As an early adopter of an e-reader, the decision of whether or not to make my books available in print has been a tough one. I’m very comfortable that I’m providing good value to my readers with my ebooks, but as a consumer of ebooks I’m now spoiled with paying less for good stories. I’ve lost the perspective of the paperback market. That said, there might be a good number of readers I can only reach if my books are available in print.
With that in mind, over the holidays we formatted This Corner of the Universe and No Way to Start a War for print-on-demand with Createspace. It was an experiment, since to the best of my knowledge I’d never held a POD book in my hands. Would the quality be something I’d be proud of?
Well, we received the proof copy of TCOTU last Friday and I spent the weekend reading it. The answer about quality is a resounding “Yes” when I compare the proof to some of my old paperbacks. As far as the book itself, there’s no reason to hold it back. Here are a couple pictures (this is TCOTU as a Createspace 5×8 proof with matte cover on cream paper):
But my old mass market Battletech paperbacks from the 90’s are labeled $6.99. Print-on-demand is the exact opposite of mass market printing, and my wife and I have agonized over how to price the TCOTU print books. Mass market paperbacks were a good value. The print-on-demand books are actually better quality, printed on better paper, etc. But I’m a firm believer that the reader is paying for the story, not the paper. As long as the book is produced so its quality is not distracting, it’s serving its purpose and the reader shouldn’t pay extra.
In the end, I can’t offer the printed TCOTU books at $6.99… I’d lose money. But, I’ll keep prices down as best I can. I’m a big fan of e-readers and I still say my ebooks will be the best value to get to what matters (a.k.a., the story), but it’s also kind of fun to see my books in print and I’m curious if I’ll find more science fiction fans having print as an option.
Both This Corner of the Universe and No Way to Start a War should be available in print in about a week. (I’m about halfway through the proof for NWTSAW now.) As a way to keep prices down, the print books will only be available on Amazon and through the Createspace e-store directly. I’ll of course post the links when they are ready.