If you are self-publishing an ebook, you may be wondering whether or not to invest in a print run of your book as well as the electronic version. There is also the choice between using a print-on-demand service and having a more traditional print run of a certain amount of copies, which I will look at more in later blogs.
This blog will consider some of the advantages and disadvantages of having a print run of your book. Obviously, there will be more than are listed here and your choice will be affected by your personal situation and preferences. One advantage of self-publishing is that you have the chance to make these decisions for yourself.
We will consider some of the advantages of having a print run first, then take a look at the disadvantages in another blog. One of the advantages of having a print copy is the new promotional and marketing opportunities this allows. If you will be going to a convention or talking on a panel, it definitely makes sense for you to take some print copies of your book so that people there can buy a copy immediately.
Print copies are also a benefit if you plan on distributing them to businesses or clients. Having a physical copy to hand over can be a lot more convenient in these cases and may well be the preferred format for these situations. A physical copy that can be passed around is a lot more useful to a company than an ebook.
In addition, having a print copy allows you to sell it in retail outlets and bookstores, which means that you may pick up new readers that you would not have reached otherwise. If you sell it locally, this can be a good way to support your community.
It is also a lot easier to sign a physical copy than an ebook, which is another good opportunity for promotion. If you decide to run a giveaway of signed copies, for example, this is a lot simpler if you can just sign and send a stack of print books.
Another advantage of having a print version of your book is that it may add validity to your book for some people and make it easier for you to market yourself as an author. Some people still have a bias towards physical, print books, so if you are looking to sell to them, you may well have to invest in a print run.
There are many reasons your reader might want a print copy to be available. For example, they may just prefer the feel of a print book in their hands or not have an e-reader or the software for reading ebooks. They might like to have the opportunity to pick up a book and look at it first before buying, although obviously this doesn’t work with a print-on-demand service.
Another marketing advantage of a print book is one that your readers will be doing for you! By having your book out, on a coffee table, a shelf or their bedside cabinet, they will be seeing it more and will be reminded to go back to it or look at what else you have written. If they keep it where friends visiting can see it, it may also lead to discussion about it or prompt the friend to buy their own copy. Word of mouth is a very powerful marketing tool!
Another similar advantage is that you can hold your book in your hands. How much you are worried by this is down to you, but if it is something that you want to do, it may at least be worth considering a print-on-demand service.
If you have a print book, it can make your existing marketing easier. For example, by having both a print version and an ebook listed on Amazon or whichever platforms you have chosen to sell on, you give yourself the opportunity to have slightly different descriptions for each version. This makes it more likely that people will find your book, as you can have two different sets of keywords that will refer to your book.
You can also differentiate your pricing – by showing how much your book is worth in print, the ebook version seems more of a bargain as you don’t have the print costs associated with it. Many sellers will show the comparison as a percentage, which allows your readers to instantly see the saving on an ebook.
If your book is non-fiction, having at least a print-on-demand version may be a good idea. Non-fiction books often have a lot of charts, tables and diagrams and it may well be easier to see these in a print copy and compare them to others in the book (or other books).
It can be harder for some readers to see these design elements on a screen, particularly if there is a lot of detail or they cover the whole page. If you do only have an ebook, make sure that the formatting makes looking at all of this as easy as possible for your readers.
These are just some of the advantages of having a print version of your book, but whether printing is right for your book depends a lot on your views and what your manuscript is, as well as where you think you will get the most sales from – online or offline. Next time I will be looking at some of the disadvantages of having a print version of your book, so stop by then!
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