Should I Produce an EBook only?

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1106 Design

October 14, 2013

[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][fusion_dropcap]G[/fusion_dropcap]iven the proliferation of eReaders and tablet computers, authors independently publishing their books have every right to question the worth of printing them. Producing an electronic version only seems so much easier, so much CHEAPER! But can you really get away with not printing?

According to a USAToday article (E-book sales are up 43% but that’s still a ‘slowdown.’ May 16, 2013, http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/books/2013/05/15/e-book-sales/2159117/), eBook sales have increased 4456% since 2008. 457 million eBooks were sold in 2012. However, 557 million hardcover books were sold during the same period, not including paperbacks. According to Michael Pietsch, CEO of the Hachette Book Group, three out of four books sold is printed. And just 3% of book buyers read ONLY eBooks. By not printing your book, you would miss out on a huge audience.

While the 43% increase in eBook sales is healthy, it’s down from triple digit increases in 2010 and 2011. Book sellers can’t ignore the power of print — their core business — even as eBooks increase in popularity. Getting creative, Amazon will start bundling print and Kindle versions of books.

To an independent publisher, the perception is that eBooks are cheaper to produce than print. However, print-on-demand (POD) is a very economical way to print books. At Lightning Source, you pay a set-up fee to upload the cover and interior (around $70), plus a fee to print and ship a proof (always recommended).  There are no additional costs until the book is sold, at which point LS prints it, ships it to the buyer (fulfillment), pays Amazon their cut, and remits the balance to you each month. The cost to print depends on the number of pages in the book. Yes, you do have to “pay to print,” but you don’t have to pay to print books you don’t sell, and whether you go print or eBook, you should pay to have a professional typeset your book interior and design your cover.

The obvious answer seems to be, “print both.” eBook sales are dominated by “light” reading – novels. For “serious reading” people still prefer print. So your book’s genre may play into your decision to go “E” or “P.” Either way, by choosing to produce only one version of your book, you are losing the potential to sell to a huge audience. The additional investment to produce the other version may well pay off in the end.

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