3 Types of Self-Publishing

Explore the 3 types of self-publishing: print, e-books, & audio

Three Types of Self-PublishingSelf-publishing, once vilified as an exercise in vanity, is now accepted as a viable option by most everyone – except perhaps those who earn a living in traditional publishing.

There are three segments to self-publishing: e-publishing (for Kindle and other e-readers), POD (print-on-demand), and audio books. Some POD vendors will also produce an e-book version, allowing for one-stop-shopping.

Of the three, POD may be more satisfying to the author, giving him or her something tangible to touch, see, and show. Whereas e-pub may be more profitable, having no printing, storing, or shipping costs. Audio books reside in the middle, having a higher production cost than e-books but also enjoying the ease of digital distribution. Ideally, the self-published author should consider all three, starting with e-books, followed by print books, and wrapping up with audio books.

When it comes to profit per unit sold, both print and e-books surpass traditional publishing, whose royalties are much smaller in comparison. Of course, traditional publishers have a more extensive reach, greater connections, and bookstore distribution, so the lower payment per book is often more than offset with a much higher sales volume.

Whatever route an author takes, there are pluses and minuses to each, so the key is to become educated, know your strengths, weaknesses, and available time. Then find the best match for your situation, personality, and goals.

Half of Avid Book Readers Prefer Print

Readers who purchase many books each year evenly divide on print versus digital

Half of Avid Book Readers Prefer PrintIn 2012, Book Business magazine, reporting on a Verso Advertising study, noted that 49.7 percent of avid readers refuse to go paperless. They define avid book readers as those who purchase more than ten books per year. Notice they use the word purchase and don’t say those who read ten or more books. I certainly read more than ten books annually, but I’m not sure if I buy ten.

Perhaps even more significant, this is an increase from 40 percent in 2009. Does this signal a digital backlash among power readers?

Interestingly, only 2.1 percent of regular readers oppose using e-readers.

So while many readers embrace going paperless, the avid readers — those who account for most of the books bought — are evenly divided on this issue. Deciding to publish only in e-book format effectively eliminates half of the most dedicated book buyers from purchasing your book.

But that was then. What about now?

I searched for studies that are more current and couldn’t find any that parallel this one. Okay, I spent a couple minutes looking. There must be some out there – somewhere.

What I do know is that I hear less hype and less enthusiasm for e-books now than I did four years ago. From a personal reader perspective, I currently read more printed books than e-books, whereas four years ago I did the opposite. As a book buyer, however, my preference has always been towards purchasing print books; I have never bought many e-books.

Of course my personal perceptions mean little when it comes to formulating a publishing strategy, but I think it is safe to say, don’t ignore print.

Do you know of any recent studies on this topic? What is your personal experience on reading and buying books? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Why Printed Books Are Still Relevant

Though ebooks receive all of the hype, printed books are still important, for both readers and authors

Why Printed Books Are Still RelevantPeople like to talk about what is new, what is exciting, and what is fresh. That’s why the book publishing industry has so much buzz about reading digital books and listening to audio books.

I’m not going to dismiss those options – because they’re exciting opportunities for authors – but I do caution against overreacting. While digital and audio are fun, sexy, and viable, print is still king. Seriously.

Printed books have a proven history. Printed books have ardent supporters. And printed books do not require a device or a charged battery. They are always on and always available.

Print still has a role to play. Just look at libraries and bookstores, especially the local bookshops that have figured out how to compete against the national chains, online shopping, and electronic book consumption.

And don’t ignore the fact that Amazon has actually opened a physical bookstore. They wouldn’t do that on a lark. Though it may be years before we know why, be assured they have a well-reasoned business strategy for doing so.

There is also mounting evidence that younger generations prefer printed books. They like to unplug and immerse themselves into a good read. And at colleges that only provide e-textbooks, some students, out of frustration, will actually print their own copy of the text using their PC printer.

While some independent authors shun print and do only e-publication, they miss an important, and possibly growing, market. A success book publication strategy needs to stand on three legs: ebooks, audio books, and print books.

How do you consume books? What is your favorite format? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

A Salute to Print Books

On The Media discusses books in their March 11 podcast

A Salute to Print BooksThe March 11 episode of On The Media, titled “Print is Back, Back Again” shares an array of interesting segments on books. It’s too good not to share.

Here are the topics covered:

These segments give those who read books and write books and publish books things to celebrate, things to make us smile, and things to shake our heads over. Yet put together they salute books, book writing, and book publishing. Long live printed books.

You can listen to the entire show or select specific topics using the above links. (It is also available through iTunes.)

If you love books, you’ll love this episode of On The Media.

How do you view the future of printed books? Which of these segments most intrigues you? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Will Your Book Be Around in 100 Years?

My mom recently found an old book in her basement. My great grandfather’s name is written on the inside cover, along with his address in Chicago. The book was published in 1914. Yes, that’s right, 1914 – one hundred years ago.
Review of: Union And Communion or Thoughts on the Song of Solomon
My mom had never seen the book before. We don’t know why my father kept it, or the motivation of his mother before him. Yet we have the writing of J Hudson Taylor (a missionary to China, if you’re interested) passed down as a family heirloom. The book, by the way, is Union and Communion. Amazingly, it’s available today from Amazon as a Kindle download or used paperback. The copy I hold is a third edition hardcover (the only option back then).

This begs a thought-provoking question: How long will our writing last? Will the book we write today be around in one hundred years?

I think every writer hopes their work will outlive them. I know I do. That’s why we need to make the words we write today count, words that will last, words that will inspire future generations.

Then maybe, in one hundred years, people will still be talking about, selling, and reading our books.

Long Live the Printed Word

For all the hype about e-books and e-readers, along with news coverage about brick-and-mortar bookstores closing, it may come as a surprise that more printed books are still being consumed than e-books. Though a tipping point may soon come, the printed word still reigns.

Despite this trend towards digital, there will always be a place for the printed word. As a justification for this assessment, I cite Star Trek. Yes, I’m using a sci-fi show to predict the future.

While e-readers and the electronic dissemination of information are the norm on Star-Trek — as it is becoming for us — printed books are not absent in the sci-fi future. As I recall, both Kirk and Picard enjoy reading hardcover books.

While this may be largely a nostalgic effort to connect to the past and experience the tactile pleasure of touching what we read, of taking in the sweet smell of paper and ink, it’s a yearning that will not go away — not for future fictional space travelers, the writers behind them, or for us.

To paraphrase Spock, “May books live long and prosper.”