The benefits of simultaneous (print & digital) book launches

Every year, publishers invest a significant part of their budget into promotional activities related to new book releases. More and more publishers are deciding to launch their print and digital versions at the same time. As a matter of fact, our team recommends planning simultaneous print and digital launches; besides, it is a requirement from most large ebook vendors. Why is this so?

The principal reason lies in the ability for publishers to make the most out of every dollar invested in the launch. By delaying the availability of the digital version, publishers lose momentum related to commercial actions made for the print version. By launching side by side, both versions will benefit from press relations and advertising.

To illustrate this fact, I selected five comparable novels (in terms of targeted audience, sales price, etc.). The red and purple lines show sales of ebooks launched at the same time as their print counterparts. The ebook version of the three others (represented by the green, blue and yellow lines) were made available weeks (in some cases months!) after the print edition’s launch.

graph simultane

The sales curves speak for themselves. The simultaneous launches yielded significantly more ebook sales right from the start. Those who delayed the ebook launches saw their sales begin in very low levels; levels which the two print-digital launch titles took months to reach.

A key advantage of simultaneous launches lies in the increased accessibility of ebooks to readers. Titles are available 24/7 on ebook stores. Many readers purchase a book shortly after having heard from it in the media. This phenomenon is illustrated in the following graph.

graph effet tv

This ebook’s author participated in a very popular TV show a few weeks following the launch of his book, thus giving a second boost to the sales. By mining the data underlying the second sales peak, I realized the sales were made on the same day as the interview and the following day. The publisher reaped the fruits of spontaneous purchases that perhaps would not have been made if readers had to go to a brick and mortar bookstore.

Simultaneous launches also hold many other benefits. Having a digital version allows publishers to share excerpts from the book on the Web and in social networks. Thanks to a galley service, like Cantook’s, publishers can send digital press copies and save money in print and postage costs. Preorder tools (like in the iBookstore, for instance) can further increase your book’s visibility. Print-digital bundles may also potentially be created.

Why aren’t all publishers already doing it? Some of them fear they will lose print sales to ebooks. However, this is not an issue reported by our partners who have been doing simultaneous launches. Moreover, simultaneous launches require slightly different planning, considering the book must be converted into an ebook format well before the launch. But it is possible: many publishers succeed by planning accordingly.

Are you now convinced that launching your digital and print versions simultaneously will benefit you? Give it a try and keep us posted!

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