Yes, they take longer to produce. Obviously… because you have to design them a certain way, then get them printed… and fulfillment takes time.
So, the time between when someone orders the book (online) and they receive it, is necessarily going to be longer than an instant download. Of course, if someone is in a bookstore, they can purchase your book as soon as they see it…
Yes, print books are more structured, they need to follow a certain “flow”. You need to adhere to certain standards for size and front matter and back matter (if you want to be taken seriously, anyway).
With an eBook, you can build it out however you like. You can include full-color pictures, full-color fonts, at no additional cost (printing all those colors will cost you). So, you have more freedom. But with a print book, you’re actually trying to adhere to certain standards, so you’re recognized by a larger audience as someone to take seriously… an expert who can be trusted.
So, sticking with standard can actually work in your favor.
The thing is, once you understand those standards, and you learn how to present yourself well, it’s not that difficult to do it — and repeat the process. Everyone who’s on their own, forging their independent way in the world, knows the magic of a repeatable process. You find out what works best, you get your system down, and you keep repeating that process, tweaking it as you go for the different situations and scenarios.
It’s exactly the same with publishing a print book. You get your system down, you find out what works, and you just keep doing that same thing. You can go as basic as you want, or as complex. You can keep things simple and streamlined, or you can pull out all the stops.
And it doesn’t need to take forever.
One afternoon about 10 years ago, while I was on vacation, I was looking at four different poetry collections I had on my laptop. I wanted to publish them. And I knew how to do it. By the end of the afternoon — maybe a few hours, tops — I had four different poetry chapbooks (about 50 pages each) ready for purchase in print form. I was actually surprised, how quickly it went. The end product(s) looked great. And it took me a few hours.
Because I knew how to do it. I had the proper tools. And I decided to do it.
If you’ve been publishing eBooks because you think they’re so much easier to do than print books, you may want to reconsider that. If you’ve got great content, you owe it to yourself (and the world) to get the word out in print. On Amazon. Even in your local bookstores. For that matter, national bookstores, like Barnes & Noble.
It’s possible. You just have to know how.
What would you publish, if you knew you could?