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To Publish Book or e-Book?

English: A Picture of a eBook Español: Foto de...

English: A Picture of a eBook Español: Foto de eBook Беларуская: Фотаздымак электроннай кнігі Русский: Фотография электронной книги (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have been researching e-book and traditional book publishing for several years now, but I’m going to be lazy and share with you these points passed on to me by Andy McDermott, head of Publicious Publishing,, which I can highly recommend as Andy published Bondi Tides, Bondi Writers Group’s anthology of short stories.

Printed books Pros:
1. Most books nowadays are printed using sustainable and/or recycled materials
2. Print on Demand (POD) books can be sold via the online stores and printed one at a time at the buyer’s expense
3. With digital printing, high quality books can now be printed in smaller quantities while remaining affordable
4. For authors, books are essential for book signings and events
5. For entrepreneurs, books can be sold at seminars and events and are often referred to as the modern day business card
6. Children’s books can be interactive with music and buttons and also used for colouring in
7. Books make great gifts
8. Books look good on bookshelves especially a leather bound classic or a colourful coffee table book
9. A good book will be cherished and read
10. A bad book can still be used as a door stop

Printed books Cons:
1. Even when produced using sustainable resources I doubt a printed book could be called eco friendly
2. In some cases books can be expensive to print and purchase
3. Books have a short shelf life. Most high street bookstores will want to start discounting them almost immediately
4. Buyers expect to buy books at a discounted price
5. For authors, It is very difficult to get a book in the high street stores
6. Books can be re sold without the author’s consent
7. Books can clutter the home if you decide to keep every book you buy
8. Books are fragile and can be susceptible to damage from the elements.

Ebooks Pros:
1. Much cheaper to produce and purchase than a book
2. Easy to purchase (instant download) no delivery cost or waiting time
3. Easy to store (some devices can store thousands of ebooks)
4. Can be read anywhere
5. Can have Digital Rights Management (DRM) installed to limit copying
6. Can be linked to the internet by hyperlinks (handy for visiting the author’s website or purchasing the sequel from a bookstore link on the back page)
7. Children’s ebooks can be fully interactive with links to websites, games and projects, they can also contain animation, videos and music
8. Ebooks are excellent for text books especially for students and school children who used to have to carry around large expensive books
9. Ebooks can be stored indefinitely on your cloud so even if you were to lose or damage your device, your ebook library will be safe
10. Ebooks are eco friendly, no paper, no waste of any kind

Ebooks Cons:
1. Due to poor quality formatting many ebooks don’t display correctly on certain devices
2. There is yet to be a universal format for ebooks, until this happens there will always be formatting and availability issues
3. Download issues can occur with certain stores and/or devices
4. Digital Rights Management (DRM) may limit the ebook to one device only after purchase. This can put some buyers off and some stores will now refuse to list titles that have DRM in place
5. Ebooks without DRM can easily be copied and shared
6. Some ebooks are only available for certain devices
7. Many ebooks are poorly edited
8. It is believed that some backlit screens can be harmful to the eyesight and project a potentially dangerous magnetic field

Will the ebook spell doom for the good old book? Although I don’t see it happening for some time, I think that ebooks will eventually become the norm and printed books will become a thing of the past just like the old vinyl 45s and more recently the CD. They will be too expensive to produce and too difficult to purchase (yes going to the shops or having to wait for an internet purchase to be delivered will soon be termed as ‘a hassle’)

However, with the ease and affordability of POD printing I think the book has been given a much needed reprise and will still be here for sometime to come. So if you’re undecided as to whether you should publish your book in print or as an ebook, I would suggest do both and take advantage of both markets while you still can.


  1. David George

    Regarding eBook Pro #1 (Much cheaper to produce and purchase than a book), there is no basis for stating that eBooks are cheaper to produce: it is completely untrue. The only cost that avoided is the actual printing, which has gotten cheaper over many years due to a larger number of markets opening up (such as printing in China or Singapore). The fact that the upfront costs for the publisher remain the same is the primary reason publishers have been struggling in recent years. Regardless of what the final deliverable will be (eBook or print), books still must be developed, copyedited, typeset, proofread, indexed, etc. All of these processes cost big bucks and are necessary. They are by no means avoided when going the eBook route.

    • Anne Skyvington

      Pleased to have your comment. Publishers in Australia, whether part of the “big five” traditional, independent or small presses, tend to offer both e-book and hard copy to writers these days. This post was written in 2014 based on information from a small press. Thanks for reminding me that publishing has been changing rapidly, and I need to keep up-to-date with it.

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