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Thursday, April 24

Are Print Books Necessary in the Digital Age?

By Julie Musil, @juliemusil

Part of the Indie Author Series


When I decided to indie publish The Boy Who Loved Fire, I knew I’d create a print version. I adore print books, and many people I know still don’t own e-readers. Heck, I just got my own Kindle last year.

As more writers venture into the indie jungle, many may wonder Are print books necessary in the digital age?

Necessary? No. Worth it? Absolutely.

Here are several reasons why it’s worth your time and effort to create a print book:

Book signings: try as we might, we can’t sign a digital book. Book signings are a great way to meet with locals who want to support writers in their home town. Indie authors can contact libraries and coffee shops to make arrangements. Order plenty of print books in advance of these events.

Library shelves: I donated print books to my local libraries. This way more kids from my town could read the book. Not all kids have e-readers, and not all kids have Internet access or funds to order books on their own.

Kindle MatchBook: if you set up Amazon’s Kindle MatchBook, readers who order your print book can download your ebook at a discounted rate. For instance, if you buy Janice Hardy’s Planning Your Novel in print, you can download the Kindle version for free. A great deal for readers.

Goodreads Giveaways: Goodreads giveaways are an excellent way to get readers’ attention. How does it work? You pledge to give away a certain number of print books. Lots and lots of readers sign up. At the end of the promo, Goodreads emails you with the names and addresses of your winners. Easy peasy. Create a Goodreads giveaway here.

Awards: SCBWI members can enter their books in the Spark award contest. Only print books will be considered.

Keepsakes: I gave each of my three sons a signed copy of my book.

Fundraisers: when the high school football team was looking for baskets to auction off at a golf tournament, I created a “read by the beach” basket. I included my print book, a beach towel, Hot Tamales, and other theme-related goodies.

Increased Sales: my print sales are second only to Kindle downloads. Writers who take the time to create a print book expand their sales base. Why leave any sales on the table?

My biggest reason for creating a print book? Pride. Nothing, nothing beats that feeling of holding a print book in your hands. Even if I didn’t sell one single print copy, the joy of holding that book made all the effort worthwhile. What a rush.

If you’re overwhelmed by the thought of creating a print book, or you have no idea where to start, be sure to check out my post How to Create a Print Book.

Do you still read print books? If you’ve indie published, did you create a print version? Any benefits to print books you’d like to add? Please share!

Julie Musil writes Young Adult novels from her rural home in Southern California, where she lives with her husband and three sons. She’s an obsessive reader who loves stories that grab the heart and won’t let go. Her novel The Boy Who Loved Fire is available now. For more information, or to stop by and say Hi, please visit Julie on her blog, on Twitter, and on Facebook.

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