Friday, December 24, 2010

eBook versus Print-on-demand - which is the future for self-publishing?

When I entered the field of self-publishing several years ago, I did so in large part because of the opportunity print-on-demand publishing allowed to self-publish without tying up large, to me at least, sums of money. POD, the internet and Amazon.com allowed a self-publishing author access to millions of potential customers. Technology allowed me, and countless other authors, to enter the business of self-publishing not out of vanity, but as an actual business enterprise.

I had a lot to learn, and enjoyed doing so. It was a change of pace for me after 20+ years of being a teacher and basketball coach and hopefully it will help pay for college for youngest daughter! It certainly has progressed beyond being a hobby in the spouse's eyes though it never was in mine.

Now the eBook revolution has arrived and it appears to be gathering momentum. I have one title available as a Kindle book, another two in line to be converted (one by CreateSpace and another by eBook Architects). My current project will be released in both a POD paperback version and a Kindle version at roughly the same time. I even have a project that will be so short in book form I might simply release it as a Kindle book and an ePub version only and spare myself the time, effort and expense, albeit minimal, of producing a POD version.

Given the direction of the self-publishing industry, it makes sense, when possible to produce both a POD and an eBook version of all of my new titles. Time will tell which form will come to dominate or will both the POD and eBook co-exist for some time, greatly reducing off-set publishing as the most common means of book production.

My self-appointed learning tasks to move forward in the self-publishing industry is the mastery of first InDesign so I can produce high quality interiors for my books myself (I am enrolled in a class to learn InDesign starting this March when the basketball season is over). Once that task is completed, the next hurdle I have placed in my way is to learn as much about the rapidly developing eBook industry as possible. Who knows, perhaps there might be a book in the offing as a result!

To not move forward with eBooks I have realized, with the prompting of several others in the self-publishing field, is foolish and will cost me both sales and profits as time passes by. It will require more time and investment on my part, but then any profitable business requires both and this, after all, a business. It has been reported in numerous media outlets Amazon now sells more Kindle books than hardcovers.

My venture into Kindle books so far has been slow by the standards of some successful authors. Having stated that, I have sold more copies of my Kindle version of The Game of Basketball than I have print copies.  The POD version has been available since last March and the Kindle version has only been available since mid-November. Granted, I make significantly less per sale because of the low introductory price I set for the title, but all of those sales were sales I would not have realized otherwise.