The Writer's Relief staff wrote an article at Huffington Post for Writer Wednesday. It discussed print publication versus digital publication. The article itself wasn't that enlightening to me. It was the comments that came after it that were interesting.
As we know, many writers want that print book. I know I did. Do. I want to hold a real book in my hands—one that has my name on it. It's like a badge of courage. It shows I wrote. Got rejected. Broke into print. The traditional publishers sneer at my badge because I got it from a POD publisher—and they are traditional publishers' worst nightmare.
In fact, the bias is so bad that when querying agents about the manuscript I'm currently shopping, I have to omit the fact that I'm published. Some agents and publishers won't accept your submission if you dared go to a POD publisher. It doesn't matter that they weren't willing to look at it. You still should have forgone publication altogether rather than have committed the sin of publishing outside the traditional avenues. Now those "avenues" are scrambling for cover because POD publishing has been dropping some major bombs on them. And those bombs are book sales. Digital books are BIG sellers.
Print - Article's Pros (Condensed/Paraphrased):
1. People take you more seriously if you’re in print. And your mom will be proud. (Okay. But my mom is already proud of me. I agree that people take you more seriously, though, if you're in print.)
2. You can get on the shelves of libraries and bookstores. You can't do that with an e-book. (That's true for now, but with technology who knows what will happen in the future.)
3. When you have a real, physical book, you can hold book signings.
Print - Article's Cons (Condensed/Paraphrased):
1. Print runs are generally low.
2. You can't be "Googled". Your print stories (or poems) will not generally appear online. (Which smacks of potential piracy to me, so I'm not sure why that's in the cons category. It's more of a gray area to me.)
3. Print books cost more and can't compete with the prices of e-books.
E-Pubs - Article's Pros (Condensed/Paraphrased):
1. "Viral-ity." They say that when you're published online, it can be emailed, shared on social media sites, etc. (Which, once again, smacks of piracy to me—something many E-Pubs have serious problems with. Personally, I think I'd also put this one in the "gray" category.)
2. Because of low overhead for the publisher, E-book sales and online journal subscribers are unlimited. (That's a definite plus.)
3. Next they claim if you're published online you will show up on Google as a writer. (You also show up as a writer with print books, so I don't see how this is any different.) They claim that this is important and will help you with agents and editors. (Again, I disagree. It's not so important to agents and publishers if your credentials are from a POD publisher. They are getting a little more respect nowadays, but they still aren't credits agents take seriously. And, most often, your query letter is going no farther with the agent if they know you've been published with an E-Pub. It may not be fair, but it's a fact.)
E-Pubs - Article's Cons (Condensed/Paraphrased):
1. To quote the article: "Some people—and we’re not going to name names—have yet to acknowledge that e-publishing is, right now, a tremendous literary force. Which means that some e-journals and online presses are still fighting for literary legitimacy." (Which echoes what I just said. But it is more extensive than just "some people". It is almost the entire industry. Which is probably why they didn't name names. They didn't have enough space.)
2. "Your gram can’t bring a copy of your new book or poem publication to bingo night unless she prints it out. Poor gram! She wants bragging rights!"
3. Lower prices may not be such a great thing after all if you're not selling any books.
The articles goes on to discuss gray areas, but I think much of what they discussed already were gray areas. I also think they give the impression that it's strictly either/or. Either you go for print or you go for digital. That's a faulty starting point. Most E-Pubs also do print. You get both worlds, and that to me is best. I have my print book. My mom has my print book. My family has my print book. Complete strangers have my print book. But for those who prefer digital, that's certainly available. After all, my publisher is first and foremost an E-Pub.
Link to Article:
It wasn't really a substantive article. I thought it focused more on humor than substance. Not that it lacked substance entirely, it was just more focused on being entertaining—which it certainly was. And it solicited discussion—which it got. It's the comments where you'll find the real substance.
But what I'd like even more are YOUR comments. What are some of the pros and cons you would have listed if you'd written the article?