A client of the sales lead generation firm Find New Customers (and Marketo user) – a software firm in CT, asked me “What’s the difference between white papers and E-books.”

They had white papers they had outsourced in the past, but the term E-book was new and unfamiliar to them. (They were a somewhat junior marketing company.) I explained as best I could the key differences between the two – E-books have shorter length and more graphics, but they still seemed confused. I actually wrote an E-book for them, but I needed a better way to explain the differences. I found it and want to share it with you.

I recently met with Ann Handley, Chief Content Officer of MarketingProfs at Netprospex at the #marketingbfast and got a copy of her book Content Rules. I’ve read it in the past, but when I opened it,  I found Chapter 13 – What’s the Difference Between an E-book and a White Paper. Bingo!

This chapter has a great chart detailing the differences between an e-book and white paper on page 172 which I wish to share with you (and our client.) I also wish to say that it was nice finally meeting Ann and thanks for another copy of the book.

Here are the key differences at a glance from the book. Buy the book and read it too.

White PapersE-books
Long and linear – a deep readBroken into smaller chunks – designed for skimming and scanning
Data centric – often based on formal researchConcept centric – based on ideas and trends of interest
Text-heavyVisually heavy – main text supplemented with call-outs, bullet lists
Formal – impressive expert speaks to you.Casual and collegial – a conversation among equals