How To Use 100 Printed Books To Promote Your Self-published Title

There’s an old axiom that sums up America’s enduring love affair with the printed book: The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Readers remain stubbornly loyal to ink-and-paper editions of their favorite books. When BookBaby first published this infographic, “100 Books Will Be Gone Before You Know It,” it included this key statistic:

In 2015, 66 percent of Americans preferred printed books over the relatively new technology of digital books.

We wanted to update the graphic to reflect today’s publishing marketplace, so we reran the numbers. The results recall French writer Jean-Baptiste Karr’s expression listed above. Despite the advent of TikTok, streaming services, and dozens of other attention-stealing technology changes in the past eight years, the score remains the same.

In 2022, 66 percent of Americans choose physical books over the now-established eBook format.

So, what’s behind our stubborn passion for paper books? Here are a few theories:

  • With a record 826 million printed books sold in the US in 2021, sales peak in late Autumn and early Winter, hinting that Americans are buying lots of physical books as gifts for the holiday season.
  • Pre-digital generations still prefer a low-tech or no-tech approach to their recreation time. There’s nothing as simple as picking up a paper book and turning to page one.
  • Many people prefer printed books because they enjoy having a physical, tangible thing to hold when it comes to what they buy. We’re seeing a focus on older, established forms of media making a market comeback in other industries too, such as the vinyl LP and Compact Disc (CD) resurgence we see in the music world.
  • Printed books need no preparation for reading on the go, with no headphones or charging required. It’s as simple as popping one in your bag to read on the bus, train, or plane.
  • In a nod to the digital age, printed books remain infinitely more shareable. Interesting cover art, vintage editions, iconic author names and titles… this is great material to garner responses on social media sites such as TikTok and Instagram.
  • Finally, print books are arguably more social, easily loaned or passed along to friends and family. When a book is purchased digitally, it can only be read by the one login account on whatever platform it’s been bought on. Ink-and-paper books have endless potential to circulate.

Now the only question that remains for authors: How many books do you need to print to meet the steady high demand for our favorite book format? Here’s how we propose you put 100 printed books to use.

how to promote using 100 printed books

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Steven Spatz is a writer, marketer, and President Emeritus of BookBaby, the nation’s leading self-publishing service provider. After a successful career with companies including Mattel, Hasbro, and Pinnacle Orchards, Steven joined AVL Digital in 2004 as Chief Marketing Officer, leading the direct-to-consumer marketing teams for music industry-leading brands Disc Makers, Oasis, and CD Baby. The native Oregonian was tapped to lead BookBaby, the company’s new publishing division, in late 2014. BookBaby’s growing book-printing operation is located outside Philadelphia, PA, and employs over 100 book-publishing experts across the United States to meet the printed and eBook needs of thousands of self-publishing authors around the globe. Steven retired as brand President in 2022 and continues to contribute via weekly emails, industry guides, and posts on the BookBaby blog. He’s in the process of relocating full-time to southern France in early 2023. Steven loves to hear from authors, editors, and publishers in the BookBaby community with tales of publishing trials and triumphs. To tell him your story, write to steven@bookbaby.com.

18 COMMENTS

  1. […] Making The Most Of Writers’ Conferences One Writers Conference Can Be All the Catalyst You Need How To Use 100 Print Books To Promote Your Self-published Book [Infographic] Book marketing tips for self-published […]

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  6. […] front and back cover, spine, and the book’s contents. You’ve also ordered 25 to 100 physical copies to have on […]

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  10. Wow – lots of ways to promote, quite a few of which I’ve added to my “why didn’t I think of that” list.

    Many thanks for the list and for the easy-to-digest way you’ve shown it.

  11. […] How to Promote Your Book, in an Infographic (BookBaby) BookBaby has put together an infographic explaining what a self-published author should do with his or her first 100 books. “If you’re going to self publish, you need to self promote. If you’re going to get involved in your own PR, physical books can be a great vehicle for your book promotion efforts. If you’re going to use print on demand books – we’ve got ideas for how to put 100 of them to work for you.” […]

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