If you’ve already put at least one eBook up on Amazon, you’ve seen the popup at the end of the process. The one where they invite you to turn it into a paperback, so you can sell more books in more different formats.
If you haven’t already put at least one eBook up on Amazon, there’s…um…this popup at the end of the process. It invites you to turn the ebook into a paperback, so you can…um…sell more books in more different formats.
This is generally a good idea, although it’s not without its pitfalls, challenges, and complexities. They start with whether or not you should have a print book version.
First Question: Do You Want a Print Version?
Generally, the answer to this question is yes. No industry reports show authors making fewer sales if they offer their books in both formats. Offering a print version of your book won’t double your royalties automatically, but it will act as a force-multiplier for your efforts to increase sales.
Before Amazon’s print-on-demand service, print books required a high front-end investment, and solid management and fulfillment chops on your part. Compared to ebooks, they were a losing game. But now Amazon takes on the effort, cost, and risk. They charge more than you’d pay on a large print run of your own, but not enough more to not be worth it. There’s no top-level reason to not go print…but there are a few detail reasons.
Your print book must be sharp and professional, with an excellent cover and solid layout and design. This will cost you between $100 and $1,000 for quality work, up to $5,000 if you really want something custom-made and beautiful. Remember:
- You will need a new cover, one that wraps around the whole book. It can have the same front look as your ebook, but you’ll have to at least incorporate it.
- Interior layout is more challenging, and creates more problems, with the print version.
- It takes much longer to fix any internal errors you spot after production.
- Book design elements like spacing and font choice matter more with a print book.
If you lack the money to hire professionals for this, or the time and skills to do it yourself, we recommend against doing a print version right now. Instead, you should save at least half of your ebook royalties each month until you’ve got $1,000 set aside. Then spend that money to get your ebook professionally formatted for print.
For everybody else, yes you should have a print version of your book.
Know Before You Go: Print Book from eBooks on Kindle
Even though Kindle makes it seem easy to go print with your ebook, under no circumstances should you click “yes” on that popup. That way lies a badly formatted, amateurish print paperback. Instead, you want to start your print book as its own project, with a series of questions already answered and a number of tasks already accomplished.
After step six, your job isn’t over…but it is simpler. Moving forward, just keep promoting the print version right alongside your e-book version. Doubling your sales won’t happen overnight. Honestly, it might never fully happen. But we guarantee you’ll sell more books than if you hadn’t.