Whitepapers or eBooks:  What is the difference?


Content that is of interest to your target audience positions you as a thought leader and a reliable resource when the need arises for your services. You want to remain top of mind with your client and prospect base. There are many ways to do this, but recently Social Times reports that the whole idea of whitepapers seems to be one of the least preferred methods of getting information. EBooks on the other hand, seem to be on the rise. My view is that the “old” whitepaper can easily be turned into an eBook once you understand the differences and similarities.


I asked a journalist recently what he thought about this idea of people not wanting whitepapers. His answer was that no one ever wanted the ones that lawyers wrote and they still don’t. Now, you can chuckle at this or be offended, but it is probably true. So, let’s have a look at what you can do to turn those whitepapers into eBook, or produce some eBooks that will take you off the black list with your potential readers.


EBooks tend to be shorter and more interactive than whitepapers. They aren’t Word documents or PDFs. They contain links to other content, videos, or multi-media information. They also typically focus on the “how-to” aspect of a subject.


EBooks are good because:

  • They are simple, short and easy to produce.
  • If done correctly, with the right graphics and interaction, they spread and are shared much more frequently than whitepapers.
  • Generally they are free and contact information is not collected.
  • You can promote them to drive traffic to your website. Include in your advertising a call to action to go to your website to get the free eBook on whatever the     subject might be.
  • They are easy to read online because of the formatting.

Why whitepapers are less attractive:

  • They sound long and dull and academic.
  • Many times you have to provide contact information to get them. How many times have you seen or heard, download our whitepaper. Of course you have to    fill out a form to get it.
  • Typically, there are no interactive components, charts, graphs, or other visuals to whitepapers. They look very sterile and boring.

Turn those whitepapers into eBooks or turn your latest information into an eBook. Sometimes a horse of a different color is all it takes to win the race.