Why my books are published in paperback

booksAlthough I couldn’t manage without my practical ereader  (Kindle Keyboard 3G) and downloaded ebooks, I still love physical  books. The cover, the colour, the weight, flicking the pages and smelling the paper – mmm! See a pile of books and I’m instantly lost.

Apart from the pleasure of holding a beautiful object,  the smell of the paper and the joy of a piece of clever design, all the elements are there in the order you expect; the cover, title page, perhaps with an intriguing or intricate graphic, a little piece about the author, some background to the book which sets the tone. Then off you go to turn the first page.

With an ebook, I’m abruptly into the story, which is good in one way, but I often find myself clicking back and looking first at the cover image, the dramatis personae, any notes before starting, but that’s me. However, for sheer practicality and the ability to instantly access reasonably priced stories anywhere in the world wherever you can get connected, the ereader is unparalleled.

From a commercial point of view, a paperback is a useful marketing tool even though it is more expensive to produce. Many competitions and book reviewers specify paperback only. And a physical book can be taken to book fairs and put into book professionals’ hands.

But something I’ve noticed when offering any of my books as a prize in competition, is that unless I’ve specified the prize is ebook only, winners nearly always opt for the paperback in preference to the ebook. Readers have told me they connect better with the story when holding a  physical book. And I do sell quite a lot of signed copies, at book events, fairs, fetes, lunches, on the airplane or in a café.

And let’s not forget, books on shelves are beautiful things.


Alison Morton is the author of Roma Nova thrillers, INCEPTIO, and PERFIDITAS. Third in series, SUCCESSIO, is now out and Book 4 is in the editing process!

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2 comments to Why my books are published in paperback

  • You make some good points, Alison. I’m new to self-publishing and have been surprised how many paperbacks of No Stranger to Death I’ve sold. There are still a lot of people who like to read physical books, and they do make lovely gifts.

    • Alison

      Indeed, they do make lovely gifts. At a local Christmas fair, I actually ran out of INCEPTIOs, even though I’d taken a whole boxful and I was left with only three PERFIDITAS from the second box.

      I like both and I find readers love the option. Good luck with yours!