Should I Publish eBook Only?

March 27, 2019 by Sylvia St.Cyr


When it comes to making a decision on which is the best route to publish your book, it can be tricky to know which is the best way for your manuscript. It is quite natural to focus on price alone, or focus on having your book finished quickly, however, we recommend making sure everything lines up with your publishing goals.
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As a Publishing Consultant, I speak with many authors and I hear the same question asked. When a writer looks at the cost to publish a print book along with the creation of an eBook, and then they see the eBook only cost, it’s easy to think that eBook only may be the “safer” route with less risk. But is that true? I am going to share common myths people often believe about publishing an eBook.

Myth #1: EBooks are the way of the future and print book sales are becoming extinct.

Fact: According to the Christian Retail 2018 Year in Review newsletter found here, print book sales have increased over the past 6 years continuously. People who own an eReader or tablet do purchase eBooks, but many people still prefer to purchase a print book copy over a digital copy. The rise in sales is proof.

Myth #2: If I pay less to publish an eBook only it will be easier to make my investment back.

Fact: When publishing an eBook only, it is extremely hard to recoup the upfront costs. One reason it’s hard to make money is that you have to send people to buy your eBook on various different platforms. There is also a lower retail price for it, since there is no printing involved, which therefore means a lower royalty. Finally, the only way that you can earn your investment back is through royalties alone, as you don’t have a physical product to sell, which means you have to sell that many more copies of your eBook.

We’ve found that authors gain the most traction and success with their sales when they publish in print and eBook. This way you can sell right out of your home, host a book launch party, as well as market on every platform.

Myth #3: I’ll start by publishing my book as an eBook only to start. Then, if it “does well”, I’ll consider publishing it to print.

Fact: The problem with eBook only is that so many authors are going this route these days. With the millions of titles uploaded and floating around on Amazon, how will people find your book, be interested enough, and then buy it?

Unless you have a serious marketing plan for once your book is published as an eBook only, it is very difficult to sell copies of your book because no one will know it exists. Therefore, if you do not have a lot of sales, it may lead you to believe that your book doesn’t have good content and therefore shouldn’t be published as a print book, which is not a fair assessment of how the book will do on the actual market.

So who does eBook only publishing work best for?

The only time I’ve known an author truly succeed in publishing an eBook only was when that author had a huge online presence with thousands of followers on their social media and blog/website.

If you’re going to spend money on publishing your book anyway, and your goal is to get it into as many reader’s hands as possible, then I highly recommend going with a print and eBook publishing plan.

If you would like to talk to a publishing consultant at Word Alive Press about what it would look like to publish your book, please email publishing@wordalivepress.ca.

About this Contributor

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Sylvia St.Cyr is a Publishing Consultant at Word Alive Press. She was also a journalist and the Arts & Entertainment Coordinator for her local newspaper, The Citizen. She lives with her husband and two kids just outside of Winnipeg, Manitoba. Her first book, Love vs. Fear was released in the fall of 2017. For more info, you can find her book here. To read more from Sylvia, check out her blog.