Nook takes aim at Kindle Singles with original content for Nook Snaps

Barnes & Noble (s BKS) has sold e-singles as “Nook Snaps” since December 2011, but on Thursday the company announced that it is revamping the program and commissioning original singles content. Nook Snaps will release “3 to 5 new Nook Snaps selections of at least 5,000 words every other month” for $1.99 apiece.

Nook is commissioning some of the Nook Snaps, and, like Kindle Singles, will also accept unsolicited submissions — they’ll be launching a submissions box “shortly,” B&N VP of digital content Theresa Horner told me.

For the first sixty days after publication, Nook Snaps authors get 100 percent of the royalties. After that, the royalty structure matches that offered by B&N’s self-publishing platform Nook Press — so authors will get a 40 percent royalty, assuming that all Nook Snaps are priced at $1.99. (By contrast, Amazon offers a 70 percent royalty on all Kindle Singles.) The originally commissioned Nook Snaps are only exclusive to Barnes & Noble for 60 days; after that, authors can also sell them elsewhere.

Horner told me that Nook Snaps is “not meant to be a program in competition with Amazon Shorts [Kindle Singles]” because it is more “author-centric” and ties into the Nook Press platform — a distinction that doesn’t make much sense to me, since Amazon also stresses that Kindle Singles is a great platform for authors, and both companies are offering extra merchandising support and web page placement for the e-singles.