An eBook reader propped up against a stack of books.

Do I Need an eBook?

It’s every writer’s dream: holding a physical copy of their book, with its neatly formatted interior, beautiful cover, and of course, those thousands of words you worked so hard over. Nothing feels better. 

eBooks… just don’t have the same satisfaction to them. Sure, it’s cool to see your book on your phone, but it doesn’t have that new book smell. But don’t let that fool you – having an eBook version of your book can be a huge advantage. Why? 

People who read eBooks often don’t buy physical books.

There is a whole market of readers who never buy physical copies. There are a lot of different reasons for this, but the truth is, if your book isn’t available as an eBook, this demographic just won’t buy it. Personally, I only buy a physical book if it’s something I’m going to need to refer to an image in it – like a pattern book or cookbook. I have way too many books already, and eBooks don’t take up any space! 

eBooks are pure profit.

When your print book is sold, part of the retail cost goes to the printer, and part to the store that sold it. With eBooks, there’s no printing cost, so you actually make more royalties off a cheaper book. Let’s look at the math: 

A paperback book sold on Amazon for $9.99: subtract 55% Amazon channel fee ($5.50), subtract print cost (let’s say $4) = $0.49 royalties 

An eBook sold on Amazon for $2.99: Subtract 55% Amazon channel fee ($1.65) = $1.34 royalties 

As you can see, the same book in different formats gets you a much different return. 

A black piggy bank with various different coins around it.

Free copies are actually free.

Every so often, you’re going to want to be able to give away copies of your book. Either for giveaways, or to people who have agreed to help promote it, or because you felt like a reader might buy the rest of your back catalogue if they got hooked on that first installment. With a print book, that means you’ve spent money on having the book printed and shipped. But with eBooks, it costs you nothing to send them a file, and there are ways to do so safely and avoid pirating.  

Who doesn’t need an eBook?

There are some books, however, that are not best suited to an eBook format. Most of the time, this comes down to the fact that images take up a lot more file space than words. Especially books where you want the whole page to stay exactly the same no matter what. For that to work as an eBook, it has to be what’s called a Fixed Format eBook – basically a series of pictures of the pages. These eBooks tend to have very large file sizes, and many platforms won’t sell them above a certain size.   

Here are some of the kinds of books that require Fixed Format and therefore aren’t best suited to eBook conversion: 

  • Children’s picture books over 20 pages long 
  • Kids’ books with a lot of illustrations inside the text (think Diary of a Wimpy Kid) 
  • Coffee table photography books 
  • Illustrated Comedy Books (think All My Friends Are Dead) 
  • Journals and other books meant to be written in 
  • Business books meant as giveaways or part of a seminar 

Unless your book fits one of those categories, though, you should probably have an eBook version. The other good news is that it’s probably less expensive to have it converted than you think! Check out our Service Bundler to see what it would cost to get your book in eBook format, based on your word count!