Preparing to self-publish a book includes a lot of decisions, including what formats will be available. The easiest choice is to publish an e-book, but there are also several options for print-on-demand physical books.
Each format (e-book or physical) has its own requirements for formatting, as well as its own publishing terms, royalty payments, and so on. Researching the options for my first book
has made me wonder about the pros and cons of each format, from both a reader and author perspective.
As a reader, I’ve mostly switched to e-books for recreational reading. Novels, short story collections, biographies, literary magazines, and non-fiction books (if they don’t have a lot of charts, graphs, equations, etc.) are great on an e-reader.
I love that the e-books can be read in larger fonts and that (some) e-readers have screen lights for reading in the dark. It’s also much easier to have a large collection of e-books, since they don’t need a lot of actual, real-world shelf space.
But there are some books that I do still prefer in physical form. Mainly, that means books with a lot of pictures, textbooks, workbooks, and reference books. If I’m going to be studying from a book, or using it as a practical guide for something like yoga or meditation, I like having it physically in my hands.
Now that I’m considering the formats as an author, I have mixed feelings. From a purely practical stance, it’s certainly easier to only publish an e-book. The manuscript only has to be formatted one way and it can be updated if a mistake is caught after publishing.
Yet, I also want to consider my potential readers and have formats that will work for more people. Besides, there is something nice about having a physical copy to set on my bookshelf. I’ve often bought my favorite books in both forms just to have one on my shelf and one to carry electronically.
While I do want to offer both formats, I’ll likely publish the e-book first, giving myself more time to research print-on-demand options and properly reformat the manuscript for print.
Where do you stand on e-books and paperbacks? Either as a reader or an author. Have you made the switch to e-books? Do you prefer to hold a book in your hand?
In an increasingly electronic world, I’m still finding my balance between digital convenience and physical substance. How about you?
*Update: The Insistence of Memory is now available in both eBook and paperback form!