With pressure mounting from online distributors, Barnes & Noble, the biggest US retail bookstore have announced Nook Press Print – an on demand book printing service.

It’s a tough gig to compete with internet giants like Amazon in the world of publishing. Barnes & Noble have been pulling out all the stops in recent years to stay in the competition. In 2009 they announced the ‘NOOK’ – an Android powered e-Reader that meant the chain could compete with Amazon’s Kindle device and the Kobo.

The latest off-shoot to come from the NOOK franchise is Press Print. Aimed at indie publishers, it’s an online service that allows you to upload and print copies of your book to your desire, giving you bespoke paper and cover options.

Is there a need for these kind of print on-demand services? With digital being a viable route for independent publishers to go down due to accessibility (read more about digital publishing for indie publishers here) there is a need for as-and-when print services so that the independent side of publishing doesn’t become one sided. Whilst the two NOOK products (tablet and print service) might seem contradictory they actually work hand-in-hand to give independent publishers opportunities.

CreateSpace vs NOOK

NOOK’s Print Press isn’t the first of its kind. Amazon merged two of its existing print on demand services under the name CreateSpace a few years ago. The print on demand service is presumably  a response to Amazon’s CreateSpace just as the NOOK tablet was a response to the Amazon Kindle and other e-readers.

One thing that Amazon’s print on-demand services does that Barnes & Nobles doesn’t is offer some after-love. Once your book is printed with NOOK that’s the end of the story, whereas CreateSpace not only acts as a printing service but a stocker and distributor of you book on Amazon’s site, a useful tool for any Indie publisher. Once you’ve had a dig into the T’s & C’s the NOOK Print Press doesn’t even come close to Amazon’s services.

No-one can blame Barnes & Noble for putting up a good fight, they’re meeting consumer needs to create a much-needed service that gives unknown publishers a chance to get their work out there. It will always be hard to compete with Amazon but there is a need for the print on demand service which if anything support digital growth rather than hinders it.

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