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 How much should a POD book cost?

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David Griffiths

David Griffiths

Number of posts : 16
Registration date : 2009-09-26
Age : 86
Location : Pensacola, Florida

How much should a POD book cost? Empty
PostSubject: How much should a POD book cost?   How much should a POD book cost? EmptySat Sep 26, 2009 3:49 pm

Book cost is critical to your success as an author. If the self-publishing company you choose charges too much for your book, you will be priced out of the market.

You need to know how to calculate a fair print on demand (POD) cost for your book. Most POD printers charge about $.015 per page plus $.90 for the cover for paperback books. Mark Levine, in his book, The Fine Print of Self Publishing, says authors should memorize this formula.

Mark is right. You should not only memorize it, you should pass it on to every author you meet. If every author knew how to calculate the cost of a POD book, they could put a stop to price gouging.

Self-publishing companies are entitled to charge reasonable fees for their services, but they should not increase book costs to the point they can’t be sold. Using the formula that you just memorized, a 150 page book would cost $3.15 (150 X .015 = 2.25 plus .90 = 3.15) to print.

Adding a 15 percent service charge, your book should cost $3.62. To discover how much you would make, you have to subtract the standard discount of 55 percent (15% for the distributor/wholesaler; 40% for the bookseller) and the cost of your book.

For example, if you set the retail price of your book at $12.95, subtract the standard discount: $12.95 – 55% = $5.83. Then subtract the cost of your book, $5.83 - $3.62 = $2.21 profit.

But what if your 150 page book costs $8.00. Not unheard of, and some companies charge even more. That is why it is so important to know what your book is going to cost and do the math before you settle on a self-publishing company.

Look at what happens if your book is over priced: $12.95 – 55% = $5.83; $5.83 - $8.00 = - $2.17. You just lost $2.17. And remember, the standard discount is a percentage. If you increase the price, the amount of the discount also increases. For example, let’s raise the price to $16.95. $16.95 – 55% = $7.63; $7.63 - $8.00 = -$0.37. We still lost 37 cents. At $18.95, you would make 53 cents. Who would pay $18.95 for a small 150 page book?

The $8.00 is a real world figure. So, how do they get away with it? First, they stress how much you will make in their online bookstore. In other words, they act as the bookseller and share their 40 percent with you.

Second, they offer the distributor a short discount. Some publishers are getting discounts as low as 20 percent. Remember, it doesn’t cost anything to store digital book files, and we calculated around $3.15 to print our sample book. Bottom line: You will most likely make a couple of dollars even with outrageously priced books, but be careful with book signings.

Bookstores, of course, will not carry books that only offer a short discount. That’s okay. They don’t like self-published books anyway. Some self-publishing companies will explain this to you. Most won’t.

David Griffiths, author,

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