Book Printing Prices

Written by Christopher Ransom
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When the question of how much will it cost to print your book arises, as it inevitably must, the answer will depend on the number of copies, binding type, delivery date, and other factors discussed in the pages. Putting a definite number on any specific service is not our mission here, but we can discuss ballpark book printing prices in terms of ballpark ranges.

Book printing prices range from a few hundred dollars for a very small print run (say, 200 copies) to several thousand dollars for larger runs of 1000 and up. Finding a comfortable book printing price may be as simple as a phone call, but first you should understand all the costs associated with selling your book after is printed. Before agreeing on a price, make sure you have a complete financial plan for your book, starting with your own investment to get the book into print and covering all the steps leading up to the point of purchase.

Book Printing Prices Before and After Printing

It's tempting to assume that traditionally published authors whose books appear in gorgeous hardcover format with a price tag of $27.99 are raking in the cash, and no doubt some of the bestsellers are. But consider that retail mark-up on any product is traditionally 100%, meaning to stock a book with a List Price of $27.99, you average retailer had to spend roughly $14.00 on the book itself. Between the retailer and the author also stands the wholesaler, who must pay the publisher less than $14.00, plus their own overhead. Without getting into too much detail, it's fair to assume that the publisher sells a $27.99 book for as little as $8-10.00. Out of that, the publisher must then cover marketing, printing, and editorial expenses, plus pay the author. Put it another way, I know for a fact that my father in-law, author of several aviation fiction thrillers, earns barely $1.00 from each mass-market paperback copy of his books sold at a retail price of $6.99.

As the publisher of your own book, then, it makes sense to calculate how much it will cost you not only to see the book in print, but also to ship, stock, distribute and market your book. If your per-unit-price from the printer is $5.00 and your target retail price (based on your competition) is $14.99, which leaves you just $9.99 to make a profit. Fortunately for you, most self-published authors have more time than money, and that time can be spent marketing your book for a fraction of the cost of many traditional publishers. As you can see, having a complete plan for your book will go a long way in establishing the true costs associated with printing your book.

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