Writers who plan to market their books themselves have to decide whether to publish digitally or in print.
So which format is best for publishing your book?
How you publish your book will depend on your goals. Consumer neuroscience reports that digital information gives readers easier access, but print invites longer book engagement.
Your purpose for writing the book should drive how you will publish it.
The Publishing Association reports that digital books gained enormous popularity until 2016 when sales dropped 17%. At the same time, the demand for printed books grew 8%.
People like the convenience of digital books, easy to carry space-savers that are often less than half the cost of printed books.
Go the digital route when you:
- Want to retain all creative rights. You get to decide on the cover, format, and more.
- You have time to explore the options between Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Apple for your electronic publishing needs.
- If you plan to publish internationally, add Kobo to your list.
- Want to create an online presence. Digital books are a perfect choice.
- Want new readers to take a risk on your writing skills.
- Are willing to collect and analyze metadata about your book sales. You’ll want to track your performance.
- Want to sell erotica, paranormal or alternative thrillers. Some readers like to cloak what they’re reading.
- Have written a novella of 15,000 to 40,000 words. This size is e-reader perfect.
Consider going the traditional route for books that are keepers. People love holding real books in their hands.
Print your book traditionally if you:
- Have a longer book people will want to reread.
- You have an unusual layout and design in mind that can’t be produced in electronic format.
- Have written an emotional or sentimental Holding a real book is a tactile experience that enhances empathy.
- Have a profound message to share. Print creates a better impact.
- Will be speaking at conferences. Print books are better for signing.
- Hope traditional publishers will give you a shot. The big houses take print more seriously.
What about BOTH?
Yes, you can have your cake and eat it, too. You can also have your book on your e-reader and on your shelf.
For writers looking to maximize their profit, this may be the direction in which to go. An ebook might not generate substantial profit per individual sale, but it is less costly to publish. Fewer digital books are read to completion than print books, however, so you may also want to have a few physical books for sale and promotion.
Can’t decide? A book writing coach an help you explore whether to publish digitally or in print.