Barnes & Noble reverses author payment delays for indie disties and pays out early for March

Barnes & Noble has restored ebook distributors to its regular payment schedule after paying late for February and bringing in a policy of 90-day payment delays.

B&N had included distributors such as Draft2digital and Smashwords in its plan to delay payments to big publishers and distributors due to cashflow problems amid the coronavirus pandemic but now concedes it shouldn’t have included D2D and Smashwords in that category.

Smashwords CEO Mark Coker had expressed his concern about the situation to B&N, saying, ‘The payment delay struck me as improper, especially considering they had already collected the money from customers. Here at Smashwords, we consider paying authors on time not just an obligation — it’s a sacred responsibility.

‘I’m pleased to share that Barnes & Noble was incredibly receptive to my concerns and gracious in their quick response. Barnes & Noble is restoring Smashwords back to our regular payment schedule going forward, and that an immediate payment was forthcoming to make our authors and publishers whole. They’re even paying for their March sales a few days early.’

Smashwords adds that since it’s already doing a special payment round to cover B&N’s February sales and B&N is also paying a few days early for the March sales which would normally be included in the next regular payment round in a few weeks, it has decided to pay B&N February and B&N March now. It also received payment from Scribd a couple days after the last payment round went out and so is going to pay that early as well.

Barnes & Noble had told Draft2digital about delays in processing payments for February sales due to having to shift to remote operation and a dramatic drop in cashflow after many of B&N’s storefronts closed.

The distributor was told that these delayed payments were being done for bigger accounts, such as Draft2Digital, and not necessarily for all smaller accounts.

B&N initially said it would pay D2D one-third of February sales and pay the remaining two-thirds at a future date. Draft2Digital decided to establish a line of credit to cover the missing two-thirds and pay the full 100% of payments owed to its authors for February.

D2D told its authors, ‘We believe in you, and we believe in Barnes & Noble. We are willing to take a risk in the name of that belief and we ask you to do the same.’

That faith paid off quickly as D2D now says, ‘Barnes & Noble has informed us they will be paying the full amount of funds due from February. In addition, they have assured us that all future payments will be on time. We expect that everyone will receive their payment by Wednesday, April 29.

‘This outcome is due, in part, to the outpouring of messages we received from our authors, which we then passed on to Barnes & Noble. Your supportive messages and your concerns did not go unheard. As a result, B&N re-evaluated our account and determined that there was an error — and it’s an error that is actually a good sign for all Draft2Digital authors.

‘The decision to pay only one-third of payments due was made with B&N’s large, traditional publisher accounts in mind. The error was that the volume of books distributed and sold via Draft2Digital inadvertently put us in that category. In short, so many of you publish and sell on B&N’s Nook platform, via D2D, that we were mistakenly considered one of the “big” publishers.

‘Once B&N realized their mistake, they rectified it immediately. Funds are being transferred to us and we will be able to pay you the full amount without having to cover any of it ourselves.

‘Barnes & Noble was emphatic in their apology for this oversight, and equally emphatic about how much they appreciate and strongly support self-published authors. They have indicated to us that it was never their intention to withhold funds from D2D’s author community.’

Draft2digital tests out new print-on-demand service D2D Print

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