The Case of the Missing NOOK Sales


My Unexpected Forever by Heidi McLaughlin

Update: Heidi received an email from NOOK Press this evening saying her sales are experiencing a glitch, but all are being recorded. Original post below:

Heidi McLaughlin knew something had gone wrong.

When she logged onto her NOOK Press account on September 6th, something seemed off about her sales numbers. This USA Today, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble bestselling author noticed far fewer sales for her new release than she expected. In fact, the number on the sales report didn’t match her own tallies at all.

Were her eyes deceiving her? Had she made a mistake?

My Unexpected Forever released on September 2nd to NOOK customers through Barnes & Noble’s website. During release week, McLaughlin kept track of her sales, as most authors do. She also kept track of sales rank.

Here’s the sales report breakdown according to Heidi:

9/2: Release day

9/3: Ranked at #72 on the NOOk sales list

9/4: Ranked at #38 on the NOOk sales list

9/5: Ranked at #19 on the NOOK sales list

When Heidi checked her NOOK Press account on 9/6, she noticed the first discrepancy. Her sales for the previous days had a drastically different number–one much lower than her internal accounting and one that wouldn’t have provided her with a high sales rank. When Heidi contacted Barnes & Noble directly, they contacted her back telling her that her sales numbers on 9/2, for example, were only 13 copies. B&N went on to tell her that sales for 9/3 were 38, and 9/4 were 19.

However, My Unexpected Forever remained in the Top 100 list on Barnes & Noble. The novel placed at #40 as of September 11th, and #46 on September 12th.

Heidi says she tried to contact customer service for Nook, but never got anywhere.

“They have an online chat, but they don’t answer questions, they just escalate and tell you someone will email you in 2 days,” she said. “That never happens, they don’t respond to emails.”

Anna Zaires ss2

Taken from Anna’s Facebook page on September 11, 2013

On September 10th, Heidi decided to ask her fans to send her copies of their NOOK purchases.By 9/12, Heidi had collected 22 receipts for purchases of her book on NOOK for 9/2.

By September 11th, Heidi wasn’t the only author on social media to complain about Nook sales for the first two weeks of September. Author Anna Zaires expressed frustration, saying she saw inaccurate reports for her NOOK sales. Anna is the author of several books, and her latest released on 9/2 as well. She also urged fans to email her receipts for NOOK purchases of Close Remembrance.

NooK Press SS

A post on Nook Press’s Facebook page dated August 15, 2013

This isn’t the first time Barnes & Noble have reported problems with NOOK Press sales. Their own posts on social media indicate a widespread problem with sales in August 2013.

Two phone calls by this blog to Barnes &Noble’s press office in NYC ended in a conversation with Carolyn Brown. Carolyn says she’s looking into the matter and will get back in touch with more information.

Meanwhile, Heidi has only seen a response in the form of a generic letter stating all sales are accurate.

Heidi says she’s seriously considering legal action to recoup the lost funds.

“I’ve emailed them, showed them my proof and expect an answer,” said Heidi.


2 thoughts on “The Case of the Missing NOOK Sales

  1. A publisher

    So, what happened?

    Our sales too have fallen off a cliff on B&N, down to almost zero so far this month, which is absurd compared to prior months, let alone a year ago, and not representative of comparable sales on Amazon/etc. I’ve long suspected Nook sales numbers are fishy, and at this point, based on the number of people who likewise report problems with missing sales, I’m suspecting it’s outright fraud. My hunch is that B&N may be going bankrupt and just grabbing all the cash they can. Seriously thinking about removing our titles from B&N. If they’re stealing the money, what’s the point? Anyway, I wondered what happened with this saga here…?

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