When you thought of publishing your book for the first time, did you think of holding it in your hand? Smelling the pages? Tracing each word with your finger? Most probably. What if I told you that you could have that and more?
Multi-format publishing opens the doors to a wider variety of readers by making your book accessible, adaptable, and easy for a large audience to access. Choosing multi-format publishing typically means that your content will be available in three forms: print, eBook, and audiobook.
The main benefit of multi-format publishing is that it plays to the strength of different genres where the needs of the target demographic are different. For example, a children’s book is far likely to sell best in paperback format, where a parent and child can sit down and read before bed. Conversely, a lighter romance might be read on a tablet on the move.
There are obvious advantages to each medium. Physical copies provide the tactile experience—artefacts that can be displayed on shelves by those with a collector’s mind. Those with accessibility needs or frequent travellers are more likely to choose eBooks. Busy readers choose audiobooks so they can multitask.
Any way you look at it, multi-format publishing gives the reader the option of choice. Readers love being able to control what they read and exactly how they read it.
Ebooks are hugely adaptable for those with additional needs. Even without specialist software, screens on reading tablets allow the user to adjust the layout of the book, for example by increasing the font size. Visually impaired readers can also use screen reading software, provided the coding of your eBook is correct (there are professionals who can ensure your code is compatible with these softwares). Those with other accessibility needs can also use the highlight and page save features of eBook applications.
Reaping the Benefits
There is a known cost to self-publishing, but within that there’s the opportunity for you to make money. After choosing to publish in multiple formats, you also have the freedom to alter the way your books are produced. Rowanvale specifically offers print-on-demand services for physical books. The main advantage of print-on-demand is that it’s economic; you don’t need to commit money for production before your book has sold any copies. You also don’t have to manage your inventory— meaning no “sold out” signs next to your product online.
Additional revenue can also be found through in royalties. As opposed to being limited to single-format distributors who use and sell your work, there are a huge variety of companies who could potentially use, and pay you royalties, for your work. A prominent example of this is Radio 4 Extra, with audio books and dramas from a wide variety of sources programmed twenty-four hours a day and often reused.
You can also earn money from social media. Why not use your physical copies to make videos or even give them away. As you’ve likely heard before, TikTok is an incredible platform for marketing yourself and your books for free. The app has a huge amount of engagement and potential for growth. You can even use it as an offshoot bookstore. TikTok, alongside YouTube Shorts and Instagram Reels, garners a lot of attention and with enough views, the possibility for monetisation.
Instead of seeing multi-format publishing as an uphill challenge, experiment with your content’s strengths!
With digital formats particularly, there’s the potential for updating your book after its original publishing date. Either to reward your readers with additional content or to make changes based on feedback. It can also be a good way to correct tiny mistakes you always catch when reading your book after publishing.
Let’s talk spin-offs and supplements. With educational works, supplementing your book with multi-format materials may help support your main content and help readers to gain a deeper understanding of a subject whilst still using your materials. It works for fiction too; a multi-sensory experience can help readers get a grip on the world.
A great example of this is Margaret Atwood’s Year of the Flood. The physical book includes the lyrics of fictional hymns alongside each chapter title. The audiobook includes these hymns, specially composed and performed by a choir, as an extra feature. For me, viewing it as a listener, it allowed me to see the world of the story as a multi-sensory experience.
Consider multi-format publishing as a strategy--one that pays off very well. Done right, your book will reach a larger audience, diversify your revenue streams and transform your original text into content for a variety of different social platforms. Check out Rowanvale’s All Formats Publishing Package and what we can do to help you maximise your book’s potential both for readers and for you.