Mark Levine : The Secret About Book Printing Fees
The Dirty Little Secret About Book Printing Fees
By Mark Levine
When it comes time to choose a self-publishing company, one of the most important aspects of your decision should be how much you pay for copies of your own book (usually as a percentage off the retail price).
This amount is important for another reason: it's usually the price the self-publishing company tells you (or leads you to believe is the actual cost to print a copy of your book).
Most self-publishing companies use a printer owned by Ingram (the large book distributor) to handle print-on-demand orders of their authors' books. They do this because then their authors' books are automatically in the Ingram database (hence the "your book is available at 25,000 retail outlets" line on most self-publishing websites) and your book appears in stock at Amazon.com.
On average, one 200-page, 5.5 x 8.5 paperback, with a laminated, full color cover costs a self-publishing company $3.90 to print ($.015 per page plus $.90 for the cover). Realize that many companies pay even less than that due to volume discounts.
Any publisher whose website touts that your book is available at 25,000 retail outlets (meaning that someone could walk into that store and order your book) is using the printer owned by Ingram and thus paying $.015 per page and $.90 per cover for a standard paperback book (no internal color pictures, picture book, etc.)
Many self-publishing companies attempt to make money on three sides of two-sided transaction:
They certainly have a right to make money however they want. I just want to make sure that any publisher you are considering is up front with you about what it costs to print a book. By marking up the printing, the cost at which you can retail the book for goes up while your profit margin goes down.
If a self-publishing company is handling the ordering of books for you with the printer, a reasonable fee should be expected. Paying 50%-100% of the printing cost of each book is a bit much.
In my book, The Fine Print of Self Publishing, I evaluate and rank the contracts and services of some of the major self-publishing companies. Below is a chart that shows you:
Self-publishing companies provide some great services to authors looking to publish, but do not deal with every aspect of the publishing process on their own. To make self-publishing work for you, you can't overpay for printing. •
© 2007 Mark Levine
Mark Levine is the author of The Fine Print of Self-Publishing, which analyzes and ranks the contracts and services of 48 major self-publishing companies. More »