Which Book Formats to Publish? eBooks or Print

eBook or Print

The debate between publishing eBooks or print books continues to be a significant topic among authors and publishers. Each format offers unique benefits and caters to different audiences.

Today, we will compare these two popular publishing formats to help you decide which is the best fit for your publishing needs.

eBook vs print book ingographic

Everything You Need to Know About An eBook

An eBook, short for “electronic book,” is a digital version of a book that can be read on computerse-readers, or other electronic devices. It offers flexibility and convenience, allowing readers to carry multiple books on one device.  They are particularly popular among commuters and travelers because they can switch between titles with ease.

Also, these can be stored in vast quantities without occupying physical space, making them perfect for those with limited living space.  Many libraries and online stores offer a wide range of eBooks, often at lower prices or through subscription services that give access to thousands of titles.

Key Features of A Print Book

A print book is a physical book that is traditionally printed on paper. Readers and collectors often appreciate the tactile experience of turning the pages and the smell of the paper.  This format remains favored for its ease of sharing and gifting, and many find that print books provide a break from screen exposure.

Furthermore, print books have a certain aesthetic appeal; they can be objects of art with beautiful covers and quality binding.  There’s also a robust market for used print books, which can be less expensive and carry their own history.

The Pros and Cons


  • Accessibility: eBooks can be downloaded and read instantly from anywhere in the world, provided there is internet access. This instant access is invaluable for students and professionals who need information immediately or for readers who cannot wait for physical delivery.
  • Convenience: With eBooks, readers can carry hundreds of books on a single device, making it ideal for travel. This eliminates the need for physical storage and allows for reading during situations where carrying multiple books would be impractical.
  • Cost-effective: Generally, eBooks are cheaper to produce and buy than their print counterparts. The lack of printing, shipping, and warehousing costs makes these more affordable, allowing publishers to price them lower.
  • Interactive elements: eBooks can include links, videos, and other multimedia content, enhancing the reading experience. This is particularly beneficial in educational contexts where interactive elements can facilitate learning and engagement.
  • Adjustable features: Readers can adjust the font size, background color, and brightness, making reading more comfortable for those with vision impairments. These customization options help cater to individual reading preferences and conditions.
  • Dependency on devices: eBooks require electronic devices and power to be read. This dependency means that in the absence of electricity or functioning devices, reading an eBook can become impossible.
  • Screen fatigue: Prolonged screen exposure can lead to eye strain and discomfort. Many people find that reading from a screen for long periods is less comfortable than reading from a paper book.
  • Less memorable: Studies suggest that reading print leads to better retention of information than reading on a screen. The tactile act of turning pages and physically interacting with the book contributes to better memory and recall.

Print books

  • Sensory experience: Many readers cherish the tactile sensations of holding a book and turning its pages. The physical interaction with a book can enhance the reading experience, making it more personal and engaging.
  • No batteries required: Print books do not require power sources, making them always accessible. This independence from technology is particularly valuable during power outages or while traveling to remote locations.
  • Easier on the eyes: Reading print is less likely to cause eye strain compared to screens. The matte surface of paper reflects light differently than screens, reducing glare and facilitating longer reading sessions without discomfort.
  • Collectability: Print books can be collected and displayed in a library, often increasing in value over time. Many book lovers appreciate the aesthetic of shelves filled with books, which can also serve as personal or professional statements.
  • Higher costs: Print books are more expensive to produce, resulting in higher retail prices. The costs associated with printing, distributing, and storing physical books add significantly to their final price.
  • Environmental impact: Printing books consumes paper and ink, contributing to environmental degradation. The production process also involves the use of chemicals and generates waste, making it less sustainable than digital options.
  • Bulk and weight: Carrying multiple print books can be inconvenient, especially for travelers. The physical bulk and weight of books can make them cumbersome to handle and transport, particularly for those who wish to read several titles simultaneously.

How to Make the Right Choice?

person holding e-book and books are on the table

Consider Your Audience

Your decision should largely depend on your target audience. Younger, more tech-savvy audiences might prefer eBooks, while older demographics or collectors might lean towards print. Understanding the preferences and reading habits of your intended readers is crucial in choosing the right format.

Analyze Your Content

Some content is better suited to digital format, such as educational material that can benefit from interactive features. Conversely, narrative-driven books might be more enjoyable in print, where the traditional reading experience is often preferred.

Evaluate Your Budget

Consider your budget constraints. eBooks might be a more cost-effective option if you are starting out or have limited resources. The lower upfront costs associated with digital publishing can be particularly appealing to new authors and small publishers.

All in All…

Deciding whether to publish your work as an eBook or a print book boils down to understanding your own goals and knowing your audience. If you’re just starting out and have a tight budget, eBooks can be a great way to reach readers without a hefty upfront investment. They’re especially good if you want to tap into a global market right away.

On the other hand, if your dream has always been to see your book on a shelf or you’re targeting readers who cherish the feel of physical pages, then print might be the way to go. Remember, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer here; it’s about what works best for you and your book. Whatever you choose, getting your words out there is what truly matters.