I just finished reading an article and discovered that the sale of e-books has not risen over the past year, but come to a standstill in growth. This just goes to prove that technology hasn’t entirely dominated the literary industry–but you should still be aware that the e-book isn’t “down for the count” (as the old saying goes).
So which format is better than the other? An e-book or a physical print? The answer is that neither format is going to ensure better sales than its competitor. Stores like Barnes & Noble are still packed with customers on a daily basis (and it hasn’t even been a year since I last visited their store and noticed this). What will ensure your success as a writer is being able to produce your work both in a hard-copy and digital medium.
What will better ensure the success of your work is knowing your audience. Ask yourself, What does my target audience want? –versus– What do I think they need?
Furthermore, the temptation to price your e-book at a high value is hard to resist. But as a customer of literary works myself (digital and non-digital), I can easily say that I would rather purchase Book # 1 for $5.00 by seller A–instead of purchasing Book # 1 for $10.00 by seller B. Let’s face it: we do need our money for other things such as food, gas in our cars, bills, our kids (for those of us who have children to raise). Paying $10 – $15 for a book could have gone to some food we needed in our stomach one night.
Yet it is surprising that the e-book (even with so many authors over-pricing their digital works) still rivals the industry of physical, print copies. Why is this? I would encourage you to visit your local bookstore and notice that the pricing(s) of books on their shelves isn’t much different than ones you would find online (even though sellers on retail sites such as eBay can make the price of a product ten times higher than what you would find in your local, physical store if they so-well desired).
What matters is not the format of your book, but the format of your advertising strategy for your work. How do your customers perceive your literary works–or even that first book you’ve published? If you really want to understand what readers are looking for these days, use websites like FictionPress, WattPad, or Figment. I have personally used the first two mentioned before (and the third is one that I have just started using to view the works of a friend of mine). These sites don’t pay you for the works you publish, but the pay-off is the feedback you receive from users on where your literary work stands. I know from my personal experiences as an amateur writer that criticism can be hard to take–but it is needed if you want to know how to make your book a success–whether a digital or hard-copy medium. No one’s work is ever “bad”–but criticism helps us perfect what we are trying to achieve. And if you want to be successful in selling an e-book or a hard-copy book, listening to your target audience is a crucial first step to take–and remember, walk carefully.