The Book Beautiful: Hard vs. Soft Cover

When self-publishing, one of the aesthetic decisions you’ll have to make is whether or not to publish your book as a hard or soft cover. The decision is one that will mainly affect your readers, so when exploring the pros and cons of this decision, we will be considering the experience and opinions of your potential readers.

books on display India

First let’s consider what the pros are to publishing a hardcover title?

  1. Hardcovers are just plain nice to look at. They are sleek.
  2. You don’t have to worry about the pages getting ‘flappy’ or folded at the edges.
  3. They absolutely last longer–I can’t tell you how many paperback books I have with torn off or taped on covers.
  4. No need for a bookmark, just use the handy-dandy book jacket!
  5. Look great as additions to a bookshelf or coffee table.

And the cons to publishing a hardcover title?

  1. They are heavy as can be; i.e. not ideal for travel.
  2. They are undoubtedly more expensive which will deter a lot of potential readers. This also means a higher publishing expense which is important to those of us self-publishing authors.
  3. A lot of readers find book jackets annoying and simply remove them, which means all that time you spent designing a cover may go to waste.
  4. It can certainly be more awkward to handle and read a hardcover; they are bulky and not easily wielded with one hand.
  5. Readers tend to only buy hardcover books of authors they are already die-hard fans of, so if you don’t already have a fan base, it may be more difficult to create one if your book is only available in hardcover.

Now to consider to pros of publishing a softcover title:

  1. Relatively speaking, softcover books are cheaper, both to print and to purchase.
  2. Softcovers are easier to travel with, they are also easier to read on the go.
  3. They are more widely purchased, so you have a better chance of people buying your book, especially first time readers of yours.

And then cons of publishing a softcover title?

  1. They are semi-easy to tear; the cover may fall off.
  2. Not long lasting, especially if you travel with them.
  3. Depending on printing costs, they may not have as high of a profit margin.

With those things in mind, the decision is now yours! (I won’t further complicate things by discussing the pros and cons of adding an ebook to your publication artillery. 🙂 )


Thank you for reading!  If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, or contributions, please use the comment field below or drop us a line at selfpublishingadvice@gmail.com.  And remember to check back each Wednesday for your weekly dose of marketing musings from one indie, hybrid, and self-published author to another. ♠


Kelly

ABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the Executive Vice President of Outskirts Press. In addition to her contributions to the Outskirts Press blog at blog.outskirtspress.com, Kelly and a group of talented marketing experts offer book marketing services, support, and products to not only published Outskirts Press authors, but to all authors and professionals who are interested in marketing their books and/or careers. Learn more about Kelly on her blog, kellyschuknecht.com

Self-Publishing: 10 Things You Need to Know

If you are new to self-publishing, it can seem a little overwhelming at first, but there are plenty of great resources to help you decide if self-publishing is right for you and to answer all your questions on hot topics such as copyediting, copyrights, and book formatting. Below is a list of 10 must read articles for self-publishing authors. Each gives you helpful information to ensure you have a great self-publishing experience.

1. 4 Reasons to Fall in Love with Self-Publishing

Not only is self-publishing a huge trend among first time authors, but it is also becoming increasingly common for writers who previously used traditional publisher (and had great success) to switch to self-publishing. This article discusses the top four reasons why writers love self-publishing.

2. The Cost of Self-Publishing

The cost of self-publishing is a common question, and concern, for many writers. This article provides an honest look at the cost of publishing your book.

3. 5 Self-Publishing Mistakes You Can Avoid

Sometimes self-publishing gets a bad rep because of the amateur mistakes some authors make. This post will help you avoid those mistakes so you can be seen as a professional and your book can be taken seriously by readers and the publishing industry.

4. What is an ISBN?

This article explains what an ISBN is, if you need one, and how to get one.

5. Paperback vs. Hardcover: Which is Better?

This post discusses the pros and cons of paperback and hardcover books. It will help you decide which cover is best for your project.

6. Should You Create Your Own Cover?

A great book cover can significantly impact your book’s success. This article breaks down the pros and cons of creating your own book cover or hiring a graphic artist.

7. The Importance of a Compelling Back Cover Synopsis

The back cover of your book is also important. This article explains the importance of a compelling back cover synopsis and provides tips on creating one.

8. Copyediting 101

This article explains how copyediting is different from proofreading and why it is a good idea to consider hiring a professional copyeditor.

9. Top 7 Book Formatting Questions for Self Publishing Authors

One of the most popular topics I receive questions on is book formatting. This article tells you what you need to know.

10. Top 6 Self-Publishing Copyright Questions

Copyright is another hot topic among authors. This great article answers the most common questions, such as what is the fair use law and how do I know if something is copyright protected.

I’d love to know, what other questions do you have about self-publishing?

ABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the Vice President of Outskirts Press. In addition to her contributions to the Outskirts Press blog at blog.outskirtspress.com, Kelly and a group of talented marketing experts offer book marketing services, support, and products to not only published Outskirts Press authors, but to all authors and professionals who are interested in marketing their books and/or careers. Learn more about Kelly on her blog at http://kellyschuknecht.com.

Paperback vs Hardcover: Which is Better?

I frequently work with authors who can’t decide whether to self-publish a paperback or hardcover book. My recommendation is to do both. There are pros and cons to each style of book. By having both paperback and hardcover versions, you can appeal to different types of buyers. Here is an overview of the pros and cons of each style.

Paperback

  • Cheaper
  • Appealing to the majority of buyers
  • Easier to travel with
  • Less durable

Hardcover

  • Make great gifts, especially if it is autographed
  • Look good on display at signings and/or speaking events
  • More expensive
  • Tend to be more durable

I’d love to hear your opinions: do you prefer paperback or hardcover books?

ABOUT JODEE THAYER: With over 20 years of experience in   sales and management, Jodee Thayer works as the Manager of Author Services   for Outskirts Press. The Author Services Department   is composed of knowledgeable customer service reps and publishing consultants;   together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process in order to help them publish the   book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your   career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction or a novelist   seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Jodee Thayer can put you   on the right path.