When the Kindle was launched in 2007, print as a medium for distributing books was put under severe pressure. In the intervening years, sales of print books declined as the popularity of ebooks took off. Everyone wrote print off; “Print is dead!” they shouted. Not so fast. At Author Secret, we believe in print so much that we recommend every self-publishing author have a print version of their book. Here are 5 reasons why you need a print version of your book:
It’s low risk
Print-on-demand (PoD) vendors like Amazon’s Createspace and Ingram Spark have made it extremely easy for self-publishers to get print versions of their books onto the market. Gone are the days when you had to pay thousands for large minimum orders from printers, only to sit with a garage full of books while you desperately tried to sell them. If you use a PoD vendor, copies of your book will be printed as and when orders are received. Royalties are then paid incrementally (more on royalties later). Best of all, depending on what distribution options you choose, your book will be for sale in an expanded distribution network (see below).
It gives you increased visibility
In the days before ebooks, the success of a novel depended on how visible it was to the public. In other words, its sales hinged on how much shelf space it had in book stores. Though brick-and-mortar book stores are closing left and right, virtual shelf space and visibility are still major factors to a book’s success. Think about it: if you only have an ebook on Amazon, your chance of discovery by someone browsing the store is relatively low. Your chances of being discovered are doubled if you have a print book alongside the ebook.
Your visibility is increased even more if you opt to make your book available through the expanded distribution network. It then has the potential to show up in inventories of e-commerce stores anywhere in the world if they are subscribed to the distribution list.
Higher earnings per sale
The physical nature of print books means that they will always be priced higher than ebooks. This means that your earnings potential from the sale of a print book will also be much higher. For example, a 200-page novel printed through Createspace and retailing for $19.99 will net you a royalty of $8.74 if sold on Amazon; and $4.74 if sold through the expanded distribution network. Compare this to a net royalty of just $1.39 for an ebook priced at $1.99. The print numbers now start to look quite compelling! Yes, there is the likelihood that your ebooks will outsell your print books at a ratio of 10:1 or even 100:1. But the revenue potential for print is there and shouldn’t be ignored.
It’s great for giveaways and promotions
Getting your book into as many people’s hands as possible should be your first priority when you launch your book. This is especially true if it’s your first title. Giveaways are a powerful promotional tool, and having physical copies of your book means that you can make this happen. (Remember, you can order your own copies from your PoD vendor at a discount.) For example, a site like Goodreads allows you to run a contest for a free book, but only in print. And while it’s now possible to sign an ebook, any author will tell you that it’s super satisfying to sign a copy of your book for a fan in person.
You won’t alienate the print lovers
Yes, believe it or not, there are book lovers out there who still love to read books in their print form (including us here at Author Secret!). These people are also potential buyers of your book, so don’t disappoint them by not offering a print version.
So there you have it. We hope this post has gotten you thinking about offering a print version of your book. If so, head on over to our services page to see how we can help you. Alternatively, get in touch with us if you are still unsure and want to talk through your options.