Decision Tree: Ebook vs Print Book

(Note: this post was originally posted on Writers & Authors Resource Center)



One of the early decisions a self-publishing author has to make concerns what type of book will be published. Ebook? Print book? Both?  Naturally, there are a number of advantages and disadvantages in publishing one or the other type of book or both types. For that reason, I have concocted a decision tree listing the pros and cons. Many of these reasons would not be apparent to a first time author.

Comparison Tree: The table below lists pros and cons for print books and ebooks. I’m sure there are many more bullets that can be added under each header, but these are the major ones to my way of thinking.

Ebooks: Plus
Less expensive covers.
Faster publication cycle.
Instant global distribution.
Instant download and availability.
No book production costs since the book is a virtual
Book prices are much lower than print book prices
Author gets higher percentage of sales revenue (but on a lower book price).

Ebooks: Negative
Many readers don’t like e-readers and prefer to read a
print book.
Some ebook sellers sites are reader-hostile and are very
difficult to navigate.
Ebooks are difficult to sell at book fairs and other
Personal appearances.
Lower revenue per book sale.
Book stores can’t stock ebooks.

Print: Plus
Can be sold at book fairs etc.
Bookstore sales are possible.
Library sales are possible.

Print: Negative
More expensive cover.
Slower distribution.
Distribution may be restricted geographically.
Publishing the book may entail distribution fees.
More expensive production costs.
Distributor sales suck up almost all the revenue leaving
little for the author.
Book store returns are a problem.

I don’t know if this comparison tree will help or hinder your decision. The lists may include issues and questions that you haven’t considered. That’s good. The more issues and questions you are aware of, the less likely you will be to make a mistake.

If you have a question, contact me at