When you write a book, there is a lot to consider and one of the most important decisions you have to make is choosing the best format for your book. You may wonder why format is important and why you need to decide about it before you begin writing. After all, you could publish your book in a number of formats, so why do you need to choose? Here is a summary.

  1. The format affects how much content you write
  2. The format affects the price you choose for your book
  3. The format affects the cost of production (design, print)
  4. The format affects how you market your book and reach your buyers
  5. The format affects how quickly you produce your book

Let’s look at these factors in detail so you can choose the best format for your book.

1.     The format affects how much content you write

If you are writing a short, snappy Kindle book, you won’t need to write as much content as for a longer print title, or for a more detailed PDF eBook. Kindle is a publishing format you can write relatively little content for but still produce a book, but if you write the same amount of content for a print book, you will have more of a pamphlet than a book.

A PDF eBook can be content light or heavy, depending on how it is designed but the format will still influence how you write and what you include in your book. If you are planning to produce a PDF book that you sell from your website for £97 you will need to write more content than for a short 99 pence Kindle book.

You can see that choosing a format can have a huge impact on the content of your book, its length and the level of detail you include. If you leave decisions about format until you have finished writing, you may find you have the wrong content for type of book you want to write.

1.     The format affects the price you choose for your book

As mentioned in the previous section, the price of your book and its format are closely linked.  A print book probably has a upper limit of £9.99-12.99 whereas a PDF eBook could command prices ten or more times higher. Equally, a Kindle book can be as low as 99 pence. The format you choose can have a huge impact on the profits you make, how fast you make them and whether you take all of the profits or have to take a royalty (as with Kindle).

The price you charge for your book will also have an impact on the profit you make on your book and how fast you make that profit. A high-priced PDF sold to your list could make a lot more money for you than a Kindle book published at a low price or a print book that is sold at a moderate price. Of course, if you have a marketing strategy that is more about up-selling a product than making money from your book, the money you make from book sales may not be the most relevant factor.

2.     The format affects the cost of production (design, print)

It is undeniable that a PDF or print book is likely to cost more to produce than a Kindle book, and print book is likely to be far more expensive than a PDF eBook.  There are two main reasons for this: first, print and PDF eBooks require more editorial processes (checking proofs) than a Kindle book; second, print and PDF eBooks need more design input (text design and cover design). Both of these factors make anything but a Kindle book more expensive to fund than the other two options. Of course a print book has to be printed too and distributed too, whereas the other two formats are available electronically, although the reader may decide to print out a PDF book if they wish.

3.     The format affects how you market your book and reach your buyers

You can reach your market in almost any way these days but different formats can impact the size and speed that you reach your market.

Kindle can be delivered in seconds, is accessible any time and makes the most of the huge Amazon marketplace and shop-front. PDF ebooks: can be delivered in seconds, is accessible any time but relies on your own delivery and shopping cart systems.

Print book: needs mail or a shop for delivery, is not accessible any time, can be sold by Amazon and from your own website (as long as you are prepared to send out the books yourself and take payments). Any book needs to be marketed and you need to use as many ways as possible to get your book in front of your market, but the format you choose will have an impact on how many people you reach and how quickly.

4.     The format affects how quickly you produce your book

When you publish in print and PDF formats, your book will need additional proofing and checking stages and this will have an impact on how quickly you can produce your book. Print on demand may make your book almost instantly available to booksellers but it is not as instant as the electronic format. In terms of the production process, however, PDF and print books could take several weeks longer, depending on the complexity of your design is and the length of your book.

A Kindle book still needs editing and proofreading but it does not need to go through the same production process as a print or PDF book and that make it faster to publish.


Although it might seem as if Kindle always comes up on top almost every time, if you have a responsive list and a hot topic, a PDF eBook could be a far better way to generate great income. A print book will probably provide the greatest level of kudos and has the benefit of being a physical product that you can give away and sell from the back of a room. So consider what might be the best format for your book because it will have a huge impact on your business and the success of your book within it. So choose your format carefully, and be certain that your choice is the best one for you, your book and your business.

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Deborah Taylor
Deborah Taylor

Hi, I'm Deborah Taylor and I'm a publishing consultant and book-writing mentor. I work with established business owners who want to share their message by writing a book but are struggling to get started (or finished). I help them write, publish and launch a stand-out, attention-grabbing book that will raise their profile, reach more of their ideal clients and grow their business. I am a trained editor with over 15 years' publishing experience with major blue-chip UK publishing companies such as Hodder & Stoughton, BBC Books, Cassell and Pearson. I have produced books on every subject under the sun and with professinals and experts from a wide range of professions, from chefs and gardeners to life coaches and career consultants. I would love to help you write a book you love and that will raise your profile, attract new clients and bring you exciting new business opportunities.