View Full Version : Calculating a bk's price

06-24-2005, 06:43 PM
When selfpubbing, what should be the price of the bk on the shelf?

I read in an article in WD that the rule of thumb should be "cost x 5".

Frex: Cost - $6. Price - 6 x 5 = $30.

Is that right?


06-25-2005, 01:13 AM
There are several ways to work out "list price" for books. Two that are in common use in trade nonfiction are: Printing cost per copy * 10
Fully extended productions cost per copy * 6
and taking the higher of these two figures. (Production costs include things like layout, cover design, permissions, etc., but exclude editorial and marketing costs.)

The real point is that there's no "one right way" to do it. I know of at least two successful publishers who price their trade paperbacks at the average of the top five comparable competing titles published within the last five years, and figure that spikes in costs are just a hazard of the business.

06-25-2005, 04:47 AM
Thank you, Jaws!


06-25-2005, 04:58 AM
That's why the more you sell (the bigger the print run), the lower your cost, and thus the lower your list price and higher profit (and the more discounts you can afford to book sellers)...

Consider a print run of just 5000 books. The print cost would be around $1.50 a copy. So using the formula, we would have a list price of $15.00. That's a decent price for a trade paperback. Now we can afford the 30% or 40% discounts or absorb the cost for "returned" books -- both are important to get the stores to stock your books. The more you sell, the lower your cost.

06-29-2005, 06:00 AM
I've heard that double the cost to print plus 20% is a reasonable price. However, You want to keep your book price in line with what similar books sell for. A $30 paperback by an unknown writer isn't going to sell well unless you have affluent friends or come from a large and supportive family. A $10 book probably will.

Also, you want to keep in mind that you will have to discount your book price anywhere from 25% to 40% to get indie bookstores to shelve it. How low can you go and still make a profit?

My self-pubbed book cost a few cents more than $7 per copy to produce for the first thousand. Cover price is $14. (I didn't know about the pricing rule when I did the first run. I went with what other books were selling for, and I picked the cheapest of the three printers who did good work; otherwise I would have had to pay $8.50 to $9 per copy for a decent looking book.)

The second thousand was a little more than $3 per book to produce. All the preliminary work had been done and the printers kept the plates. I'm more than half-way through the second thousand now. My next run will be even cheaper, if I go to another run.

06-29-2005, 09:52 PM
Thanks for the info sharing, PVish!