this, I need to focus my efforts." I need to focus on platforms that have the greatest opportunity for giving me a positive return on what is an investment in time and energy.

Amazon Kindle dominates right now when it comes to ebooks. When it comes to a commercial ebook sales, the Amazon Kindle platform (and it is a platform, it's not just a reader), absolutely dominates when it comes to selling electronic books.

Kindle is popular

They dominate for two reasons:

  • One is they've got a pretty cool reader. Personally, I like the Kindle device. I have not played with the Nook and I assume that it's fairly similar, but the Kindle experience is actually a very good one.
  • Platform. One of the reasons I call it a platform (and one of the reasons that I focus on it heavily besides just its dominance in the market share) is the fact that publishing a book on Amazon's Kindle makes it available not just on Kindle devices, but on Android phones, Android tablets, iPhone, iPad, PCs and Macs. All of these additional devices have free readers so you can get Kindle books and read them without having to actually purchase a Kindle device.

I know that the Nook has something similar for some platforms. I don't think it's quite as ubiquitous as the Kindle platform.

What I have heard is that for those people that are willing to root your Nook (in other words, you are actually willing to do some things to the operating system to make it accept things that Barnes and Noble was originally not intending it to do), you can also download and run the Kindle reader on your Nook.

I'm not advocating that; I'm not suggesting it, I'm just pointing it out as a possibility for those people who are into that kind of thing.

Ask Leo! on Nook

So, I hope to do a Nook version. I hope to do a Google books version. I hope to do a version in the Apple bookstore. But each one of those, like I said, (and this is for true for almost any small independent publisher) involves extra work. I need to have some kind of an idea that there's a return on that time and investment in order to make the investment in the first place.

So, I hear you. I actually would love to do it; it's an excuse for me to go out and buy a Nook and expense it, but for the moment, I have to focus my energies on the biggest target; the platform with the biggest market share.

Article C5268 - April 29, 2012 « »

Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

Not what you needed?

Jim Green
April 30, 2012 6:59 AM

What about a PDF version? You can sideload PDFs into a nook.... One reason I chose Nook over kindle initially. I imagine that by now you can do that on a kindle also...

Kindle does support PDFs - in fact I've made the Kindle reader my PDF reading app on my phone and tablet. PDF falls into the same bucket - it's additional work & expense to create. Particularly since almost all platforms that can view PDFs can now view Kindle natively with a free app I opted to prioritize the Kindle versions.

May 1, 2012 10:24 AM

Where can I buy your books ?

Mark J
May 1, 2012 3:05 PM

Links to where you can buy Leo's books have been added to the list at the end of the article.

Melvin Batchelor
May 2, 2012 3:54 AM


I think that except for Amazon and Apple, everyone else uses the e-pub format, usually with Adobe DRM (when DRM is used). And I've read that Amazon will also soon allow publishers to sell their ebooks in e-pub format in the Kindle store. ("soon" is a very vague term of course) That would cut your work load when it happens.

john o'meara
June 4, 2012 10:38 AM

Add 1 vote for a Nook or E-Pub version.

I find Nook to be an excellent reader, and the B&N content buying/delivery platform to be virtually seamless.
I originally got the Nook as part of a a promotion package that included a NY Times electronic subscription. Alas, a newspaper is not a book, and does not port very well to an e-reader. You can't share sections across the breakfast table . . . .

Don Shelton
September 11, 2012 7:09 PM

I agree with Melvin E-Pub is the MORE Standard and Universal Ebook format, Kindle's is very exclusive and mostly for Kindle users. Also I have three reader App's (trying out which one I liked the best) and all three supported E-Pub. I had to download Kindle's reader to read ONLY the Kindle Format. I use Calibri to convert From Kindle to E-pub. Finally if your ebooks were availble I would very MUCH love to get them. Big Fan and you've helped me out a lot in my work over the years!! Thank you
Don The Computer Guy

I'll update the article at some point, but right now with Maintaining Windows 7 - Backing Up you can purchase either the Kindle version from Amazon or the PDF directly from me. When you register your purchase you then get access to downloads of the book in .mobi, .epub and .pdf formats. I plan that style for all subsequent books.

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