Why It May be Worth Waiting to Publish a Hardcopy of Your Book
I know, I know. Many people prefer hardcopies over eBooks. Many writers and publishers will say you should have a hardcopy or paperback available with your eBook.
I agree…if you’re satisfied with your reviews. I realized this recently. I’ve published too many premature books that got just okay reviews but not super-satisfying ones. So, I removed them from the market. However, only the eBooks are gone forever. Sadly, the print books will be there for the rest of time. Amazon and other retailers list print versions for third-parties to sell copies, even if the author removed them from the market. And if the paperbacks and hardcovers are listed permanently, the reviews will be there forever.
Now I have a bunch of books on Amazon that aren’t available anymore (except maybe from third-party sellers) but will never be taken down. I hope it doesn’t ruin my reputation as an author.
That’s when I started to give myself a new rule: no print copies may be published unless I have at least a few reviews that are very satisfying—not just so-so. That way, if I’m not happy with the reviews, I can remove the eBook and the listing shouldn’t stay up.
If you’re traditionally publishing, this might not work as the publisher will have the rights. But if you’re self-publishing, then I would highly recommend this, even if you send out pre-publication copies and they’re all satisfying. That excludes people you know personally.
Despite my suggestion, some authors say to publish your hardcopy before your eBook, so that you can get pre-orders and more reviews before the digital version is available. However, I think this would be better for more experienced authors.
Of course, in the end, it's up to you.