The Book Is DeadLike many other authors, I began self publishing with paperbacks following the advent of POD (Print on Demand) publishing. It was a truly wonderful way to take control of your own book publishing and have the choice of selling the books yourself, or making them available to both online retailers and local book stores.

There was even a good number of orders for signed books and I recall spending a lot of time at the post office mailing off copies to all parts of the world. I must say it was one of the most enjoyable times for me as an independent author publisher.

Then a few years ago, the ebook arrived and naturally I began offering electronic versions of all my books. As many thought at the time, I was quite convinced that ebooks would simply be a format popular with the geeky and techie crowd and perhaps younger readers more attuned to hand held devices.

On many posts about self publishing here on my blog I have always advised publishing in both paperback and ebook formats, as the ebook phenomenom hasn’t been and still isn’t a worldwide success. However, in most English speaking markets the ebook has won the day. As a writer in English I have to now admit the paperback is almost dead and just about buried for me as a self publisher. The time, effort and expense involved in producing a paperback version is just not worth the return any longer.

As many people do, I still love holding a book in my hand, smelling the freshly printed paper, or the scent of the aging of the pages in old books. The sound of the spine crackling under a little pressure and licking my finger to turn the pages. Of finding an old book in my book case and thumbing the pages and a long forgotten postcard dropping out after waiting years to be used again as a page marker.

But then again I have to be realistic as I was just as passionate about my collection of vinyl LPs, which I still have by the way, all neatly stacked away and never played. Simply admired from time to time.

Forget About Publishing a Paperback
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5 thoughts on “Forget About Publishing a Paperback

  • 07/03/2012 at 3:48 pm

    We all love the smell and feel of real books Derek, but as you point out ebooks are on the rise. My first self published sci-fi novel Turning Point is an ebook, now out on Amazon. From now on all of my upcoming books will be in ebook form. :)

  • 07/03/2012 at 8:50 pm

    Hey Derek
    I self-published my first book Lila’s Child ((POD with AuthorHouse) in 2002 when an agent wanted to charge me $4000 just to talk with me about traditional publishing. I sold a few thousand copies in both paperback and hardcover but very few e-copies… so I ended up dropping that option. Once in a while someone would write to me privately requesting an e-file of the book which I sold for less than half what the print books were selling for.
    On a whim, I submitted an e-file to Amazon in 2006 and promptly forgot about it. A few months later I realized there was a good deal more money in my checking account than I could account for… a rarity as usually the opposite happens. Upon perusing my bank statement I saw numerous deposits from amazon misc. Then it hit me… my e-book was selling… that’s where the extra money came from.
    Now, the e-book outsells the print books roughly ten to one. So while I still offer my first book in print I’ve opted to sell my next books exclusively as e-files on Amazon and Smashwords. I’d love to feel the books in my hand… to be able to leaf through them and yes… smell them… but for now, the e-book seems the best way for me to go so far as publishing.
    And yes… I still have vinyl LPs lurking in the back of my closet as well…

  • 07/03/2012 at 9:14 pm

    If I go the self-publishing route, I’ll definitely do POD as well as e-books, if only for myself. :)

    But I do also know a lot of other peeps who don’t own an e-reader and are never likely to, who might well buy a paperback. I don’t think that can be only my own circle of acquaintance.

    However, I can see that the e-book thing is easier to set up, and probably has a faster turnover. :)

  • 08/03/2012 at 9:45 pm

    Hi Derek,

    Loved reading your post–I’ve only recently made the decision to publish all my future books in eBook format first then wait several months before bringing out the paperback. Building the paperback for my debut, Treasure Me, was fairly painless. Second time around? The publisher was slow, slow, slow on building my March release, The Tree of Everlasting Knowledge. I’m wondering if some readers will mind waiting for the paperback version of future books–which always takes time.

  • 10/03/2012 at 10:44 am

    great job
    very nice photo
    “Forget About Publishing a Paperback ” nice tittle

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