I don’t have a Nook ereader. Until recently Nooks were exclusive only to Barnes & Noble and readers in the United States, and have been available to the British and Europeans during the last year or so. I do, however, have a Kindle; Kindle has been available in the UK for some time, so naturally when I ventured into eBook publishing I embarked on uploading my books onto Kindle first.
Elsewhere on my blog I’ve described my experience of publishing to Kindle; how I faffed about a bit using MobiPocket Creator, soon realising to my irritation that it got on my threepenny bits. I don’t know why, I just didn’t get it. I was able to view my html files on a browser, but for some reason I couldn’t figure out how to edit them in Mobi, so I ended up doing it in Notepad, which took, like, forever, as I went through each paragraph to ensure it was formatted properly; thank God I know a bit about html to get by, but I mean, never again!
Then I realised I didn’t have to do all that; I could upload epub files instead, but I needed an epub converter, which is why I turned to Draft2Digital. The problem with D2D is you can’t edit the epub it creates if you find problems with it, so It does suggest editors: Sigil for Kobo (toyed with Kobo briefly until this happened then I refused to toy with it again, but found Sigil mega easy) and Mobi (HAHAHA!) for Kindle. Guess which one I stuck with?
Quick editing in Sigil to get your pages to look how you want them to look in eBook format (I like my title, publication data, previous titles and dedication pages centred for eBook) upload to Kindle, preview in the online previewers (which incidentally don’t work in Internet Explorer 11, so I had to go onto Firefox!) – the bog standard Kindle viewer, Kindle Fire, iPhone, iPad, etc – tweak a bit if not quite right, re-upload, when happy, publish; buy a copy to see how it looks in your own Kindle – a-OK!
The only problem is this: if you have already published to Kindle and bought a copy yourself to check it out and you see a typo, like I did with Goalden Sky, just editing and re-uploading the stupid thing isn’t enough, you won’t see any changes (new buyers will), you have to email KDP support at Amazon to let them know where you’ve made the edits and ask them to do some technical jiggery-pokery to the book, and your changes are visible to existing buyers within four weeks once they’ve gone through the sync instructions.
So what if it is technically a new edition, it’s still daft that I have to do that! Here was me thinking all I had to do was overwrite my old file and re-publish, how dumb am I!
Recently, I noticed on my Kindle that in Big Brother there were no spaces between previous paragraphs and block paragraphs denoting new scenes. How I missed that I don’t know! They looked OK in the epub and the preview! Anyway, I did the amendments, just putting more carriage returns in (that’s typewriter speak, remember typewriters?) emailed KDP support again, etc – yeah, what a load of f4rtin’ about! But it looks good now; so do my other books, thank you. J
Anyroad, for all my moaning about the mucking about with Kindle, I wasn’t prepared for the OMIGOD of Nook, which prompted this unladylike assessment of the Nook press publishing platform!
Thinking I’d got through the teething troubles I’d had with Kindle, I thought it was time all my books were uploaded to Nook, searching for a wider audience, especially in the run up to Christmas. Kindle couldn’t have all the exclusivity! Two of my books have already been uploaded to Nook by my publisher (except the prices are too high) so I’ll sort those out later, but Big Brother and Epiworld hadn’t been. I though all I had to do was to upload the same files I’d used for Kindle: they were already formatted to my liking and ready to go. Nook has an online editor, Kindle doesn’t. I thought, yeah, this looks easy. You can check the epub it creates, too, just to make sure it will look how you want it and it takes less time than Kindle to update.
I started by uploading Epiworld first and encountered no problems at all, except with the spacing between the block paragraphs noticed later (see my resolution below). When it came to Big Brother, though, all sorts of problems! Imagine my annoyance when, after checking the book on my phone and laptop Nook readers, I saw the title text was small and not centred; neither was the publication data, previous publications and dedication pages, everything was left aligned; again block paragraphing with a space between the previous paragraph and next scene paragraph was missing, and the titles on my previous publications page had lost their spacing, too. Annoyingly, when I checked the html coding in the Sigil epub file, for those pages I wanted centred, it all looked perfectly correct and the spacing I wanted was there – it was exactly the same as Epiworld’s formatting! No matter what I did – retyping, re-centring, re-spacing, re-uploading, even uploading the original Word document – every time I checked the book after publishing it was all left aligned and there was no spacing. Nothing I did worked!
Annoyed and frustrated, I sought assistance from the Nook Press forum. Don’t use the Nook editor, they said, it has bugs in it: it’s naff. OK. A kind lady who formats for eBooks professionally offered to check my html codes and even tweaked them for me. I re-uploaded the file re-published – same problem.
Finally, I decided to do one of two things: accept those pages would never be centred and live with it, or at least try and centre them from scratch in the Nook editor. They told me the editor wasn’t working properly, but the techies had tried to fix the bugs, so I thought maybe…and anyway, why should I accept the left alignment when the text was centred how i wanted it in Kindle?!
I copied and pasted the text from the title page and those other pages into Notepad – left aligned – and copied and pasted them from there into the editor. Then I centred them – with some difficulty, press the centre text button and the text often refuses to move! – and put more spaces where they were needed. Then I submitted the changes and waited. Bingo! It worked!
But the spacing before the block paragraphs didn’t work at all! I re-checked Epiworld and noticed the fault there, too. No matter how many times I ctrl/ENTERed on the editor and in Sigil I just can’t get those spaces in! At last, I ended up compromising: in the editor I’ve put asterisks where those spaces should be, and it looks fine now, though there are a couple of pages where, for some reason, I have to have more than one space before I can put in an asterisk. Now, though, I can report that both stupid eBooks look fine; well, they do on my Android and PC, can’t speak for the Nook itself…
So what are the pros and cons of Nook and Kindle from a publishing viewpoint?
Accepts all types of files for publishing, but epub is best
Little editing required for an epub file; Kindle recognises all coding
Can preview the book using different Kindle types online
Look Inside facility comes automatically with publishing so that when you publish your paperback version the facility transfers across
No online editor
Can’t use the previews in Internet Explorer
Takes about twelve hours for the book to be published
Any edits made to the text or layout has to be passed on to Kindle support and it can take up to four weeks for the changes to be made available to anyone who has already bought the book
Online editor facility
Accepts all types of file for publishing
Takes no more than two hours at most for the book to become available for purchase
Don’t have to email support to ask them to tweak any changes made
Editor doesn’t work very well, if at all
Doesn’t recognise the coding in an epub file
Nook technical support is poor
In my opinion, Kindle wins, because I swore less at that than I did at Nook! I just need to make sure I get everything right to start with so I don’t have to email support!
Originally published to the wrong site! Donkey!