“Should I write an ebook or ecourse?”

It’s a common question among online business owners looking to generate leads or sell products to their audience.

Either (or both!) can be great, but several factors come into play when deciding what works best for you.

Before we dive into the major advantages of each, let’s look at a few basic questions you must consider:

How much time do you have? Whereas a course can be made up of several elements, an educational ebook is just text that covers a topic the author knows well, so it’s typically much easier and faster to create. An ebook takes days to create, but a good course can take weeks.

How much can you invest? As a premium ebook design service, we know great ebook design comes at a price, but it can also be cost-free if you absolutely can’t afford a professional look. A course will have several costs such as camera and audio (for video), hosting the course on a platform like Teachable or Kajabi, and designing course materials.

How much will you charge? Pricing an ebook is a science, but there’s generally a limit to what you can charge. Courses have no such limit. Depending on a course’s contents, its perceived value can be far higher than an ebook and command a far higher price.

Just asking the above questions will help clarify if ebooks or courses are better for you, but now we’ll look at the unique advantages of each along with some great examples.

Ebook Advantages

These are the three major ways that an an ebook is better than a course.

1. They can grow your email list

Due to their common use as lead magnets, their lower price points, and their short length requiring low commitment, ebooks can be an extremely effective way to grow your email list. As the popular saying goes, “the money is in the list”.

If you’re strictly looking to sell products, then ebooks are a great way to build a “buyer’s list”. People on your buyer’s list are the people most likely to buy your next product.

2. They can be sold on Amazon

Being able to expand into Amazon’s marketplace is a big advantage for ebooks. It gives you a chance to tap into Amazon’s massive audience and generate sales you would otherwise never get.

If you’re more interested in using ebooks as lead magnets, you can still leverage Amazon by listing your ebook at a fair price to demonstrate its value and then offering email subscribers an “exclusive” free copy.

3. They establish your expertise

Writing a book is one of the oldest, most reliable ways of demonstrating your expertise in a subject. Authoring an ebook can have a similar effect.

After all, not many small business owners have written an ebook. Writing a subject-specific ebook can give you a competitive edge over them. You’d be able to use the ebook as proof of your expertise on the product/service you’re selling.

Example

This book from Chris Ducker demonstrates the power of establishing authority.

Chris Ducker is one of the leading voices in entrepreneurial advice. His flagship book, Rise of the Youpreneur, has even spawned a paperback edition also available on Amazon.

There’s no doubt about the powerful effect this popular book has on his brand and authority to newcomers.

Course Advantages

Here are the major ways courses are better than ebooks.

1. They can attract varied audiences

Text appeals to some, video attracts others, while the rest prefer audio. Courses offer an opportunity to deliver content across multiple formats that can appeal to a variety of audiences.

Your audience for courses is thus greatly expanded over focusing on any one medium. Best of all, each additional format boosts the perceived value, which boosts the price you can charge.

2. They multiply your client base

Most businesses deciding between courses or ebooks offer services of some kind. The biggest bottleneck for a professional services business is the one-on-one service delivery model.

Online courses automate your service delivery and allow you to service several clients simultaneously. It also primes them for an upsell to your higher-priced, personalized services.

3. They tap into an explosive market

By creating a course, you can claim your piece of an expanding pie. Statistics compiled by Forbes show that the worldwide eLearning market has increased by 900% over the last decade. It’s predicted to be worth around $325 billion within the next four years, an almost five-fold increase since 2015!

Example

Marie Forleo's B-School is a great example of an online course.

Marie Forleo has grown into the Oprah of online business education and her online course B-School is among the biggest courses ever.

It’s a comprehensive, 6-week program broken up into multiple modules. Course contents consist of videos, MP3s, transcripts, worksheets, swipe files, resource lists, and more. This is pretty much the gold standard for an online course.

Final Verdict: Ebooks or Ecourses?

Should you go for ebooks or courses? We have touched on the important questions to ask and the major advantages of both. Keep in mind these key points to figure out if courses or ebooks are worth your time and effort:

Go for an ebook if you want to: create a product quickly, easily populate your email list, and establish your expertise in the eyes of your audience.

Go for an ecourse if you want to: appeal to a broad audience, charge higher prices, and commoditize some aspect of your service so you can serve many more clients.

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