Ebooks are Not Optional (and Vice Versa)

Ebooks are Not Optional (and Vice Versa)One question I’m asked often is whether or not I think it’s important to have an ebook edition for a book. The answer is almost always an emphatic Yes. The ebook market has exploded in recent years. If your book is in print, I can assure you that you will miss out on readers if you don’t also have it in ebook format. Many authors will tell you that their ebook sales keep pace with, or even exceed, their print book sales.

I will admit that I am a convert. I’m also a former bookstore owner and die hard book lover. For many years I have taken pride in filling many shelves in my home with hundreds of books. But then I discovered the joys of reading on the Kindle and iPad. I can get on a plane with a whole library of reading choices and no longer have to stuff my suitcase full of books. Today, when I want to buy a new book, I always check to see if it’s available in Kindle format first. Many of your readers are doing the same thing.

The only time that an ebook doesn’t make sense is when your book is more like a workbook. Ebook readers can’t write in an ebook. However, you can always convert a workbook to an ebook and then offer readers and downloadable PDF for the worksheets.

And by the way, the reverse is also true. If you’ve published in ebook format only, you are likely missing out on sales since a large part of the population still prefers to hold a book in their hands. A printed book is also tangible. You can’t autograph an ebook and it’s difficult, though not impossible, to sell them at the back of the room for speaking engagements (some people handle this by providing a postcard with a coupon code to download the ebook, but this can be confusing for readers who are technophobes). If you care about attracting media coverage, then a printed book is essential because most media professionals believe that you must have a printed book to call yourself an author.

Bottom line: format your book as an ebook too. It’s inexpensive to do, and will help you reach far more readers.

1 Comment on "Ebooks are Not Optional (and Vice Versa)"

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  1. martha hart says:

    Well, this makes sense for some authors, but not all of us. I make (print) books where text is fully integrated with design: layout, graphics, photographs. It won’t transfer well to ebook formats and I’m not willing to dilute it by removing the visuals.

    Since I work on long term, research based projects for what is a pretty small audience, rather than making a living with these, I suspect I don’t fit your typical nonfiction author profile. Just wanted to say that there are other options than having to produce a digital version.

    Cheers,

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