What Book Format Do Media Contacts Prefer: Print Or E-books?

I asked our team of publicists what types of books media contacts prefer, print or e-book. The answer is—it depends.

Every day in our book marketing and pitching efforts, Smith Publicity publicists contact book reviewers, bloggers, book interest media, magazine and newspaper editors, television and radio producers and freelancers covering a wide range of topics. Our goal is to secure meaningful media coverage for our authors in the form of book reviews, recommendations, broadcast interviews, expert commentary, interviews, feature stories, byline article/op-ed placements, etc. Along with creating timely and compelling hooks and story ideas, part of the process is offering authors’ books for review—and letting the media contacts know the formats available, such as e-book and/or print.

Who requests printed review copies more often?

In general, media working on longer lead and feature stories still tend to ask for print versions. We see this trend especially for print newspapers and magazines. These editors have expressed to us that e-book PDF files (which are then downloaded to an e-book reading device or read from a computer) can get lost in a barrage of email exchanges, while books are solid, and physically in front of them.

Interestingly, book bloggers requesting books for potential reviews are generally asking for the print versions. Feedback from this group tells us that the cover, paper, typography—the overall look and feel to the book—is important to the experience. And even though this group is computer savvy, often communicating with their audiences solely by Internet, they still overwhelmingly request a print version for review. Although most traditional book review outlets like Publisher’s Weekly or Library Journal have opened the doors to accept e-books, when speaking with our contacts, print versions are often still the preference.

Who requests e-book review copies more often?

The media most requesting e-books are producers, reporters, editors and freelancers on a deadline. Although these requests come in for both fiction and non-fiction titles, e-books from non-fiction or “expert” authors’ are in the highest demand.  Having an e-book to share absolutely helps an author’s chance for media attention.

We upload many of our clients’ books to NetGalley— an innovative online service and connection point for book publishers, reviewers, media, librarians, booksellers, bloggers and educators that can be an excellent addition to a book marketing campaign. This is a wonderful venue to quickly share e-books with professionals in the position to review and recommend books. This service allows authors to enjoy exposure with Goodreads and Amazon reviewers, and for libraries, bookstores, and schools to consider a book for their customers and users.

We love sending e-books as are we are quickly able to deliver a book in the hands of interested media while this interest is hot. This exchange offers a tremendous advantage to an author too in decreasing costs (and time!) to print and mail a book.

Give the media choices and make it easy

As technology and reading habits change, having both print and e-book versions of books available for the media makes it easier for a book to get to the top of the pile.

One final note for authors sharing e-books for review: make it simple. The more barriers, codes, special apps or unknown software that needs to be downloaded to see a book, the less likely a book is to be opened or reviewed. With thousands of books published each week in the United States alone vying for potential coverage, the easier we can make it for the media to see a book, the better for the author.

by Sandy Poirier-Diaz, President, Smith Publicity