Why would anyone want to create a printed book, when they can create eBooks a lot more easily – and cheaply?
Why would anyone want to get wrapped up in the process of designing and producing physical books that take time to deliver to customers, when they can deliver a digital information product immediately, with no additional production or shipping costs?
What’s the point of having a tree-killing artifact of yesteryear in your creative portfolio? Aren’t printed books so… 1990?
1. Comfort. Familiarity. Ease of use.
A lot of people still prefer printed books to eBooks. They like – no, they love – the feel of a physical book in their hands. It gives them a sense of well-being and solidity, to have something tangible they can carry with them and put on their bookshelf. They’re “old school” and they like it that way. Or, they just never warmed up to eBooks or digital media.
Also, the proliferation of Kindles, Nooks, iPads, eBook readers, websites — the whole range of digital reading options — has reminded a lot of people just how much they love an actually book. It doesn’t need to be plugged in or charged. You don’t need to wait for it to boot up. You won’t be interrupted by social media alerts popping up on the page. And there’s something very comforting about the heft of a book. It’s a companion. It’s a haven. And the Internet hasn’t weaned us of that need.
When you publish a printed book, you have a chance to reach a wider variety of customers, regardless of operating system or hard disk space. And you actually have a chance to showcase your work on display at a bookstore. And if you’re going to appear on television, YouTube, or even on the radio to talk about your book, the person interviewing you will likely ask for a hard copy of your work. If they’re holding an actual book in their hand in front of the camera, viewers can see — yeah, it’s real. It’s a thing.
With a printed book in hand – especially one with an ISBN – you can approach magazines and newspapers and radio and television hosts and have something in hand to talk about with them. You can mail your book to reviewers and reporters, and you can hold up your creation for the camera, when it comes time to tell the audience what all the excitement is about. And when members of your audience go to their local bookstore to see if they carry your book (depending on what service you use to publish your book), they can put in a request for the book from the bookstore, and potentially help you get it stocked on the bookshelf stores. (Though you may already be convinced, like many other infopreneurs, that bookstores are not the place to sell books, still, it doesn’t hurt to see your book on the shelves of a brick-and-mortar store.)
4. Perceived expert status.
Probably my favorite reason to publish in print, is how it can take your ideas to a whole new level and get you the kind of exposure once reserved only for the select few picked up by a mainstream publisher. Having a book in print has a way of instantly establishing you as an expert, in ways that producing (even getting rich from) digital information products can’t, in the offline world. When people hear you’ve written a book, and they see that book in your hands, a something happens inside their heads that says you must be pretty smart. Chances are, it’s true – you are! But what matters most is that others think so. Perception can go a long way.
Everyday folks have an innate respect for people who can translate their expertise into an actual book. A lot of people may think about it, but most of them never do. As a published author, you’re in a league of your own. And that’s a pretty good feeling.
So, before you write off the idea of putting out a print version of your work, ask yourself what’s stopping you. Are you just not familiar with the process? Does it seem overwhelming to you? Have you just never tried?
There are a lot of benefits to be gained from publishing in print — especially as an entrepreneur or infopreneur. You owe it to yourself to consider it. And re-consider your feelings about print publishing.
Got questions about the print publishing process? Let me know in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you.