book or magazine printing vs. electronic

Are you now or have you ever been guilty of being confused about the best way to produce and market your book, magazine or catalog? If so please consider this, as you will have heard conflicting arguments or read blogs or posts that are in direct contradiction of each other. The question is “what do you do and who do you believe? The answer is NOBODY!

The approach to take is like dealing with government: Take it all in and sprinkle it with salt and try and distill the truth. After you have digested your salty bits of information by the grain, you probably will find that all sides seem to make sense but that none are telling you what your truth is. Your truth is that you need to produce and market your book or magazine and you are seeking the best ways possible at your disposal. So, what are the truths?

The avenues available to you for the production and marketing of your book or magazine are several:

Online Electronic Books, Magazines and Catalogs: 

According to a recent article in Publishers Weekly, Keith Moerer — head of the company’s iBookstore, Apple is claiming a 20% share of the eBook market. However they also claim that there sales are down 5.5% this quarter. According to Jeff Bezos of Amazon, their sales were up 70% in 2012, while Barnes & Noble tell us that the shares of their eBooks are actually down this year. Overall it seems that Amazon is the clear winner in the expanding eBook market.

With the growth of eBooks, there are still some issues to be concerned about such as actually getting properly paid for your work. According to an article on April 24 in The Guardian entitled “Ebook anxieties increase as publishing revolution rolls on”, there is still the fear that Amazon is still trying to formulate a plan to sell “so called used eBooks”. I wonder who is going to be able to differentiate between the two, the IRS. Good luck their when it is statement and payment time for you.

The prime benefit of eBooks is that they have lifted the market share of book publishing in general. It clearly has not replaced the book printing, but it has increased overall readership. According to the NY Times in an article from May 15, 2013, eBook sales have risen, depending on category anywhere from 22 to 117%. Even audio books had a 22% rise in sales.

Unfortunately for the magazine publishing community the story is not as bright. According to an article in FOLIO” MediaPRO Community by Samir Husni, online magazine publications are not flourishing but in fact seem to be the burial ground for the magazine when it moved from print to computer screen. Such magazines as Teen People, Gourmet and Reality weekly have died while Elle Girl, Cosmo Girl, PC Magazine, Sporting News and Newsweek along with others are trying to keep their digital heads above water.

Book Printing, Catalog and Magazine Printing: book printing vs. electronic

Hold your horses before you rule out the value of book printing, let alone magazine or catalog printing check out the facts. Yes, print has taken a hit, but mostly from the economy as magazine advertising as well as all print advertising is down due to business not wanting to spend money. While book sales are up eBooks sales have flattened in their relationship to the print versions. According to The Guardian in an article on June 13, 2013, eBook sales in 2012 only accounted for 20% of the crime, sci fi, romance, and humor books sold in the UK in 2012.

In an article published on May 16, 2013 in USA today they noted that while eBook sales were up by 43% as more people are reading in general due to the convenience of acquiring books in multiple media formats (print, audio and eBook), the overall market share of eBooks is still only 20% of the market share. As to the rumor about book printing this is just so much for the nonsense that book printing being dead. “The slowdown reflects a marketplace that is maturing with multiple formats — digital and print,” says Michael Pietsch, CEO of the Hachette Book Group. He adds, “In all the talk about e-books, we often lose track of the fact that more than three out of four books sold in the U.S. are still printed ones.”

The Marketing of your Book, Magazine or Catalog: 

The take away here is that if you want to sell books, be paid for all you sell and sell as many as possible you need both formats. eBooks are fine for testing the waters at first if you have a limited budget and still need to fine tune your book with changes from the feedback you get. However don’t be fooled that the eBook is the panacea to all of your publishing needs.

Digital publishing serves a purpose as the one above, but also can allow you to capture the 20% additional share coming from publishing in both eBook and print. Another nice thing about using both formats as one can actually help the other by cross promotion. If you have to do giveaways in a promotion, it is less costly to send a file than mail the more expensive printed book. Additionally if all you have is an eBook try showing up at a book signing. Are you going to sign their Kindle? When at the signing are your guests going to be purchasing your new hardcover if they show up at all as a “digital aficionado”? Good luck to that.

In Today’s market and I think for years to come I think one needs to produce their books, magazines or catalogs in both formats. This way you are covering all bases for your promotion and sales. It is not about which is the better medium, but about how to use both for your advantage.



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