by Elizabeth S. Craig, @elizabethscraig,o9
I’ve recently been interested in expanding my books into every format that I can. Who knows how someone might want to read my books? I’m in digital, print (paperback), and audio. I’ve made my books accessible to an international audience and now the Myrtle books are being translated into Spanish (more on that in a later post).
But I’d never really thought about hardcover. It seemed like a very expensive option to buy. I know that, aside from gifts for family, I haven’t bought a hardcover book in ages.
As part of my expansion into other formats and to other markets, however, I realized that my books (through PublishDrive) are doing very well on the OverDrive platform. That’s a major distributor of digital materials to libraries. (More on OverDrive in this post.)
If my books were doing that well at libraries, I figured that it would make sense to have them also available in hardcover. Perhaps an acquisition librarian would note that my digital books were circulating to readers and decide to purchase a hardcover for the stacks.
Things to consider:
If you’re on Ingram, you’ll need to have ISBNs for your books (not the free ones from CreateSpace or Smashwords…which actually show CS and SW as the publisher). And, even if you have your own ISBNs, because this is a different format, you’ll need new ISBNs for the books for this particular format. I’m buying ISBNs from Bowker in bulk.
Obviously, your covers will need to be adjusted. I asked my cover designer to adapt the existing covers for hardcover dust jackets. You could also choose a case binding cover, but I wanted the cloth bound hardcover with the dust jacket. (More about hardcover choices in this post from Ingram Spark.) You’ll need a good deal more copy than you’re used to: there’s a back cover and front cover, but there’s also an inside front cover and an inside back cover to consider.
Your cover designer will need the ISBNs for the books in order to pull up a template from Ingram. And, of course, this means that your book needs to be at least partially set-up on Ingram to begin with. You’ll put in your book’s metadata as usual (I like to fill the fields out as completely as possible, not just focus on the required fields), set the international prices (this is hardcover, so you’ll want to go higher to see at least a little profit. Additionally, I set the book trade discount a bit lower, to either 30% or 35%), and upload the interior PDF. I used the same PDF that I uploaded for my trade paperback listing, and Ingram adapted it (it wasn’t a size-specific PDF to begin with). Depending on your file, you may need to upload an updated interior PDF. Then the cover designer will pull a template from Ingram.
The trim sizes for hardcover are here on Ingram’s site. I chose the closest size to my paperback size.
There’s is also a cost for Ingram’s set-up for the books at $49 a book. I’ve never paid the full fee since I’m a member of The Alliance of Independent Authors and they frequently have discounts for Ingram services.
My total cost ended up being the ISBNs and the cover adaptation. If you’re cleverer with design than I am, you could avoid that cover modification fee.
What I settled on:
I chose a gray cloth cover with a matte laminate.
I looked at books at my local library for copy inspiration for the dust jacket. I decided to go with:
Inside front cover of all books:
Description at top.
Series description (following) below that
Inside back cover of all books:
Testimonials for all three series
Each book ended up looking like this:
Some writers have mentioned that Amazon will discount the hardcovers as loss leaders…and must still pay full royalties to the author since the discount was on their side.
Will I make a lot of profit off these books this year? Most certainly not at a margin of $2-$3 a book. Will they always be in hardcover and always available to print? Yes. It’s the long-tail in the publishing game, as everyone has overstated. I’m willing to have modest returns in the short term and write off my costs for this project on my taxes next year. In addition to the library market, these could be draws for avid fans (see “Why Hardcover is the New Vinyl” by Yahdon Israel), and can be used as special promotional giveaways.
Have you thought about hardcover editions of your books?Tips and reasons for making your books available in hardcover: Click To Tweet