I’m still new to the world of self-publishing and I don’t sell that many books. However, I’m learning more and more as time goes on. Today, I wanted to share with you a major discovery I made last month. I was able to double the sales of my self-published books on Amazon.com. The best part of this story is that I didn’t have to write new books to do this! I’m using a strategy you might already be doing or this might be the first time you’re hearing about it. But the main thing I want you to take away from this post is the power of reusing or repurposing content you already have. So what did I do to double my March book sales? I simply converted my Kindle ebooks into physical print versions on Createspace.
Createspace is a company that produces print-on-demand books and is owned by Amazon.com. Because they are owned by Amazon, integration between Kindle ebooks and their print versions from Createspace is seamless. Making a print book isn’t too difficult, but as a first-timer, it did take me awhile to get used to all the proofing and formating required to get a professional looking book. There were many things I learned while editing the digital proofs. And when it came down to ordering the physical proofs, it took me more time to read through my books again with a pencil in-hand to mark-up the mistakes.
When I was satisfied with my editing job. I published the print books to Amazon all in the same week in February. I did this with 3 of my books and they all automatically linked up to the Kindle versions except one. You can read more about what happened and how I got that book linked to my Kindle version here. I immediately noticed that people were buying the print versions. Actually, I was selling more print versions than I thought I would. February was only a partial month for print sales.
Now that March is over, I have a full month of sales to look at and analyze. The biggest thing I saw was that I sold almost equal amounts of Kindle books as I did print books! Here are the sales numbers from my books:
- Book 1 number of sales: 10
- Book 2 number of sales: 9
- Book 3 number of sales: 40
- Total ebook sales in March: 59
Createspace print books:
- Book 1 number of sales: 4
- Book 2 number of sales: 24
- Book 3 number of sales: 34
- Total print book sales in March: 62
I didn’t include borrows, but if you add up the number of Kindle books borrowed, there would be a few more copies I can add to my Kindle total. Looking at these numbers, it’s quite easy to see that there is a clear advantage to offering both print and electronic versions of your books. I will be very interested to see if I still get nearly 1:1 sales in April for these titles. For the record, I only publish non-fiction books and don’t have any experience with fiction titles.
Pricing Print Books
When you publish a print book, you have to price it higher than the Kindle version to get the same commission amount. In the books mentioned in this article, I had my Kindle books priced at $3.99 and my print books (black & white) priced at $7.99. That allowed me to get right around $2.65 per sale for both print or electronic versions. However, at this time, I would recommend only doing black & white print books. I’m finding out as I am prepping my next book that full-color books have to be priced much, much higher in order to get a decent royalty. The high price is definitely going to discourage buyers because these books are going have fewer number of pages but cost more. So I will have one full-color book available soon as an experiment but it looks like I will be sticking with black & white for print.
You can use the royalty calculator at Createspace to determine how many pages and what trim size you need for any given royalty amount.
My Future Publishing Plans
My March book sales was really a surprise to me. Having done nothing more than offering print versions, I doubled the sales of my titles. So from now on, I will be publishing both print and electronic versions of all future titles. In fact, I’m doing some final editing work to a book that was written by a ghostwriter and I’m currently formatting it for Kindle and Createspace at the same time. There are differences creating the two versions but the extra work is worth it!
Increasing Credibility of Your Books
I believe that having both print and ebook versions of your titles on Amazon increases the credibility of your books. Of course you have to have good content as well but I think that when people see that a Kindle book is available in print, they’re more likely to buy if they’re interested. But even today, there are still people who would rather buy a print book so by having a print book available, you can capture those customers. Not everyone owns a Kindle or wants to read a book on an electronic device!
When books are properly linked, you will see the table shown above on your print and Kindle sales pages on Amazon. This way, customers can easily select between the two versions and buy the one they want.
One last thing, as time goes on, it will be inevitable that used copies of my books will become available. Those copies can show up in the “Used From” column. These are copies that are sold by third-parties on Amazon. They’ll usually be lower in price and I won’t collect royalties on any of those books sold. This could be a problem for my print sales in the future since many book buyers are bargain hunters and don’t mind buying used copies.