|Because, gosh darn it, I'm worth it! ;)|
I've probably given away as many paperbacks as I've sold. I’m hoping that changes this fall, but I won’t hold my breath. It’s not a big deal. To me, the paperback is a marketing tool for the independent author. It’s a means with which to put something tangible in readers’ hands. Some people need that. Some people need to see that stack of paper and the accompanying look in your eye that says “I've crafted something that I think you’ll like.” Only then are they willing to give it a shot.
There’s something also very personal about having a paperback copy of your book created. Sure, it sniffs a bit of the old vanity presses, but today's self-publishing is a completely different animal. You're an entrepreneur now. You worked hard to get where you are. And, even if you can count on two hands the number of paperbacks you've sold in two years (like I can), it’s a physical memento of what you've accomplished. It’s your trophy. That’s how I treat it, at least. I don’t expect anyone else to give me one, so I made one for myself.
Personally, I use CreateSpace for my paperbacks. While there is some monetary outlay at the beginning (cover creation, ISBN), additional cost is entirely up to the author. You can purchase copies at a significant discount and in any quantity you desire. My paperback is listed at $12.95 through Amazon and B&N and they regularly discount that at 10%. However, I can purchase for <7$, which allows me to discount the retail price and still make a little bit in the end. The quality is good, the shipping is usually timely, and their affiliation with Amazon makes it simple to link with the ebook.
If not publishing in multiple venues (eg, other than Amazon) is leaving money on the table, then publishing in a single format should be considered the same. In order to maximize your opportunity for income, you should leave no stone unturned. If you're on the fence about paperbacks, go for it. You'll be happy you did and you'll have a nice addition to your bookshelf.
I think the more formats, the better. What say you?