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  • Writer's pictureAmanda Clemmer

Is A Print Edition Right for You?

There’s nothing quite like the feeling of holding a physical copy of your book in your hands. Many writers, when starting out, try to bypass the ebook market entirely to skip straight to the reward of the print edition.

Printing is easy these days. You don’t have to buy a package costing thousands and end up with tall stacks of boxes in your garage. Print-on-demand providers like LuLu and Amazon’s KDP Print are inexpensive and will print only the number of copies you order while printing a book of competitive quality to what you’ll find in your nearest bookstore.

Unfortunately, if you’re looking to top bestseller lists and collect royalties, this really isn’t the way to go, and you could be trapping your potential as a writer. Here’s why.

Ebooks make up the lion’s share of authors’ earnings.

The ebook sales bubble isn’t as high as it was five or six years ago, but ebooks still remain the best way to make royalties. Some genres (like romance) sell significantly better as ebooks.

Since there are numerous expenses involved in self-publishing, an early focus on ebook distribution can help make it significantly more cost-effective.

Print copies have limited distribution opportunities.

Thanks to POD services like KDP Print, you don’t need to worry about stuffing your garage with hundreds of print copies of your book that you can’t sell. That being said, it is still significantly harder to sell print editions than ebooks.

It’s not impossible. You can easily call up libraries and airport stores and arrange for print copies to be made available, but this technique takes a lot of time and effort compared to uploading an ebook to an online store like Amazon or Kobo.

Paperbacks cost time and money.

If you’re really sold on going big with paperback, be prepared to throw in a lot of time and money. This field is much more demanding than ebooks. You’ll need to travel, call stores and locations you believe could sell your book. You’ll need to buy extra copies and manage all the extra expenses that come with it.


Adding a print edition to your ebook is incredibly effective.

I believe that going primarily print is a dangerous route to choose, but if you’re using print as an addition to your ebook products, you might be in luck!

Want credibility? Go print.

It’s hard to doubt the credibility of a printed book. If you’re looking to impress friends and family or look more legitimate on an online storefront, print is a great step you can take. Even though you’ll likely sell far more copies of your ebook, you’ll be better able to erase all doubt in others about the seriousness of your writing if you can produce physical copies.

Want to treat your readers?

Printed books carry more credibility than ebooks, and they also provide readers with a more deluxe reading experience of your books. This is great when hosting giveaways and drawing new readers into your crowd.

The more income streams, the better!

A simple way to grow your income is by creating as many separate income streams as possible. Your ebook format is one income stream (and a solid one), but you need alternatives if you really want to flourish. This is why most authors who add ebook editions do so: it spares you from putting all your eggs in one basket and allows you to reach a large swath of readers who would otherwise have gone overlooked.

Final verdict on print editions:

Should you add a print edition?

Sooner or later, yes. Print copies do sell and serve a multitude of purposes for you as a writer, and they can be valuable tools later down the road.

However, if you’re just starting out and wondering what the best way to go is, stick with the economic and simple ebook. You’ll be better able to make back your expenses and start building a reputation--without the hassle and heartache.

Please join my group of self-publishing fiction writers on Facebook or comment below for more discussion, and feel free to save the summary graphic below for your own use.


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