Almost every author I speak to offers a variation of this question:
I’m thinking of starting with a Kindle book and doing a paperback in six months. What do you think?
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! For a LAUNCH, you should release just one version and follow up later with the other. (Trust me, marketing!)
For the long-haul of a book, your message, you want both a Kindle version and a paperback version. And here’s why:
- Lower cost to buy – (usually lower cost!) People who are price resistant are more likely to buy a Kindle version
- Instantly available – If your book solves a pain, people don’t want to wait for their solution
- Available anywhere – Print books though Amazon aren’t available in all countries (or its cost prohibitive to ship!) so a Kindle version solves that problem
- Wave of the future – (Wave of the NOW?) 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!)
- 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.
There are very few books that I publish in only one or the other versions. A few examples are:
- 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.
- 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!
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