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View Full Version : Why $21.95 and not $65



Wardrobe
09-08-2008, 01:55 AM
Given: two nonfiction, hardcover trade books with the same number of pages and figures. Both have no photos. (The quality of the paper may differ.)

One is listed at $21.95, the other at $65.

Here is the dumb question: Why the price difference? I am asking because knowing the price point seems important when doing a market analysis for a book proposal. What factors go into pricing a nonfiction book?

Williebee
09-08-2008, 01:58 AM
Perhaps one element would be "How big is the target market?"; and "How bad do they have to have it?" Take college textbooks for example.

If I know I'm going to sell "X" many, I can afford to charge "a" for them and meet the earnings goal. But, if I'm probably only going to sell "Y", then I have to charge "b" to make it profitable to do the work/take the risk.

CynicalRyan
09-08-2008, 02:02 AM
Print run and possible sales, for example.

The more books can be printed with a reasonable confidence of selling the print run allows for a cheaper price (fixed costs are distributed over more copies, for example).

Also, the amount of pages and figures doesn't necessarily reflect the amount of work that went into a non-fiction book. A book on car mechanics is easier researched than a book on string theory. Doubly so, if the the book has different target audiences (a DIY car repair book vs. a college textbook; the latter has to go through peer-review, for example).

Phaeal
09-08-2008, 02:03 AM
Given: two nonfiction, hardcover trade books with the same number of pages and figures. Both have no photos. (The quality of the paper may differ.)

One is listed at $21.95, the other at $65.

Here is the dumb question: Why the price difference? I am asking because knowing the price point seems important when doing a market analysis for a book proposal. What factors go into pricing a nonfiction book?

My somewhat cynical guess would be that the $65 book is a textbook, hence will have a "captive" audience. But you say they're both trade books? That is, for a mass audience? Don't know, then. Except for a big coffee table book with lots of color plates, $65 sounds really high for a nontextbook nonfiction.

Linda Adams
09-08-2008, 02:04 AM
Maybe it's a reference book, meant to be in a library's reference section and not for a general audience. I had a friend who wrote a reference book on science fiction TV shows, and the only place anyone will find that book is in the reference sections of the library. The cover price was around $65 or so.

DeeCaudill
09-08-2008, 04:50 AM
Intended audience is probably a big part of the differences. Linda's right about reference books--they're priced primarily for libraries. I don't even bat an eye at a reference book until it gets over $100 a volume when I'm buying for my library.

University presses often sell non-reference non-fiction hardcover books in the $50 range. Most titles printed by these presses are not expected to sell large volumes and undergo peer review. The authors are publishing for credit towards tenure and promotion in most cases.

Textbooks seem to be their own special case.

kuwisdelu
09-08-2008, 08:57 AM
My somewhat cynical guess would be that the $65 book is a textbook, hence will have a "captive" audience.

Heh. Be a little more cynical. $65 if f*cking cheap for a textbook. That's a good deal for a used one, though. If you have a scientific major, anyway. ;)

maestrowork
09-08-2008, 09:06 AM
Niche books.

Also, one may be self-published. I know someone who self-published his book and he was selling it for $54.