Do I really need a print on demand version of my book?

In a word, yes. Market share varies by genre, but this market share data from the book category called “trade publishing,” where most self-published authors introduce books, should help you decide:

  • Print books account for approximately 70% of all books sold
  • Amazon sells 64% of all print books that are sold online
  • Amazon sells 67% of all ebooks (all online, of course)
  • Amazon sells 41% of all books sold, online or offline
  • Amazon sells 65% of all ebooks and print books that are sold online


One conclusion you can draw from this market share data is that readers generally prefer to purchase print books–and that Amazon sells the most print books of any online retailer. So if you were to decide to place the print on demand (POD) version of your book in only one store, you should place it in Amazon (via Createspace). Placing your POD book in the Amazon store gets you exposure to the biggest group of print book buyers assembled in one place.


But wait–another important consideration is whether YOUR readers prefer to purchase the ebook or print version of your book. Here, the answer isn’t so clear. Readers of certain genres indicate that they prefer to buy ebooks rather than print books, but this isn’t the case for all genres. This graph, from a DBW article on the most recent industry study, illustrates readers’ preferences by genre:

Book Genres, by E-Book or Print Book Preference


Looking at these results leads you to the reasonable conclusion that for many genres, POD isn’t a must-have. If you write in one of the top five genres in this list, POD may be a small market for you.


However, we believe that after your ebook has been out for a while, and you’re certain that it is text-complete, with no further edits needed, it’s still a good idea to bring out a POD version for a number of reasons.


Having a POD version of your book will:

  1. Make your book look professionally published on your Amazon sales page
  2. Give you access to online purchasers who prefer print editions
  3. Expose more potential reviewers to your book
  4. Make your book available to order in most physical bookstores
  5. Make it easy to order copies to sell at events
  6. Give you an inexpensive option for obtaining a printed copy of your book for your personal bookshelf


Have you created a POD version of your book? If not, why not?

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