E-Books vs Print Books for Giveaways


November 12, 2020

As part of a book promotion campaign, many authors routinely offer giveaways or contests with books as prizes. Whether these are e-books or print copies depends upon author preference, publisher, supplies and cost factors.

Book Giveaways

Traditionally published authors may receive a carton of advance reading copies for reviewers or to use as giveaway prizes. They can easily supply print copies but may not have the option to give out digital editions. This factor might be curtailed now due to print run delays amid Covid-19 changes.

Suffice it to say that these authors can offer books as prizes in a format approved by their publisher. If they only have print copies available, they can opt to gift an e-book copy by purchasing it themselves. But considering the cost of e-books published by traditional houses, that’s no small sum. Some publishers may offer a digital format for reviewers or put it online at one of the known sites such as NetGalley. It’s up to each author to inquire as to what’s available. Or maybe the publisher is willing to mail out print books on behalf of the author.

On the other hand, self-published authors can make their own choices in this regard. They can order print proofs and send these out as advance reading copies. These books, usually trade paperbacks, cost more for the author as there are no free books from a publishing house. As an alternative, indie authors can offer digital review copies only or give the reviewer a choice.

As for contest prizes, indie authors can choose to give away either print or e-book copies. This is a personal preference, but again one must consider the cost. Print books are more expensive when you add in the shipping charges that can be considerable. This is before we spend on postage to send the print book to the reader.

Lately, I’ve been offering exclusively digital copies, not only for the cost issue, but also because I don’t care to stand in line at the post office during a pandemic. I have cartons full of first edition print copies of backlist titles I’d love to give away to readers, but they’ll have to wait until it’s safer out there.

Hopefully, you’ll be more understanding of why authors may offer one format or the other. It’s a personal choice dependent upon our publisher, formats available for our titles, how much we can afford, and how much we’re willing to risk our health during these uncertain times.

Be aware that even if you don’t own a dedicated e-reader device, you can download digital files onto your home computer or tablet. It’s great to get a signed print book as a contest prize, but please realize this is not always possible. At Booklover’s Bench, where we do monthly giveaways, you’ll see both e-books and print copies in the Prize Vault. Enter Here for a chance to win.

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• Posted in Blog • Tags: , , , , |  2 Comments

2 thoughts on “E-Books vs Print Books for Giveaways

  1. I am cleaning out a closet and found a few boxes of some of my early books. I don’t want to stand in line at the post office either! And, if I give away a few e-books, I do make a royalty on them so it costs less. 😉

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