OK, onto the post:
I really wasn’t kidding when I said that a dizzying number of decisions, aside from the actual printing process, have to be made prior to launching a self-published book. For instance, did anyone notice that Centipede Dragon A Benevolent Creature is NOT available as an e-book?
There are numerous success stories to support that selling in e-book format is a good marketing strategy. A low-cost e-book can entice readers who don’t know anything about you or your book, to invest the $1.99 in order to find out who you are. That $1.99 is to the potential reader is a worthy risk, should s/he decide your book is not his/her cup of tea. A major factor in deciding whether you want to sell your book in digital format is frankly the type of book you wrote. Investing in a many-hundreds-paged book is one thing, no matter what the subject. However, investing in a 32-paged, less than 800-worded picture book is an entirely different purchasing decision, based on many other factors aside from general interest.
I could be wrong, but I think people who buy children’s books IN GENERAL want to know what the story is exactly about from beginning to end. They don’t want to introduce a book that lionizes stealing, for example, to their kid, so if there is stealing in the plot, there should be a satisfying resolution that will teach both parent and child. The decision is also influenced by the illustrations. But mainly, people buy children’s books on recommendations, and may be less inclined to just “take a chance.” It is a more careful and curated process. As an adult, we are more ready to take chances on new books and authors, whereas a kid is initially entirely dependent on what parents choose to put in front of them.
This argument was part of the reason why I chose not to simultaneously launch the book in digital format as well. But I always have the option to do so, and might even consider launching it in e-book form now that I’m coming upon two years since its release in July, 2014.
The other part of my argument for resisting the digitization is more abstract. There’s value in a kid getting to physically turn the pages, to flip them back and forth and back and forth, lingering on beloved events, looking back for clues, or re-reading a beloved turn-of-phrase. When a kid deliberately chooses a well-loved story, sits down with it, and just quietly looks through it...that tattered book, with cookie crumbs lodged in the cracked spine and water stains, captures the history of you reading with your kid at bed time and all the discoveries that ensued. Seeing that it could be MY book with the cookie crumbs and water stains over the face of Centipede Dragon, keeps me wedded to print.