I have an ereader and I love it. Before ebooks, whenever I went on vacation, I had to reserve a certain amount of suitcase space for books and I always worried that I wouldn’t take enough to last me through the entire vacation. Now, I can download as many books as I want in advance and have plenty of reading material.
Everyone knows that ebooks have changed the publishing landscape dramatically. The popularity of ebooks has caused some to predict the end of printed books. As an avid reader, I disagree. I still purchase many physical books.
The reasons vary. I purchase some printed books by favorite authors because I want to have a complete set of their writing. Other purchases may be special editions that I want to keep as collectibles.
The most common reason I purchase a physical book is when I plan to use it for research or reference. Although most ereaders allow you to make notes and highlight passages, I find it cumbersome to do that electronically. I like to put sticky notes on key pages, underline important points and make notes in the margins.
While I enjoy both ebooks and printed books as a reader, as a published author of a business book, I think printed books are an imperative component of your marketing plan. Yes, ebooks are cheaper to produce. You don’t incur some of the design costs and you eliminate the printing costs. The problem is that you’ve done the hardest part of the process – writing the book and you’re not leveraging your intellectual capital to its maximum potential.
If you want to use your book to build authority and credibility, you have to look beyond the ease of production. Here are seven places where having an ebook is only half the job:
- 1. At your book launch
Book launches aren’t just for famous authors. In my Author Fast Track Programs, I recommend scheduling a book launch as an accountability task. The act of putting an event on the calendar and notifying your friends and family puts you on the hook to finish your book on time. It can be as simple as hosting a wine and cheese event at your home or as elaborate as you wish to make it.
Whatever you do, your friends and family are going to want a signed copy and you’re going to want to document the event with photos.
2. At Conferences and Trade shows
I launched my first book at an industry conference. Although I grossly over estimated the number of copies I would sell, I had physical copies that people could thumb through and purchase on the spot. Having a stack of books on my table attracted passers-by who were intrigued by the cover.
Whenever I speak at a conference, I always request permission to sell my book in the back of the room or host a book signing at a vendor table during the event. After hearing you speak or conduct a workshop, attendees are likely to want to connect with you further by purchasing your book on the spot.
I volunteer with a non-profit organization and earlier this year, I chaired a committee that produced an author showcase event for the community. Each author was given a table to sell their books.
One of the authors didn’t have any physical books. All of his books were digital. As you can imagine, his table looked very sparse with only a stack of postcards next to all of the other authors who had copies displayed.
4. In the trunk of your car
You heard me correctly. Always keep a few copies of your book in your car. There have been several times when I’ve met people in informal situations, gotten into a conversation, and mentioned my book. I was pleasantly surprised the first time someone asked if I had a copy with me and whether they could purchase it on the spot. Now I never leave home without a couple of copies in the trunk.
5. For Contest entries
Entering a contest or getting a review from a publication are excellent ways to get publicity for your book and your business. Some of them require that you send a physical copy. You don’t want to eliminate your book from consideration.
6. Your web site and Social media accounts
You can post a cover of your ebook on your website and on your social media accounts, but you can’t post a picture of yourself or your fan holding a copy of the book. Posting photos of fans holding your book is a form of social proof. It lets potential book buyers know that other people like your book and may entice them to make a purchase.
7. For giveaways and publicity
Chambers of commerce events, networking events, and functions hosted by local business organizations are perfect opportunities to donate a copy of your book as a door prize or give-away. Usually at these events, the donors are recognized and in some cases, are allowed to address the group. This gives you an opportunity to showcase not only your book, but your business as well.
By the way, I’m not asking you to choose between an e-book and a printed book. I’m advocating that you produce both versions, but an ebook should complement your print book, not replace it.