So now you've committed yourself to writing a book and sharing your experience with the world. You understand that becoming a published author gives you more credibility and promotion opportunities. You also know that authors of print books have more prestige than e-book authors.
But the e-book market is growing rapidly, and traditional publishers are finally moving to embrace the medium. The distinction between a print author and an e-author is disappearing. As the market reacts to consumer demand, most books will be available in either form, and the distinction will disappear altogether.
If you are serious about getting your message out to a wide audience, it only make sense to produce your book in as many forms as possible. Learn the lesson that the music industry failed to learn and with which traditional publishers are still struggling: give your customers what they want.
If you are having difficulty deciding upon whether your book should be published in print form, digital form, or both, here are three reasons that show you why "both" is the right answer:
- It makes your readers happy
- You save money in production costs
- You get more out of your marketing efforts
1. Make Your Readers Happy
Some publishers worry about about e-book editions "cannibalizing" the sales of hardback or softback editions, so they hold back the e-book release. I think this decision is ridiculous.
A sale is a sale. Your job is to make your book profitable no matter how you sell it. Waiting to release the e-book edition of your book only annoys the customers who want that edition now.
In general, customers will wait for the format they really want, but if you don't give it to them right away, you could lose the sale to an enterprising pirate who will. Just ask J.K. Rowling, who steadfastly refused to release the Harry Potter books in digital form, only to lose those sales to pirates who created e-books by scanning the print books. The moral: give your customers what they want.
Sales of e-books and digital reading devices are growing like wildfire. Ignore this trend or disparage it at your peril.
2. Save Money on Production
One of the supposed benefits of selling books in digital format is the low production cost. But really, you don't save money on production costs, you save money on operational costs. It costs just as much to produce an e-book as it does to produce a print book, if you do it right. Once you produce the book, your operational costs to distribute and deliver an e-book book are much lower than with print (no shipping, no printing, no warehousing costs).
The way you save money on production relates to the fact that you leverage the cost of editing and cover design for both print and digital editions. Separating these activities for the different editions introduces inconsistencies between the products and additional overhead.
Granted, print books and e-books are laid out differently, but knowing those differences in advance can help you produce a more consistent product across all formats. Once your book structure and content are consistent, that is the point at which you branch your editions and optimize the layout for the target format.
3. Stretch the Value of Your Marketing
From a cost perspective, one of the best reasons to release your print book and e-book at the same time is that you leverage your marketing for both editions. Realistically, you are selling a single product that is just available in "multiple colors."
People love shiny new stuff. You'll generate the most buzz and interest in your book at your book launch. Done right, you'll put a lot of energy and promotional effort into your book launch. Take advantage of the sales surge you get at launch to sell both editions of your book. Launching the second format separately won't generate nearly as many sales, partly because you won't put as much into it, and partly because you aren't really launching a new book.
Don't forget to cross-promote your book editions. Use your front or back matter to list all of the available formats. Remember that books get passed around, so give those borrowers the option to get their own copy in the format they prefer. Some readers will actually both the print and e-book edition, given the opportunity to do so.
Finally, all of your promotion efforts should make it clear that your book is available in multiple formats. Provide links to the print and digital editions. Don't worry about which edition you sell. The point is to get your message out and connect with your readers.
E-Books Are Here to Stay
E-books are no longer the poor stepchild of the publishing world. Yes, they still have a long way to go before they will acquire the professional feel of a print book, but consumer demand will make that happen quickly. Don't lose potential sales waiting for e-books to be perfect.
Providing your books in multiple formats shows you are a professional who takes publishing and your product seriously and who is concerned about satisfying your readers.
Get Your Book Done Now
Learn how you can turn your dream book into a reality at SelfPubU. No matter where you are on your publishing journey, you'll find a course that's just right for you. At SelfPubU, you can learn about writing, publishing, or promoting a book from the comfort of your own office whenever it's convenient for you. You'll receive expert instruction from people actually working IN publishing now. Courses run continuously, so you don't have to "wait for the next semester" or a specific date for the course you want. Sign up any time 24/7 and start learning now!