Deciding whether you should print your book or go exclusively digital can be a tricky decision. Of course you can always do both, but what if your budget dictates that you must choose one and only one?
That’s why we put together a two-part series that dives into the pros and cons of both print and ebooks. First up: Print books.
(Keep in mind that our pros might be cons for you or vice versa, and that you should go with what feels right for your project. If you have any questions, feel free to shoot us a message.)
Pro: Your book may be perceived as more successful, just by being in print.
There’s just something about holding your own book versus seeing a digital copy through your computer screen that makes it feel more real. Even though the same amount of time goes into writing, designing, and formatting books for both print and digital, readers and journalists may perceive a book as more important if there’s a print version as opposed to solely digital.
Pro: 70% of readers prefer physical books according to the Guardian.
Sales don’t lie. There was a time when the industry thought ebooks were going to storm in send physical books to their death. Michael Tamblyn, CEO of ereader manufacturer Kobo, said ebook sales were once about 50-50 with print, but have now plateaued at around 25-30% of book sales. Factors such as ebook price, set by publishers, have made ebooks and print books about the same cost for consumers.
Pro: Opportunity for placement within brick and mortar retail locations.
If you’ve ever dreamt of seeing your book in a bookstore window, creating a print book is a must. There are still many independent bookstores, specialty boutiques, and big box retailers like Barnes and Noble that carry books and do well with them. Having print copies available to sell is the only way you’ll get in front of their customers and potential new readers.
Pro: Create special edition books that feature specialized printing options.
Designing a special or limited edition book makes a lot more sense in a print book versus just an ebook. You can design gorgeous, timeless covers meant for display with details such as gold foil, embossing, faux leather, linen, speciality papers, and more. (Check out Tasora Legacy for our special edition books.)
Pro: Easier to gift or giveaway print copies of the book, especially if the reader wants a signed copy.
Giving away copies of your book is much easier when you have print copies. You could potentially send out PDF versions of your ebook to friends and family, but that may prove difficult or a hassle for them to read if they don’t have an ereader. Print books make wonderful gifts for that reason, with the added bonus of being able to sign them.
Con: Printing physical books is an investment.
This doesn’t necessarily have to be a con, as many things in life that cost money are worthy investments. However it’s worth noting that printing a physical book will always cost more than formatting a book for exclusive digital release, because there are more physical materials and labor costs involved.
Con: Print books typically make less per book sale because of the printing cost.
You will make slightly less in profit from print books than you will from ebooks solely due to the cost of printing.
Con: Fulfilling book orders and warehousing.
This isn’t necessarily a con, as there are lots of businesses (like us!) who can take care of this for you. But warehousing your books and fulfillment (e.g. getting the book packaged up and shipped to your customer) is definitely one more thing you’ll need to consider if you go with print books.