5 Awesome Reasons To Promote your Print Book First (Not the eBook)

Imagine that you are majorly in book promotion mode. You’re rockin’ and rollin’, and you have that promotional copy all ready to go…

Your Call to Action is probably just “buy the book,” right?–no distinction between whether you want buyers to purchase the print book or eBook.

But sometimes, such as in a distinct pre-order campaign, the call for purchase has to be a specific item–either the print book or the eBook.

In those instances, push the print! I am a big advocate for marketing the print book over the eBook for a few key reasons. Here are 5:

1- The print book is a marketing tool in and of itself. It is majorly to your advantage to get as many print books into buyers’ hands as is feasibly possible. That book becomes its own best sales tool. People carry physical books around and read them in public all the time… in coffee shops, on airplanes, in doctor waiting rooms. They easily become conversation pieces, sparking an organic buzz and natural discussion around your product. This does not happen with eBooks. Think about it: an e-reading device just looks like another machine; it’s much harder for a third party to see the book cover/title on it.

2-  People do not connect as emotionally with on-screen text as with print text. A few years ago, The Guardian did a study where they gave half the participants a short story on a piece of paper and half the participants the same story on a digital device. A series of questions later showed that the iPad readers did not feel as immersed or emotionally connected to the story as paper readers, nor did they remember the chronology of events as well. As an author, if readers do not emotionally connect with your book, you’re in trouble. The degree to which they will share the message with their friends is directly proportional to the degree in which they are impacted by the content and feel connected to it. For maximum connectedness (and therefore, maximum buzz), push print.

3- People are more likely to multitask when they’re reading eBooks. In line with the point above, a person’s immersion in your content and connection to your message will be indicative of how “top-of-mind” the book is, even when they’re not reading, and how much they talk about it with friends or online. Studies show that readers are more likely to multitask when consuming content on an e-reader. Reading on an iPad offers myriad distractions, right?–texting, social media, email, news, all just a click away. Whereas, a print book is only that: a book. Distractions are minimal. You are more likely to create a dedicated brand ambassador for your book if that reader is fully plugged into the content–without distraction–and therefore more fully invested in your message.

4- A successful print book can lead to eBook promotion on Amazon. As is true with all of these reasons, once the print book gets more and more organic buzz, eBook sales will naturally follow. In the case of Amazon, though, there’s even more incentive to push print sales in order to highlight the eBook. Oftentimes, Amazon will give special placement to a book that’s selling well and even drop the price of the eBook to encourage further sales. It goes for the snowball effect every time; a little bit of momentum, and the whole brand will get rolling.

5- People are more likely to share the physical book on social media. Just look at your Instagram feed, or better yet, click a popular book hashtag within Instagram to see what comes up: photo after photo of the book cover. The physical book is easier to photograph, and considering those Instagram pictures are there “forever,” this helps the longevity of sales. In the same vein of thought, I always tell authors who are seeking social media posts from big-time influencers that they must send those people a hard copy of the book or galley, rather than an electronic one. The hard copy is what drives photo-sharing every time.

Buzz begets buzz, and that buzz starts, almost always, with the physical book. Click To Tweet

Books are a rare example of a product that bears its brand name front and center. It’s like an Nike t-shirt, you know? You can’t look at the physical product without seeing its name. As book marketers, we have a unique leg-up in this way. If we get the product–the hard copy product–distributed, it will do much of the promotional work on its own (assuming it has a rockin’ cover, title, and copy… more on that another time). Buzz begets buzz, and that buzz starts, almost always, with the physical book.


  • Carolee Samuda-Bailey

    Thank you Chad. This is very insightful. I am a new author who also prefer to read print books as opposed to ebooks. Your points are very valid about print being the preferred reading choice for many.

  • I absolutely believe this is true! I’ve launched 3 books, my 3rd last week and every time someone shares a picture of the book…someone in the comments says they just bought it. I like the idea of coming up in a few weeks with an ebook sale too! Thanks Chad!

  • Gary Townsend

    Is this true irregardless whether the book is fiction or nonfiction?

    • Gary Townsend

      One problem with the study cited — having just read the article — is that the sample of readers involved (only 50) is far, far too small for the study to be remotely conclusive.

      Another problem is nothing is said about the kind of Kindle used. Some Kindles, like the PaperWhite, are ereaders only, offering no distractions except other books stored on the device, while Kindle Fires are more like tablet computers, offering lots of distractions (games, the Internet, etc).

  • Pure gold here Chad! I classify this post as mind blowing…at least for me. It’s reshaping my December 6th ELIXIR Project release. Thanks for sharing your wisdom so freely.

  • growthtrac

    just discovered you, via the Parrott’s twitter sniply link… need to learn more about you. —

  • growthtrac

    just discovered you, via the Parrott’s twitter sniply link… need to learn more about you. —