More on E-books vs. Printed Books

As I wrote in an earlier post Are Paperbacks Necessary?, I like the idea of self-publishing both in e-book and printed form. While it is mostly a personal preference, there are others out there who seem to agree. For more on this subject, check out the latest post on IndieReader – Are We Suffering from E-Reader Fatigue? The opinions of authors, bookstore owners, and publishers seem to reflect the true mood of the market. The conclusion is that both forms of books are here to stay. This is great news for writers and readers, too!

However, I do think it’s important for an author contemplating whether or not to self-publish their book in one or both formats to consider the needs of the potential readers. For example, my daughter purchased a book for me on self-publishing (she’s a sweet girl, isn’t she?). She went to Amazon, searched for titles, and ordered the book. On Christmas morning, I unwrapped it and before the week was out, I had read it cover to cover. Why, you might ask, did she order me a printed book rather than just buying the cheaper, e-book version? Well, she did it because she knew me. She knew I would dog-ear some pages, highlight sections, and re-read several passages over the next few weeks. My point is that certain books, like this one, are a bit of a reference book and therefore, lend themselves easily to the printed format. It should be noted that my daughter did not even know she had bought a self-published book until I told her a few days ago. She was impressed by the quality and the author.

Fiction, however, can be a more subjective matter. If you write historical romances and a large share of your market is represented by older readers, you may need to include a printed book. My own mother, for example, is one of those readers and I promise you she has never read an e-book in her life. Will she at some point? I don’t know but I wouldn’t count on it. As a writer, you don’t want to lose those readers. But if your books are more along the lines of the Twilight series, I don’t know if it would make a significant difference in total sales. Same with science fiction and paranormal. Whether true or not, my instincts tell me readers of those genres are tech savvy and forward thinking. They have e-readers and use them.

Finally, just as you should do when making the decision whether to self-publish or not, carefully weigh the pros and cons of printing in only one format vs. both. Of course, you can always go back and add another format, but why not start out ahead?

As a writer and self-publisher, where do you stand?

3 Replies to “More on E-books vs. Printed Books”

  1. I think authors should consider both methods. Not everyone has a kindle, nook, or whatever, so if you want to try and reach as many readers as you can, you should have something available for everyone. I know if you don’t have a kindle then you can download the story as a .PDF file onto your computer. But, most people don’t want to do that (or don’t know how).

    Keep smiling,
    Yawatta

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  2. While I love my kindle, there are certain types of books I prefer to read in a paper version (non-fiction in particular). I’m more likely to write extensive notes in the margins of those books. With fiction, kindle’s highlight function is sufficient. You’re right to consider your audience when weighing whether to have a paper option. My parents don’t own a kindle, and I’m sure they never will!

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    1. My parents are the same. I also agree with you about nonfiction in particular. Also, with favorite books, I love having the pages between my fingers. I love my Kindle but sometimes I’m still a little old-fashioned!

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