I spent much of this morning reading about trends in the sales of print vs. digital books. So what did I learn?
Well, the good news is that the traditional book definitely isn’t dead. Indie booksellers and traditionalist rejoice!
But here’s another thing that’s important to know: whether your book will sell well in print or ebook form may very well depend on your genre. Consider this…
- Your nonfiction book will sell better in print. I would philosophize that this is because nonfiction books — self-help books, cookbooks, etc…. — are ones that people want to keep on their bookshelves with pride, and refer back to years later. You just can’t do that with an ebook.
- If your book is Sci-fi, paranormal romance, or Christian fiction, it’s likely to sell much better in electronic format. Statistics show that these are the three genres in which ebooks are far outpacing print.
- If you’re writing a children’s book, go with both! Many people love the digital versions of children’s books and all its interactivity. Other people think of it as more “screen time” for kids and less “true reading.” As one person recently said in a letter to the editor printed in the NY Times, “If the tablet has Clifford the dog barking, then your child doesn’t have to imagine the sound of Clifford the dog barking. Electronic devices obviate the need for children to use their imagination because it does it for them.”
- Your erotica book is best suited for digital. Think about it. In an airport, on a beach or in any other public place … people can read erotica in ebook format without anyone having any idea what they’re reading. Holding a physical book? Not so much.
- Similarly, literary works do best in print … in which nosy people can actually see the covers. As an article in Britain’s The Guardian points out: “There is a literary snobbishness at play here, clearly. Reading has always been a competitive sport. Why else would anyone have read Ulysses?”
And finally, here’s a stat to really throw you for a loop. A recent study found that today’s electronic generation — kids between the ages of 16 and 24 — actually prefer print books to ebooks.
The top-rated reasons for preferring physical to digital products were: “I like to hold the product” (51%), “I am not restricted to a particular device” (20%), “I can easily share it” (10%), “I like the packaging” (9%), and “I can sell it when used” (6%).
So, if in doubt, do both. But if you have to choose, use these interesting stats above to determine which route is the right one for you to take. Happy Publishing!