Print Books vs. eBooks: An Overview for Self-Publishing Authors

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eBooks have become a mainstay of the publishing industry in recent years. The projected collapse of physically printed books has not happened. The doomsday seers were wrong.

eBook sales in the United States fell marginally to $983 million in 2019 from a year earlier. After several years of double-digit decreases in eBook sales, the slower growth rate was welcome. Hardcover and paperback books continue to dominate the market, with sales of $3 billion and 2.5 billion dollars in 2019.

The COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 was a windfall to print media. Printed media sales increased 8.2% year over year to 751 million copies at the height of the lockdowns. The book-buying frenzy was attributed to increased spare time and a desire to educate children at home.

While eBooks benefit the publishing industry, they can be difficult for readers to navigate. However, if you’re used to wandering the aisles of a local bookshop and perhaps reading the first chapter before buying, you can still do it with e-books with a bit of tweaking.

  • Many readers prefer print books because they have the feel of a book. It’s comfortable to feel the paper while turning the pages.
  • Even high-end e-readers can’t compete with the quality of illustrations on paper
  • the eBook offers a variety of font styles and sizes.
  • Thousands of titles can easily be stored on a single reading device.

The Case for Print Books

When comparing the quality of the illustrations in the two media, readers may perceive the print copies to be preferable.

Many titles, including well-loved classics, are now available in hardcover and Kindle formats. However, with the reduced size of the images and the relative difficulty of switching between tale text and annotations, some may find the Kindle version wanting. In addition, when reading on an electronic device rather than a paper book, some readers endure eye strain.

Print Books Cost Analysis

Print books are still slightly more expensive than e-books, but the difference isn’t significant. For example, the Kindle edition of President Barack Obama’s memoir, A Promised Land, is present $17.99, while the hardcover edition is $23.96. On the other hand, the Guardians, a previous bestseller by John Grisham, is available for $9.99 on Kindle, $9.64 in paperback, and $14 in hardback.

In whatever format, classics are an incredible steal. For $2.99 on Kindle, you can acquire Charles Dickens: The Complete Works, while Bleak House is $5.95 in paperback. Of course, both rates are bargains because the publishers are not required to pay anyone for the rights.

The Case for eBooks

Hardcover books are difficult to transport. However, if you’re a voracious reader planning a trip or simply heading to a coffee shop, an e-reader or iPad will be significantly less of a burden than a book or a stack.

The pricing disparity is narrowing. For example, an e-book may cost the same as a paperback edition but less than a hardback edition.

There’s also the pleasure of having a complete library at your fingers, not to mention an endless supply just a click away, available to download.

Furthermore, e-book purchasers benefit from the internet’s advantages to all consumers: There are no limitations in terms of space. Almost everything that has ever been published is always available.

There are various disadvantages. An e-reader or other electronic gadget must be recharged. Specific e-readers, e-ink, or mobile device screens are difficult to read in direct sunlight.

The Narrowing Of The Price Gap Between Digital And Print Media

When it comes to newly published books from big publishers, an e-book is not noticeably lower than the price of its paper version. Therefore, the major book publishers successfully convinced Amazon, the most prominent online bookstore, to increase the prices of e-books, which ultimately resulted in a rise of almost $5 for each e-book.

Publishers must factor in many expenses, such as office space, utilities, staff perks, and salary. In addition, printing, editing, marketing, and distribution are all additional charges. With e-book editions, only some of the expenditures, notably those associated with printing and distribution, are eliminated.

The problem is that many readers believe that e-books should be free or at least significantly less expensive than print books. According to some publishers, printing a book is only about 10% of the total cost. By removing this step, a book’s price would only fall by roughly $2.70, lowering the average price from around $27 to $24.30.

Amazon is Big But Is Not the Entire Planet

Dedicated e-book readers can read for free on sites other than Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

The organization Project Gutenberg offers 60,000 free downloaded books, most of which are classics that have outlived their copyright protection. The website Free Classic Books does just that, with an alphabetized list of authors ranging from Louisa M. Alcott to P.G. Wodehouse.

Google Books boasts that it offers over 10 million free books to download, including textbooks, government documents, and literary masterpieces.

The Cost of eBooks

eBooks don’t necessarily require e-ink devices to work. Instead, you can use a phone app, a laptop, an Apple iPad, or another tablet device. However, Amazon’s e-readers are now priced between $89.99 and $279.99, with the higher end including tablet-like features. In addition, the Barnes & Noble Nook is available in two models, starting at $119.99.

Kobo readers, which range in price from $133 to $168, are developed specifically for consumers who borrow e-books from libraries. At under $500, the Onyx Boox Note is a whole tablet designed for students who need to sift through textbooks and paperwork.

Considerations: The Publishing Industry

While e-books eliminate some of the traditional publishing costs, they do so at the expense of others. Additional technology costs include preparing the e-book to be downloaded and stored correctly on various electronic devices and browsers.

A part of the e-book price must be given to online vendors such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble, whether the book is printed or downloaded. This might be anywhere between 30% and 50% of the sale price.

Treading the Unconventional Path of Self-Publishing or Indie Publishing

Smaller publishers and authors have more pricing flexibility, but they incur many of the same expenses.

They must provide the online distributor a share of their e-book sales, and they must engage an illustrator to produce their cover art unless they are graphic designers.

Most self-published authors must engage someone to convert their publications to e-book format. They also must cover marketing and advertising expenditures to get their books noticed.

However, e-books have a reduced overall production cost, reflected in their cheaper pricing than print copies.

When self-published authors finish their first book, they must decide whether to self-publish or try their luck with established publishing houses.

What Is Self-Publishing About?

The term “self-publishing” refers to the practice by which an author completes all aspects of the publishing process independently or with the assistance of their resources. This may include printing, editing, proofreading, formatting, book cover design, and book promotion. Every step is carried out devoid of the involvement of a traditional publishing house or publisher.

Advantages of Self-Publishing

Whether you’re producing a novel, a collection of short stories, or a nonfiction book, self-publishing gives you complete creative control. In addition, it allows you to keep a more significant portion of the revenues. Consider the following benefits of self-publishing while writing your next book:

One of the advantages of pursuing the self-publishing path is retaining complete creative control over your work. Unfortunately, gatekeepers abound in the traditional publishing sector, with opinions on your book’s content, cover, and even title.

You will have complete authority over your newly written publications through independent publishing. Traditional publishing companies will not advise you otherwise if you decide to work with a particular cover designer. People who want complete control over their writing careers may find that self-publishing is an appealing option because it allows them to do so.

In traditional publishing partnerships, royalty rates typically range from 7 to 25 percent of the total revenue. The percentage is much closer to seventy for authors who publish their work independently. Therefore, if you have the same amount of book sales, you have the opportunity to earn more money through self-publishing as opposed to traditional publishing.

After you have completed the challenging work of writing your book, you will be excited to discover that it is now available for purchase in stores and online. When using self-publishing, the time it takes to go from completing a manuscript to having a finished product that is ready to be sold might be as low as one week.

Your electronic book can be uploaded to digital marketplaces in only six hours, and print on demand (POD) services can have it available in as little as twenty-four hours.No one becomes a New York Times bestselling author in a single day. So, in the end, if you’re a first-time writer, you’ll have a more challenging job attracting the publishing industry’s attention. Marketing your book becomes a priority.

Self-publishing your book can help you establish a fan base and an email list while also demonstrating that you know how to write a book to potential publishers. In addition, many successful authors began their careers by self-publishing, and creating an underground hit on your own may attract traditional book publishers’ notice in the future.

Drawbacks of Self-Publishing

Self-publishing has numerous advantages, but it also has certain disadvantages. The following are some of the drawbacks of self-publishing:

Traditional publishers provide a higher author platform for their authors, one of their main advantages. Being affiliated with a prominent publication provides a certain level of validation and reputation. Furthermore, big publishing houses have more resources and visibility, which increases the chances of critical acclaim, literary honors, and your book becoming a success. On the other hand, self-publishing will make it more challenging to attain your goal of becoming a household name like J.K. Rowling.

Traditional publishing services cover the costs of editing, design, printing, and marketing for print books. Those upfront fees are entirely on the author’s shoulders when self-publishing. In addition, book deals and monetary advances are frequently included in publishing deals.

Self-published authors are not eligible for advance payments.

Self-publishing offers no support system. Traditional publishers come with employees and resources who can help support your book, which is one of the most significant contrasts between traditional publishing and self-publishing services.

This means proofreaders, publicists, and professional editing services are all available. They can assist you in converting your writings to audiobooks or developing a comprehensive marketing campaign.

Depending on your requirements, the whole staff is at your disposal. With self-publishing, the author—or the freelancers who handle book design and copyediting—is responsible for everything.

Print distribution is more difficult to obtain: Traditional publishers generate money by printing books and selling them to bookshops.

It might be challenging to break into significant bookstores as self-published authors because they frequently have exclusive relationships with major publishers. In addition, self-publishing will be tough to attain if your idea of publishing success is seeing your book in a large bookshop.

Getting the Right Help You Need for Self-Publishing

Self-publishing is not an easy task. But things can get better. Things can be more manageable when working with a professional book marketing company comprised of published authors.

The Content Experts PH is one such agency. We provide everything you could need to get your book printed or distributed digitally. We can also help you create everything else you need for marketing your book online:

Simply email us today to get started!

Published by Marius D. Carlos, Jr.

Journalist, copyeditor and digital content specialist. A lover of life and all things pop culture and mass media. Accepting content projects from all over the world! Email me: | Find me rocking content SEO here:

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