The Great Paper Debate

Female compare books and new wireless reading digital book

To our American friends, Happy Labor Day! Hope you and your loved ones are able to enjoy the last hurrah of summer, safe from whatever weather surrounds you.

This week’s topic is one brought forth by our resident hound. “Knowing that the profit margin / royalties in paperback formats is minimal, do you still try to obtain that format? Why or why not?”

Although most of the books I read and review are on my electronic shelf, my short answer to this question is YES to paperback copies. Whenever my publisher makes paperback copies available, I keep a supply of them on hand. I haven’t yet done the self-publishing route, but when I do, I’ll definitely have paperback copies of those as well. There are a few reasons why I do this, despite the low profits:

Lots of people don’t use electronic devices to read.
Some of these readers are not willing or able to own electronic reading devices. Some have them, but enjoy reading from traditional books instead. Maybe it makes one look more scholarly. Anyway, I think it’s important to have a print option available for the non-device reading public.

At author events, it’s better to have regular books.
I attend about a half dozen author events each year, and people coming to those events are looking for something to take home with them. Plus, it’s difficult to sign and personalize an ebook. I did attend an ebook event once at a local Barnes and Noble. Each of the authors brought bookmarks and other swag to sign, and the store supplied us with QR codes so people could purchase our ebooks on the spot. I have absolutely no idea if anyone actually bought any of my books that day.

They make great gifts.
I’ve needed last-minute gifts, and if I know the person likes to read, I’ll sign and wrap up a book or two. It’s nice not having to go out and shop.

There’s nothing like seeing your name on an actual book.
The first of my books to be put into print was The Samurai’s Garden in 2011. I’ll never forget my wonder and sense of accomplishment when I opened that first shipment of books with my name on the cover. Before this, my stories hadn’t met the word count my publisher required for print. Since my books tend to run on the short side, I searched for and found a publisher who put all books into print. So now I have a wider selection.

The bottom line is, I might make less per book with print copies, but I feel I’m making a better connection with my readers when I can personally hand over a tangible piece of my creativity.

What about you? If you’re an author, do you think it’s worth the trouble to have print copies of your books? If you’re a reader, do you have a preference?

About Patricia Kiyono

During her first career, Patricia Kiyono taught elementary music, computer classes, elementary classrooms, and junior high social studies. She now teaches music education at the university level. She lives in southwest Michigan with her husband, not far from her five children, nine grandchildren (so far), and great-granddaughters. Current interests, aside from writing, include sewing, crocheting, scrapbooking, and music. A love of travel and an interest in faraway people inspires her to create stories about different cultures. Check out her sweet historical contemporary romances at her Amazon author page:
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6 Responses to The Great Paper Debate

  1. Jeff Salter says:

    Very well stated, as usual.
    And, as often takes place here at 4F1H, I read your Monday column and think, “How could I say it any better?”
    Do you think anybody would notice if I just copy and paste your column into my Hound Day spot?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree with Jeff; this is one of the few times when I fear being the Friday Fox. I am seldom at a loss for words or ideas, but I doubt very seriously that there will be much left to say.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Very well said. I do read ebooks but wpuld rather have it in print. There’s just something about books in print.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Patricia Kiyono says:

      I hear lots of people say that, but when it comes to reading, I have to make a conscious effort to open a traditional book now. The only time I think about it is when my eyes are sore from working on my laptop.


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