Guest Blog Post–Paperbacks vs Ebooks: Is it really worth it? by Alana Terry

2544890Our guest blog post is from Alana Terry, an indie author whose book, The Beloved Daughter was a winner in both the Women of Faith writing contest and the Book Club Network book of the month competition.  She gives us some insight on the value of paperbacks over ebooks.
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With so many readers opting for ebooks, may self-published authors wonder why anyone would bother printing a paperback at all? It’s true that ebook sales have now surpassed sales for print books. Especially in the indie book movement, it seems like ebooks are the way to go.

There’s a lot to be said for that. With ebooks, you don’t have to worry about actual merchandise. You don’t have to ship anything out. Formatting is quite a bit easier too, believe it or not. When you’re publishing a print book, you need a full cover design (including that tricky spine whose width changes with your page count) as opposed to just a rectangular thumbnail. You’ve got to worry about things like orphan words dangling at the end of paragraphs and blank lines or awkward section breaks that just don’t come into account on an ebook.

If you’re a self-published author like I am, you are probably going to sell a lot more ebooks than paperbacks. Face it. Most people would rather pay $0.99 to $2.99 for your electronic version than $16 or $18 to get a paperback sent to them. With ebooks, your readers can start reading your novel right away, and they don’t have to pay any shipping fees.

If you don’t count the books I gave away free during a five-day promo, I’ve sold about five ebooks for every paperback someone’s ordered. If you include the ebooks that my readers picked up for free, that ratio jumps to well over a hundred ebooks per print copy.

Even with those numbers, however, I’ve made significantly more money with the sales from my paperbacks. I’m not just talking per book. I’m talking overall royalties. It’s not too hard to figure out. When one of my novels sells on Amazon in its paperback version, I get about $4.50 from that one sale. When my ebooks sell, I only get about a dollar, give or take based on how I’ve priced my ebook for a given time period. In other words, I have to sell five ebooks to match the cost of one paperback.

But that’s just when my readers order from Amazon. I also have copies of my books that I sell at events. With these books, after I order them from CreateSpace (Amazon’s self-publishing service for paperbacks) and sell them, I’m making about $10 profit per book. If I want to earn a hundred bucks, all I need to do is sell ten paperbacks. Find the right event, and that’s not too much of a challenge. To make the same amount of money, I’d need to sell about a hundred ebooks.

Some self-published authors will still choose to stick solely to electronic versions. And I can’t blame them. Like I said, the formatting for paperbacks takes more time, and lots of authors don’t want to deal with the hassle of storing merchandise, shipping orders, etc. But if you have the time (or the money to pay someone else) to get a paperback version formatted and uploaded to CreateSpace, you may find an additional source of income to supplement your ebook sales.

Alana Terry is the author of the inspirational suspense novel, The Beloved Daughter, set in North Korea. The Beloved Daughter was a winner in both the Women of Faith writing contest and the Book Club Network book of the month competition. She has also published a special-needs memoir and a time-travel series for kids.

You can connect with Alana on twitter at @aboynamedsilas, or see her Amazon author page.

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