eBook vs Paperback? Which is better?

Ice cream with sprinkles and chocolate sauce.In some ways this is like asking to I want chocolate sauce or sprinkles on my ice cream… I want both!

Still, a question that I answer a lot is:

“Should I publish an eBook or a paperback?”

That’s a great question! Here’s the quick and easy answer:


I’m a firm believer that you should publish your book in BOTH versions! And here’s why:


  • Lower cost to buy – People who are price resistant are more likely to buy it
  • Instantly available – If your book solves a pain, people don’t want to wait for their solution
  • Available anywhere – Printed books though Amazon aren’t available in all countries (or its cost prohibitive to ship!) so an eBook solves that problem
  • Wave of the future – Just like postal mail, printed books are never going away but eBooks are the current technology
  • Highly portable – Big or small, your book weighs exactly the same as the eReader used to read it
  • Private – so if you’re reading something that you don’t want to announce to the world, all they see is the back of your eReader or smartphone.

(Um, I’m not actually thinking about trashy novels here, although that fits as well! I’m really thinking that you might not want your spouse to see you reading a travel guide to Italy if you’re planning a surprise vacation for him!)

eBook or Printed: Which is better for publishing your book??Printed Books:

  • They’re “real” – It’s hard to argue with the feeling of credibility that comes from holding a “real” book in your hands!
  • Offer an additional level of credibility – For the general reading population, a title offered in physical book can seem more credible than just an eBook
  • Physical product to sell or give away – Sure you can sell digital products from stage, but nothing beats being able to go to the back of the room, buy a book, watch it being signed and walk away with a THING in your hands!
  • Media opportunities – It’s hard to have a book signing without a book to sign! Retail locations still love having authors in for book signings.
  • Write in it – Call me old-school but I still like to highlight, write in the margins, dog-ear pages, and use sticky notes in my business, reference, or non-fiction books
Which should you publish - #eBook or #paperback? The answer might surprise you! Share on X

There are very few books that I publish in only one or the other versions. A few examples are:

eBook Only:
Pamphlet-type books: If it’s really small sometimes it is better to do this as an eBook only. A 65-page booklet might give fantastic value but it IS skinny. This means that while somebody might feel they got a huge value paying $2.99 for the digital version, a $6.99 print version might be a different story.

Print Only:
Workbooks: There’s just no easy way to translate these to an eBook-only platform
Lots of tables or charts: You CAN do these as eBooks but sometimes
Some reference books: There are some that just CAN’T be used as an eBook. An example is when I tried to buy an eBook version of a “501 Italian Verbs” book – it just didn’t’ work!

As a reader, what’s your preference? Leave me a comment and let me know!

And if you have questions about the publishing process, I’d love to chat with you!

Kim Galloway
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