Category Archives: Book Pricing

How Much Does It Cost to Publish a Book?

How Much Does It Cost to Publish a Book?

How Much Does It Cost to Publish a Book?

One of the first questions every author has is: how much does it cost to publish a book? Well, that depends. What type of book do you wish to publish (e.g., ebook, paperback, hardcover)? Where and how do you want it distributed (e.g., online and/or traditional distribution networks)?

For a full list of the questions you should be asking and answering for yourself, I recommend you click on the Book Publishing Quote link in the top menu of this page and read through it. Once you’ve done that, you’ll know which of the two below options most applies to you and your particular book project.

How Much Does It Cost to Publish a Book Economically?

The fact is, traditional book publishing methods don’t work well for everyone. More and more, I come across people who want to publish a book for all kinds of different reasons—to promote a business, fulfill a lifelong dream, commemorate a special occasion, et cetera—and they want it done quickly (e.g., within four to six weeks), and with a minimal upfront investment.

These are the people who would rather utilize online algorithms to grow their readership than spend any amount of money on traditional forms of book promotion. These authors also want full control over their own creative processes and release dates, and they’re fine with selling their books online only.

For a long time, I resisted this idea. I held to my belief that it’s impossible to produce a quality book within such a short time period, and especially without the support of a full professional publishing team. But then, one evening, while I was researching bestselling strategies for authors, I came across a Forbes article that began to shift my thinking. I learned the strategies today’s top independent authors are using to self-publish and sell massive quantities of books online. With this step-by-step program designed specifically for do-it-yourselfers, your only cost will be copy editing. That’s it, that’s all.

How Much Does It Cost to Publish a Book Professionally?

For those of you who wish to produce a professional-quality book than can be sold both online and through the traditional book supply chain, you’ll require the support of a full book publishing team behind you. Here is a list of the various costs associated with hiring such a team. These prices may vary depending on whether you use a project manager or hire your own editors, designers, et cetera, to work with directly. But it will give you a pretty good idea of what to expect.

Average Price Breakdown Per Service

Individual Services (all in CAD) Timeline (Weeks) Average Prices
Copy editing per word 2 to 4 From $0.03
Proofreading per word 2 From $0.02
Stylistic editing per word varies From $0.04
Substantive (structural) editing per word varies From $0.06
Indexing services per word 3 From $0.02
Ghostwriting per hour varies From $50 to $75
Copywriting per hour varies From $25 to $75
New cover design 2 $1,250
New interior layout 2 From $2,500 to $3,000
New cover design and interior layout combined 2 From $3,750 to $4,250
Hard copy proof 2 $125.00

Related reading: Why Do Authors Need Graphic Designers?

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As a user of this website, you are authorized only to view, copy, print, and distribute the documents on this website so long as: one (1) the document is used for informational purposes only; and two (2) any copy of the document (or portion thereof) includes the following copyright notice: Copyright © 2019 Polished Publishing Group (PPG). All rights reserved.

How to Price a Paperback Book

There are two main things you must consider regarding how to price a paperback book: who is printing the book; who is buying the book. These are your hard costs.

How to Price a Paperback Book

How to Price a Paperback Book

Who is Printing Your Paperback Book?

Any books that are printed using print-on-demand (POD) technology will cost more per unit than books that are printed in large quantities on traditional offset presses. As a result, you’ll have a smaller profit margin on POD books.

Still, it’s important to take advantage of POD in this day and age. It allows your customers to buy your books one at a time on ecommerce sites like Amazon. It also allows independent authors to print small quantities of your books at reasonable prices, as selling opportunities arise. For example, one paperback book may cost around $6 per unit to print on demand digitally.

Traditional offset presses are designed to print larger quantities of books at a lower cost per unit. In fact, they can’t print small quantities economically. It may only cost around $2 per unit to produce 1,000 copies of that same book on an offset press. The downside to printing this many copies is that it requires a large upfront investment. You will also have the added cost/hassle of warehousing all your books.

How to Price a Paperback Book: Printing Options

There’s a time and a place to use each type of printer, which is why PPG returns all working files and finished files to our authors. This allows you to choose if/where you’re going to print your book based on who you’re selling it to:

  • Traditional offset printing: best price for 1000+ copies
  • Standard digital printing: best price for 100 to 999 copies
  • Print-on-demand (POD) digital printing: best price for one to 99 copies

It’s always wise to contact a few printers to obtain quotes for 50, 250, 500, and 1000 books. Make your decision from there.

Who is Buying Your Paperback Book?

On that note, authors who wish to sell copies of your books through local retailers, such as book stores, will also have to factor each retailer’s profit share into your final retail price. Retailers/wholesalers buy publishers’ books at steep discounts in order to turn their own profits. They also expect your title to be marked as “returnable” (for a full refund) in case it doesn’t sell. Here are the industry standards for such discounts:

  • Book Wholesalers (i.e. Ingram, Baker & Taylor, libraries): 50-55% discount
  • Book Retailers (i.e. Chapters, McNally Robinson): 40-45% discount

Once your book has been designed and the final trim size, page count, picture count, and interior (black and white/colour) has been determined, a printer will be able to provide you with the cost per unit to print your book. It is best to factor in the highest possible printing cost (POD) along with the highest possible discount (wholesaler) when determining your book’s retail price. For example, if your POD cost per copy is $4.50, then your retail price should be set at $11.99 minimum as shown here:

How to Price a Paperback Book

How to Price a Paperback Book

Again, these costs are only a small part of the equation when determining the price of a paperback book and should only be used to calculate the lowest possible retail price. You should also do a thorough examination of your audience and what they value most.

Related reading: How to Price an Ebook: A Guide for Independent Authors

Related reading: Is Book Printing a Good Idea for Indie Authors?

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As a user of this website, you are authorized only to view, copy, print, and distribute the documents on this website so long as: one (1) the document is used for informational purposes only; and two (2) any copy of the document (or portion thereof) includes the following copyright notice: Copyright © 2019 Polished Publishing Group (PPG). All rights reserved.

How to Price an Ebook: A Guide for Independent Authors

NOW AVAILABLE through Amazon’s Kindle, Kobo, and E-Sentral for FREE! Download it today!

As an independent author (a.k.a. “indie author”), you must oversee all aspects of your own book business from the project management aspect of things (e.g., writing, editing, designing, proofreading, indexing, publishing) to the financial end of things. If you’re feeling stumped when it comes to setting your manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP), you’re not alone. Many indie authors are in the same boat. I wrote this mini ebook for all of you, and I’m giving it away free of charge along with an earlier mini ebook I wrote titled An Independent Author’s Checklist: What You Need to Have Ready for Ghostwriters, Editors, and Graphic Designers. I hope you find both these resources to be informative and helpful supplements to my other full-length ebooks and paperbacks.

This is an important ebook for indie authors to read. I’ve written several articles and blog posts about how to price an ebook in the past, but I’ve never been this strategic with regard to tailoring one’s prices for both Western and Eastern world markets. In retrospect, up until 2016, I had a pretty narrow view of how to price ebooks outside of North America and Europe. What changed for me in 2016? Quite simply, I became a little more “worldly” when I travelled to Asia for a working holiday. What I learned during my six-month trip will no doubt help many indie authors like you with the pricing aspect of a book business.

I’m still a strong proponent of value-based marketing. As I’ve stated many times in the past, most indie authors are already pretty comfortable with price-based marketing (e.g., offering really low prices to try to undercut one’s competition). At the end of the day, anyone can sell based on price. Right? But here’s the biggest problem with that plan: if a low price is the only thing you’ve got, and then another indie author with a similar ebook comes in at a lower price than you can match, you’re done. You’re finished. You’ve got nowhere else to go. But if you can learn how to sell based on value, right from the start, then you’ll always be able to justify your price where it is, no matter what other indie authors are doing. You can even increase that price, down the road, by adding more value to your overall offering. Value-based selling is such an important skill for all indie authors to learn, no matter where you live in the world.

That said, my trip to the “Eastern World” opened up my eyes to all the different markets today’s indie authors can sell into. What might be considered a discount rate in one region of the world is actually considered a value-based rate in another. So, as I discuss in more detail throughout this mini ebook, it’s important for indie authors to be strategic in the way you’re pricing each and every one of your ebooks. Your ability to understand each individual market and adjust your prices accordingly will make all the difference to your sales success around the world. Good luck!

Related reading: How to Price a Paperback Book