We all remember the fervor that overtook the publishing industry when e-books hit the mainstream. Suddenly, it was the fastest growing segment and everyone was anxious to make sure their books had an Amazon Kindle e-Book Edition, a Barnes & Noble NOOK Edition, an e-book edition that was available on iTunes, and through Apple iBookstore, etc.
And the excitement of the new e-book market lasted for several years, in fact, to such a degree that some authors began publishing their books ONLY as e-book editions, because they liked the speed and convenience of it.
But then a funny thing happened. With the exception of a fortunate few (you know, the e-book authors you’ve read about in the news), e-book-only editions failed to reach the lofty promises of all that hype! It turns out, people still like touching actual books. So the publication of paperbacks and hardbacks jumped back into the fray, along with their newfound format–the e-book!
And then, almost overnight, another new format caught readers’ (or should we say listeners’) attention: audiobooks. With longer daily commutes, not to mention the convenience afforded by Audible, and the tendency of people to multi-task more than ever, audiobooks soon became the fastest growing segment.
Add Large Print and/or multi-media-enabled editions, and traditional publishers were looking at greater complexities and thinner profit margins for each book they gambled on. Soon, in many cases, particulary for the “mid-listers,” traditional publishers were having to make tough choices about which format(s) they would publish/maintain, and which format(s) they would allow to “expire” (much to the chagrin of their authors). Without the zero-inventory convenience available through POD self-publishing, traditional publishers frequently could not justify the time/expense of supporting a growing family of formats for every book. It just stopped making economic sense.
Which is why more books are now self-published than are published by all the traditional publishers combined! With print-on-demand (POD) self-publishing, you never have to worry about your publisher expiring one of your editions, ceasing future print runs, or not helping you pursue each and every format you are interested in.
Hint: You should be interested in all of them.
After all, you never know whether the potential reader you reach via your marketing efforts is going to prefer a paperback, an e-book, a hardback, a large print edition, or an audiobook; so make sure all those choices are available. Once the initial cost of publishing each format is absorbed, the economies of scale in the POD self-publishing world allow authors to affordably maintain all the formats they want, for as long as they want.
Talk about a happy ending!