Should You Self Publish in Print?

Written by Emily Harstone | May 16, 2013

Most people that self publish these days focus on e-books, but there there are still a lot of people that prefer holding a real book in their hands instead of tablet. Also it is nice to see your name in print.

If you have already decided to self publish but are not yet certain if you should self publish in print or electronically, this article may help you decide. In the last article I focused on the pros and cons of selling e-books. In this article I will focus on the pros and cons of traditional self publishing in print. I will focus on three major factors: Cost, logistics, and your career.

Most self publishing in print costs more than digital self publishing. This is because you are producing an actual physical item, not something that can be downloaded as a file. This is also because some self publishing companies are not very forward about the price involved. So you start out paying one price, then the additional costs add up.

Amazon has some pretty reasonable self publishing options, so does Lulu, but make sure to research before committing to one self publishing company over another. The additional issue is that after publishing your book you sometimes have to spend more money to ensure that it ends up in people’s hands, in terms of publicity as well as shipping.

Logistically a print book is harder to get to your customers, because it is a physical book that requires shipping, or a shelf to sit on at a bookstore. Most chain bookstores will not sell self published books, but a lot of local independent bookstores will. However you often have to pay them a small fee (between 10 and 30 dollars) in order for them to place it on the shelf. It will cost the same amount of money to sell the book through Amazon. Both places also take a cut out of any sales you may make.

It is also harder for people that don’t know you to stumble across a physical book and buy it. You must put a lot of effort into publicizing the book, although that is an issue whenever you self publish, regardless of the format.

A lot of emphasis has been placed in the last year on e-book authors that later become even more successful through a more traditional publishing deal. However authors who self publish in print have also been known to do this successfully. Eragon, by Christopher Paolini, was originally self published before Knopf published it and the rest of the Inheritance Cycle.

In any case, you have a lot to consider when self-publishing a book, but format is one of the most important things. After all it will effect how your readers will interact with your book. Ultimately, if you have never read an e-book, it’s probably not best to start with self-publishing one, so go with print instead.