5 Reasons Authors Should Keep Hard Copies On-Hand

To a bookworm, there are few pleasures greater than cracking open the stiff, fresh pages of a freshly minted book for the first time. Oh, make no mistake, e-books are terrific in their own way, but for many of us, paper still rules.

But besides the satisfaction of leafing through pages, hard copy books have a number of benefits for an author – namely, hard copies of your own book. It pays to remember that there are several reasons every author should keep hard copies of his or her book in stock at all times:

  • Security — Many of us are hesitant to rely solely on electronic files for our documentation, and the same goes for records of our creations. Even if you have no desire to sell copies on your own, keep a stack of hard copies of your self-published book on hand at all times, if for no other reason than to have a tangible memento of your accomplishment. You never know when a computer can go down or a file could be corrupted and you find yourself needing to reference your book. You’ll be glad at those times that you have a hard copy to refer to!
  • Last-minute orders — Often, an author gets approached by friends, relatives and even strangers, who need to get their hands on a copy = now! While your publisher can accommodate all requests, why not take the opportunity to reach out when it presents itself? This gives you a chance to build a following, and that gesture of good will is also priceless publicity.
  • Spontaneous sales — Keep small stacks of your books at home, at the office, at relative’s houses, in your car – any place that allows you to access them quickly. Chances are the topic of your book will come up more often than you expect. When it does, you’ll have copies at the ready to accommodate the unexpected sales opportunity.
  • Publicity opportunities — If you’ve announced your self-published book with a custom press release (which we highly recommend), you may get calls from newspapers, radio stations, television stations and other media outlets in your area who are interested in learning more about you and your book. Be ready to drop off or ship a copy to outlets that ask. A copy of your book is also a great way to reach out to editors who have not yet acted upon your press release, get them excited about your work and persuade them to give you valuable media exposure. A hard copy is a terrific primer for reporters providing coverage as well. While e-books are also acceptable in this case, sending a hard copy removes the responsibility of downloading from an editor, thus removing one barrier to news coverage. Plus, there’s nothing like a hard copy to make your work truly tangible to a newsie.
  • Shelf space opportunities — Bookstores, gift shops and other retailers are eager to place things on their shelves that they think will sell. When a quaint, new stationary store pops up on the main drag in your town, you’ll want to be ready to take a shot at that valuable shelf space. Welcome the owner to the neighborhood with a crisp copy of your book, a press release or publicity packet and a plan for sharing the book profits.

So, how many copies of your book should you stow away? Many authors report they prefer to keep at least 50 to 100 hard copies on hand most of the time. You may wish to replenish your supply in increments of 25 or 50, depending on what shipping and bulk-ordering incentives are available at the time and how quickly you’re going through your stash.


“Wonderful experience from start to finish. My work remained mine through the entire process, and the finished product was incredibly impressive. Elaine, Jerry, Jackie, and Rebecca worked endlessly to see this project matched what I had in my mind from day one. Definitely going to be publishing through Outskirts again; Best in the industry.”

James Finster studied literature at California State University San Marcos. He resides in Flagstaff, Arizona, with his wife Jerusha and his two daughters, Vivian and Reagan.

My father chose to end his own life. That is the elephant in my room…So begins The Reverent Surrender, James Finster’s deeply touching memoir about his father’s suicide. It’s a brutally honest perspective, but it’s also refreshing, skillfully avoiding an angry, self-pitying position on this painful and often taboo subject. Everyone dies, it’s a truism in this life, yet many choose to go on their own terms. Is there not some form of honor to be found within this selfish act? When he first set out to write his memoir, Finster’s goal was to help others who’d experienced the same heartbreak, but as the book evolved, he realized that everyone faces death with a different perspective, and each person’s response to suicide-and their grieving process-is unique. Ultimately, this beautifully written book is dedicated to the memory of his father. It encourages the survivors of suicide to reflect on the life lost and embrace their loved one’s memories-while learning to let go of anger or blame and ultimately changing the underlying core of grief to one of acceptance…and healing. My father’s time on this earth was but mere seconds in the scheme of the world. A small pivotal role played out on a stage for a select few. His life encompassed comedy, romance, satire, and tragedy. And therefore as my reflection ends and the curtains set on that stage, I shall rise from my seat, applaud vigorously, and shout “encore.”

James W. Finster, author of The Reverent Surrender