Reader Input Sought Regarding Print and Ebook Versions

As discussed previously (see Libertarian Papers, Vol. 3, Part 1 Now Available in Print and Ebook), we recently decided to start offering Paper and Ebook Versions of Libertarian Papers articles, by occasionally collecting them into Parts (like issues) and offered for sale in print versions and epub versions on the major epub retailers. We did this in part in response to several requests by readers over the last couple years to prepare paper versions.

So far, sales for the ebook versions on Kindle, Nook, etc., are pretty low, and, while paper sales are a bit higher, those are pretty low as well. At present the cost to prepare the epub and Createspace files, plus the ebook-aggregator service (Bookbaby) and Createspace fees is probably too high to be recouped by sales. I’d like to gauge reader interest in both the ebook, and paper, versions, to determine how to proceed going forward (although the sales are already telling me something).

What we will probably do, going forward, at least for now, is publish paper versions only, since the majority of the cost per issue lies in the epub preparation fees and the Bookbaby fees. The costs for preparing the Createspace file and its fees are much lower, and might make this sustainable going forward.

If you have any thoughts or suggestions, feel free to leave a comment or email me.


  1. Why not do it like, and make the epubs free? ^_^

  2. I would publish in PDF format at least. Also, doesn’t Kindle convert books for free?

  3. Joshua House says:

    Publishing paper-bound volumes just doesn’t seem to make sense. I don’t read every article, only those that pertain to my field of study. Epub is much more efficient, I’m not sure why it’s costing you so much. Surely there is free conversion software available.

  4. Skyler: we make Word and pdf free already.

    Tim: we do make PDF free already. Yes, people who have kindle can convert the word to their kindles. But most don’t know how.

    Joshua: it costs because we pay someone who knows how to do it. Free conversion stuff does not work well. I don’t want to do it in a shoddy way.

  5. $7.99 for an e-book? No wonder your sells are less than spectacular. You’ve priced yourself right out of the market. You’re thinking in analog, not digital. $9.99 or more for paper is fine and justifiable to the the potential buyer of paper, but when your buyer is thinking digital, $7.99 is a ripoff.

    Doesn’t the consumer set the price in a free market? Once you get over the initial sticker shock of creating the product, it comes down to volume of sales. It’s digital. It is create once, freely reproduce forever.

    The beauty of posting on Amazon or BN is that the more books you sell, the higher you go on the list(s), the more likely other people will see your book and buy it.

    At $7.99 you aren’t bringing in any new readers to the libertarian ideology. First rule of marketing, know who your target customer is.

    My target wouldn’t be the old guard that might buy the paperback, but the 20 year old spending their time “occupying all the streets” that might not have a lot of disposable income, but all own a laptop or a smart phone. And can afford a book on libertarian thought that maybe, only cost a dollar or two.

    Ideas spread a lot faster when they are easily accessible.

    Check out Joe Konrath’s website on self-publishing. It’s enlightening.

    • Matt johansen says:

      I am confused as to why the physical costs of the medium play into your determination of value. Do you pay more for a 500 page Lady Gaga autobiography than you do for a 60 page monograph on virtue? The price, to most readers, is based on the value of the thoughts contained in the piece, printed on 34 lb glossy, bible paper, spoken at a rubber chicken dinner or delivered via Nook does not matter. It does make it easier to compare but as with all things, we have learned, price is not based on cost of production.

  6. Allan Ripley says:

    I personally look forward to the print editions. The fact is that I like books. While I agree there are some advantages to electronic formats, goods books represent treasure to me. I enjoy the tactile experience of handling them, the visual experience of seeing ink on paper, and I know I will still have them in down-grid days. They represent a tangible symbol of civilization and are something that can be bequeathed. Keep printing, please.

  7. Michael Makovi says:

    As for the paper, I haven’t used Createspace, but I have used QOOP, and with them, I was just able to upload a PDF and print it, without having to pay any sort of membership fee or the like. Maybe see if that is cheaper?

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