Why You Should Self-publish Your Book in POD Paperback Format Via KDP

A discussion of the benefits of paperback self-publishing to your ebook sales.

In the good old day, if you wanted to self-publish a book, you did so by paying upfront to have a vanity press print several hundred copies of your book (remember, there were no eBooks in those days), which you then stored in your garage or spare bedroom. You would then rent booths at local art fairs where you would spend your weekends hawking your book. In the end, you wouldn't sell many books and were considered lucky if you ultimately earned back your original investment in having your book printed. Note that the term "vanity press" was coined because it was recognized that any author who published this way was doing so for vanity's sake (to say could they were an author) rather than to make money conducting business.

Fast forward to a decade and a half into the 21st century, and you'll find that things have changed a great deal. Not only has eBook publishing been added to the self-publishers' toolkit, but paperback publishing has finally become viable due to the advent of Print on Demand (POD) publishing. A POD publisher will print individual copies of your book and ship them to the buyers only as each book is requested. By taking advantage of such a service, you can distribute your book in paperback format without incurring any upfront costs (instead, you pay the publisher a substantial percentage of the sales revenue), and you won't have to manage an inventory.

I've already alluded to this fact, but you'll never generate much revenue from paperback sales. The primary reason for publishing a paperback is to improve your eBook sales. And besides, it's quick, easy and free – so, why not?

The following are four reasons for publishing your book in POD paperback via KDP:

  • It's quick, easy and free.
  • To generate a little extra income.
  • To make your book look important enough to have also been provided in paperback.
  • Your more expensive (e.g. $7.99) paperback price will be crossed out on your Kindle eBook product page, and the lesser eBook price (e.g. $2.99) will be displayed beside it. This makes your eBook look like a bargain in comparison.

I can see no reason to publish a Paperback via Lulu since your paperback will not be displayed on Amazon beside your eBook.

If you accept the fact that you should always publish a Kindle eBook via KDP, then you might as well also accept the fact that you'll be offering a paperback edition as well.