Making Paperback Copies?

After I posted about Half-Formed Places on Friday, a friend asked if there would be a paperback version of it, which was honestly not something I had considered.

It’s not a terribly long book, but I do know that some people do prefer to have a paper copy of anything, and maybe it would be worth it to make it available to those who want it.

But then I got to thinking–there’s quite a few books I only have out as ebooks. Both short story collections, and all the Writers’ Motivation Books (the workbooks, on the other hand, are only available in paperback). Should I make them all both digital and physical?

Certainly something to think about.

I can tell you why I haven’t. I make most of my own covers, and it is a million times easier to make an ebook cover than a paperback cover. A paperback cover you need to know the exact number of pages, because it’s all one big wraparound file, and there’s bleeding and margins to worry about, and it needs to be a high enough resolution to print clearly–just a lot more things to have to think about and plan for.

(But, Kit, you say, then why didn’t you make ebook versions of the workbooks? That’s a separate but different issue. The workbooks are in a pdf format, since there’s a lot of lines and margins and other things to worry about internally. You can upload a pdf for a paperback book, but you canNOT upload a pdf for an ebook, and I haven’t figured out how to convert the files without everything falling apart.)

Anyway, that’s a lot of moaning, and the long story short is that I’m willing to fight with the covers if paperback versions are something that appeal to people.

So, here’s a poll:

Thanks for your feedback, squiders! I always appreciate your thoughts on these types of things. Otherwise I feel like I’m just shouting into the void, and the void often agrees with whatever I want to do.

Got a new blog series starting next week, so I will see you then!

7 responses to this post.

  1. While setting up paperbacks is definitely painful, I actually hate ebooks more because I never get consistent formatting between my local file and the actual ereaders and end up manually tweaking the html/xml/whatever code over and over again. At least with a paperback upload, what you see is what you get.


    • I don’t normally find formatting issues with the ebooks–what are you using for formatting? Or do you have pictures and the like? That is harder, I find, but normally I’m only working with text.


      • My last book had footnotes. Lots and lots of footnotes. I will never do that again on an ebook. Plus Calibre, which i use to generate the ebook format, has formatting issues which forces me to go in and manually edit the .xml files.
        What do you use to generate ebook files? Maybe I’m using the wrong program…

      • I used to use Calibre too, but like you I ran into a lot of formatting issues and had to go in and edit the files. I find it easier just to do it in Word, and double check formatting a few places just in case.

  2. I my opinion, wrap-around covers are only necessary if you plan to have your book on sale at physical bookstores. It’s a marketing tool, to get someone to pick the book up off the shelf and hopefully buy it. A wrap-around cover doesn’t do you any good on Amazon/KDP. Amazon only shows the front and back image (see for example:, which has a wrap cover), so no one shopping on even knows there’s a wrap cover. If instead, you are making paperbacks for people who are already inclined to buy it, or who are only shopping online, you can simply use your ebook cover and a solid color back. You just need to make sure your ebook cover is large enough. You can do this on KDP paperback maker via the cover creator app and it’s a wizard program, so you don’t need to worry about spine size, bleed, or any of that (see for example: — also note that, again, only front and back images, no spine, so the customer is not going to notice much). I do this for all the small books I publish (which I also make the covers for) that I know aren’t going to sell enough to warrant the cost of full wrap covers. Doing simple paperbacks on KDP also gives me a mechanism to order cheap prints for author events. Shoot me an email if you want me to walk you through the process or see some images of the end result.


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