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11 Reasons Why You Should Offer Print Books Too

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Last October I wrote a blog post why every author should offer print versions of their e-books. 
In the meantime I discovered even more reasons to have at least a small amount of printed books
listed.  Read on:

E-book authors might be happy with their sales on Amazon, Apple, Kobo or Barnes & Noble. You might have even turned it into an audio book. But the questions for a “real” book, paper back or hard-cover copy from conservative friends or elderly family members are nagging… And wouldn’t it be nice to walk into a Chapters or Baker & Taylor or one of these rare independent book shops and see your book in the shelf?

You will not earn a fortune, not even a living, but for a couple of months it is a nice pocket change. Only months… yes, because longer than this, barely any book will stay in the book store, unless it really is a bestseller and gets re-printed.

If you go the indie route and choose for sample the POD services and worldwide distribution through Lightning Source, (provided you have at least 3 books to be considered a small publisher) your book is printed on demand and will never get discarded (good: no-return-policy in POD worldwide distribution). See my blog from last month How to Distribute Your Book Worldwide.
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All you need is the spine / back of your cover designed and professionally formatted (graphic designer, book designer, lay-outer). To work with Lightning Source you need to have at least three books to be considered a publisher and you will not receive technical help. Using CreateSpace as a POD service is the better choice if you are not a computer geek and you have less than three books.
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Due to the high print-on-demand printing costs, you need to sell a 180-page fiction book for more than $10 to make any profit at all. Still you don’t make real money with your paper book, unless you are a marketing pro, very entrepreneurial and able to organize a small publisher business and invest in your written work and in letterpress print.
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Role models are enough out there and they will tell you exactly how to do start as a real publisher with their books and blogs – from Dan Poynter, Aaron Shephard to John Kremer, Joanna Penn and Joel Friedman. Author David Gaughran wrote in one of his blogs: Making Money from Paperbacks  “I was really slow to see the potential in print, and it was probably the biggest mistake I made over the last year.”
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But then again: Why on earth should you go with a paper edition of your e-book?

  1. The majority of book buyers still chooses printed books at the moment (that will change)
  2. You can give out review copies to newspaper/magazine or book blog reviewers
  3. To be hosted at local media / TV interviewers who want to show a copy of your book
  4. To sell your book easier to libraries
  5. To participate in a Goodreads giveaway
  6. To sell your book to those who really don’t want an e-Reader or just love paper books
  7. If you write non-fiction it is almost a must to offer it in paper as well
  8. You have an ISBN number and can get listed with Bowker at worldwide bookstores
  9. Physical books are just nicer to give on Christmas – unless you put an e-book on a new e-Reader and wrap it
  10. To sell more e-books! Yes – because they seem to cost so much less in comparison…
  11. To list your book in more categories / genres on Amazon: per book type you are allowed to choose two categories / genres. Two print and two digital versions – which increases your books’ visibility and also shows you exactly in which genre you have the most success.
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And last but not least: Think hurricanes or other reasons for power outage. I know e-Readers have batteries. But guess what: just yesterday my Kindle went dead and needed to be re-charged! With heavy thunderstorms around the house due to hurricane “Sandy”, I did not want to plug it in – and instead I read a paper book surrounded by lots of solar lamps and candles.

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Will Apple iBooks OWN your Books?

Apple just had its best quarter ever: 15.4 million iPads, 37 million iPhones and 140 million downloads on Christmas Day alone. Nevertheless, they did something really stupid:

iBook Author softwareEven so the most glaring omission from the 1.0 version of iBooks Author is the ability to export ebooks in EPUB format and the only export formats iBooks Author 1.0 supports are iBooks, PDF, and plain text documents. However, you are able to create your own e-books in a free, sleek and easy-to-use app and put them into iBooks. You can add galleries, widgets, and other media to enhance your e-book. How could writers not like the pitch?

Mashable Tech wrote:
Apple writes “IMPORTANT NOTE: If you charge a fee for any book or other work you generate using this Apple software (a “Work”), you may only sell or distribute such Work through Apple iBookstore and such distribution will be subject to a separate agreement with Apple.”

What are the implications of this? Essentially, Apple is asking its users to help add content to iBooks (my comment: “for free, which means you work for them, but your are not paid…”) Not only that, but they will take a cut every time you sell the e-book (your “Work”). And not only that, but even if you wanted to port your work elsewhere, you can’t. As Segan writes, “Apple owns the creative process of anyone who uses [Author].” Has Apple gone too far?

Free software “iBooks Author”?
Well in my opinion it is legally not correct and it is only a matter of time until someone sues or authors band together and start either a class-action case or refrain from using iBook Author software.
Until then… Authors could possibly write a simalar book with a different title, ISBN and cover image and sell it through Amazon or other retailers.

 

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Does Apple launch a Genuine Self-Publishing Program?



This would be a huge step forward for Apple to compete with Amazon and Barnes & Noble and would tremendously benefit independent authors who want to submit directly to Apple and not be forced to go through various Aggregators in order to have their ebooks submitted to the iPad.

One of the advantages that Amazon and Barnes&Noble have over Apple, is their own self-publishing program. Even though Apple does have a little known process to publish your own books – it involves a validated ePub file, ISBN identifiers from the Library of Congress and a willingness to run the daunting work of Apple’s contracts, paperwork, and use iTunes Connect. This entire process is very time consuming and many users are even unaware of its existence.

Instead of dealing directly with Apple, self-published authors have been using official Aggregator’s such as; Ingram, INscribe Digital, LibreDigital or Lulu or Bookwire in Europe. Publishing Aggregator’s are proving to be a popular option for people to self-publish with because they help you along the entire process and normally submit to many other bookstores. But they have their downsites: Most of them appear officially as the publisher and get a nice junk out of your royalties. Be aware:  Even if these aggregators offer free upfront service to download to Apple, it will cut into your earnings, once your book is successful as they cut your royalties from Apple.

Who benefits from Apples new program?
If Apple does start their own self-pub service in the next few weeks many authors and publishers will adapt it because of Apples famous “ease of use” philosophy.  Small and medium size publishing companies and organizations right now publish rich media titles or kids books and sell them as apps. In the future they have the option to publish ebooks with their same Apple developer account while making the process more streamlined.

How Apple iBooks needs to compete with Amazon: Better author tools

Erica Sadun wrote a great article about the deficiencies of Apples current publisher program:
Apple’s iBooks program currently allows authors to self-publish ebooks. Authors create their own business built around iTunes Connect, just as they do for self-published apps.So where does Apple have room to improve?iBooks tools are frustrating. You can publish on Amazon with little more than an account, a doc file and a smile. For iBooks, you need validated ePub files, ISBN identifiers from the Library of Congress and a willingness to run the gauntlet of contracts, paperwork, and the hell that is iTunes Connect.

iTunes Connect
It’s not that iTunes Connect is so unusuable from a web page perspective, it’s that its servers are often so loaded that each request may take several minutes to complete for each region. You can lose an entire day of work just moving through paperwork details.

Amazon makes it so simple and intuitive to list books that when you have to move over to iTunes, the difference hits you right in the face. If Apple is to make its mark in iBooks, it has to simplify publishing for independents.

Read this great article doted with more valuable tips here:
http://www.tuaw.com/2012/01/05/how-apple-ibooks-needs-to-compete-with-amazon-better-author-too/

 

 

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Your Earnings for e-Books

 

e-book on the beach

e-book on the beach


Royalties at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Apple (iPad) e-book distributors / sellers:

All prices in US Dollar, percentage is from the e-books list price.
None of the Distributors pay royalties for free books or those over $200.

Amazon’s relatively strict pricing structure, which is meant to keep competitive in the e-book market, encourages that digital book prices are between $2.99 and $9.99, as well as 20% cheaper than the same book in paper-and-ink form.

 


AMAZON

$ 0.99 – 2.98 = 35%
$ 2.99 – 9.99 = 70% (minus $0.15 for each MB transfer)
$ 10.00 – 199.99 = 35%

BARNES & NOBLE

$ 0.99 – 2.98 = 40%
$ 2.99 – 9.99 = 65%
$ 10.00 – 199.99 = 40%

APPLE iPAD

$ 0.99 – 2.98 = 70%
$ 2.99 – 9.99 = 70%
$ 10.00 – 199.99 = 70%

 

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