Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Is Barnes and Noble Sinking Faster Than We Thought?

Back in August, I wrote an overview of Barnes & Noble's problems. In September, fuzzy accounting seemed to become more pronounced. For the second month in a row, my sales would pop on the Recent Sales screen and disappear when it's supposed to roll over to the Monthly Sales tally.

(For those who don't use Nook Press or its predecessor PubIt, here's an example: Any sales from yesterday and today, October 1 and 2, show up on a screen called Recent Sales. Tonight at midnight EDT, sales from the 1st will get moved to the October monthly sales report.)

Why B&N does this rollover thing instead of placing them directly in the month report is beyond me. With PubIt, there were some occasional glitches, but nothing compared to the problems with Nook Press.

In August, I had sales from two days disappear during the rollover. I e-mailed Nook Press customer support, and I received a response from them in twenty-five hours. Sales were restored.

However, this came after the supposed fix on August 15th, which was supposed to prevent this from happening. So another fix was done on the August 20th.

And then things got worse.

USA Today bestselling writer Heidi McLaughlin released her new novel on September 2nd. At other retailers, the book was clicking along in sales. However, B&N showed dismal numbers, even though by the 5th, My Unexpected Forever was ranked #19 on B&N's own bestseller list. The numbers simply didn't add up.There was simply no way she could be in the top 100 after only selling seventy copies of her new book.

That's right--70.

And Nook Press support swore up and down that those number are correct. They have since notified Heidi that there was a glitch in the system.

The same glitch that has been plaguing Nook Press from the beginning?

More authors started relaying their stories on social media. Some are asking readers for copies of receipts to prove their case to B&N. Several, including me, have e-mailed, called or chatted with Nook Press representatives, only to be met with stonewalling or silence.

The only missing sale I can verify is from September 24th. However, I may have missing sales from the 25th through the 28th as well, because as in Heidi's case, the sales numbers don't match the variance in the ranking numbers.

Today, Alter Ego sent out her quarterly newsletter to fans, warning them that she may be withdrawing her books from B&N this month. It's drastic step, and not one I want to take.

But the similarities between B&N's "glitches" and Dorchester's incorrect sales statements and missing checks right before they went under is scary as hell. I don't feel like lining Len Riggio and his cronies' golden parachutes.

But I hear the apologists. It's just a couple of books, Suzan. Yeah, it may be a handful on mine, and a few thousand of Heidi's, and a couple from you, and...

And it all adds up to a dollar figure with a lot of zeroes after it.

As my grandpa used to say, "I may have been born at night, but it wasn't last night."


  1. "Unfortunate" is not the word I would use, Whisk, but I promised DH I would clean up my language around his parents.

  2. But I added the most in front. What? No good?

  3. "Most" isn't the problem. I would use one or more of George Carlin's seven words instead of "unfortunate". As in, "the most stupid-ass, mother-fucking idiocy B&N could pull right now."

  4. Dang. You said it WAY better than I did.

    Yes, too long I waited for that burner. Though now I'm having a little trouble using it because it is sooooo nice. Got a wax tart burning in scarecrow for now.

    What's for supper? I think take out here, as I am still cleaning. Tossed eight bags of trash out the door.

  5. Wow. I've never sold very well at B&N at all -- and they STILL don't have the electronic version of Captive Magic up, although the paperback went up lickety-split -- but maybe that's a good thing?

    Whether they're deliberately embezzling, or it's a glitch they're just dragging their feet on fixing, or a glitch they're honestly trying and failing to fix, the result is the same and it all sucks for the writers. :/ And I agree that whoever's NOT cracking the whip over the techies to get this fucking FIXED and by TOMORROW at latest is motherfucking IDIOT. :P They do not need this shit with all the rest of the shit B&N is laboring under right now. [sigh]


  6. @Whisk - You don't have use ithe raven burner. It works as a decoration. Supper here was Cincinnati chili over spaghetti with cheddar cheese and garlic bread. Perfect autumn food!

    @Angie - I don't know what the exact problem is. B&N refuses to say anything, and as I pointed out in the last two e-mails I sent to them, this silence is not a good PR move no matter what the situation is.

    I don't want to see B&N fail. I'm one of those rareties that's sold more through them than Amazon. But with their constant missteps alienating both customers and vendors, I beginning to believe the company has a death wish.