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  • Writer's pictureGerald C. Anderson, Sr.

Book Formats Available to Self-Publishers

I started my journey in the writing world 11 years ago and formats were limited then. However, writers are enjoying more options today more than ever. It’s the golden age for authors, and the opportunities for publishing can seem overwhelming. Whether you publish traditionally or choose to self-publish, there are a handful of different formats. Let’s look at each of them and explore the pros and cons.


Print is the original book format. In the past, many self-publishers focused on e-books, but now print is a very viable and potentially profitable option as well. The simplicity and cost of publishing made e-books the primary format for self-publishers. Printing a book was a bit trickier, and you had to know what you’re doing to do it right.

That’s not true anymore. Today it’s easier to create a professional quality print book. With tools like Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), you can upload your formatted interior pages, and a professionally created book cover. If you’re not inclined to make your own book cover, you can hire someone to create it for you at an affordable price.

Many book printing and distribution services offer formatting and design services. This gives you every opportunity to create and sell a professional-looking book. It’s also important to know your audience. Some audiences prefer print books, so you can target a larger audience by offering a print version of your book.

Another note on print books is that Amazon currently offers hardcover printing as a beta test. The hardcover books that I have ordered are very nice and well worth the effort. It also adds another option to your book choices for your fans.


Digital printing is awesome! You can upload your manuscript and start selling it within a few short hours. I have created several short story e-books that quickly went live. These stories can keep your fans entertain while you write your next novel.

You can also make changes to the book quickly and easily. There’s no downtime. For example, if you notice a typo or want to update the information, you can change your document, upload it, and begin selling that new version right away (after Amazon completes their review).

The only downside to digital publishing is that the books sell for less than print books. This means that you make less money per book, but the cost of making that book is next to nothing. Therefore, the only con is not a con at all. Add the promise of instant gratification often means that they’re easier to sell. You may sell more digital books than print. And the market is growing as more people acclimate to digital and start preferring e-books over print.

Audio Books

Audio books are another option to consider. While many authors neglect this format, you can reach a much wider audience with audio books. Like KDP for Amazon, ACX or Audio Creation Exchange is an Amazon company. ACX helps self-published authors create audio books to market and sell. You can narrate your book, which can be a lot of fun, or you can hire a narrator to read your book to your readers.

As a self-published author, you can create and sell a wide variety of formats. It’s a tremendous time for aspiring authors and embracing all your publishing options can help you not only sell more books, but also build a career.

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