Are Paperbacks Necessary?

Most writers know that 2011 was a fantastic year for self-published writers, particularly in the world of e-books. Amazon sold millions of Kindles and aggressively marketed their programs for self-publishers. More importantly, readers bought the books! Even the large publishing houses seemed to recognize the importance of e-books and undiscovered writers (the Amanda Hocking story). 2012 may still bring strong sales but the “shock” to the publishing world may be a thing of the past. There is no question that e-books AND self-publishing are here to stay.

One question, however, is whether a writer should still publish their books in print form. According to the site,, 19 (!!) self-published writers cracked the top 100 in Kindle sales. That is no small number when you consider the competition. After checking out the Kindle archives for January of 2012 myself, I discovered that only 11 of those authors chose to print their books. That means 8 authors only published in e-book form. Many writers and self-publishing advocates have stated that if a writer must choose only one format, e-book is it. That seems obvious. However, is it still worth it to publish in print form?

I personally love to hold a book in my hands and turn the pages. Yet, I have also read books in digital format and the ease and convenience cannot be denied. Is it reasonable to assume the two formats can co-exist for years to come? Do enough readers want them to? As a writer (and reader), I hope they can. I’m planning on using both formats for a variety of reasons. First, my mother will want a hard copy. She may use a computer and a cellphone but I don’t expect her to get carried away. Second, I would like to see my book on a shelf somewhere, even if the only place is my own bookcase. Yet, if I had to choose only one, like most writers, I would opt for the e-book over print. Let’s face it, books in digital form are the most practical way to get your work out there to people who love to read. And after all, isn’t that why we write?

Published by K.L. Murphy

Author of Her Sister's Death and The Detective Cancini Mysteries

5 thoughts on “Are Paperbacks Necessary?

  1. It *is* sort of like going to the gym, isn’t it? I’m not one of those who says they live to write each day…it’s mostly the deadlines hanging over my head that keep me going. On the days when I’m not working on my manuscript, I feel like I’m sort of building up ideas and running into characters and listening out for cool words. That’s writing, too. 🙂

    1. Thanks for the comment, Elizabeth. Although I hadn’t really thought about it, you’re right. When I’m walking the dogs and thinking about plot and character, it is a form of writing. I also agree that deadlines are another great motivator. Here’s to all writers finding their motivation!

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