Is My Book Priced Too High?
From the message board forums to meeting authors face to face I have heard it all when it comes to book prices. In most cases the author really does not have a legitimate complaint and others, as with the case with my first release, should be screaming at the top of their lungs. There are many contributing factors when determining book pricing. Authors should know what they are prior to seeking publishing. Don’t find out the hard way like I did my first go round. Now on my 6th book and from being a Publishing Consultant I know the ins and outs.
Prices should be set to allow room for distribution discounts (normally 40%-55%), print cost (determined by the page count), handling fee (yes unfortunately you must pay this too) royalties, and the publishers cut. If you are self-publishing you can eliminate the publishers cut. I will use one of my books as an example. Can You Keep a Secret? is priced at $15.00. Well the online booksellers (Amazon, Barnes & Noble) get a 40%-55% discount. I will go with the low end of 40% which means they get the book for $9. Print charge can be between $4-$6, calculated by the length of the book. Toss in $1 for the handling fee and this is what I am left with getting 15% of about $3.50. On the other hand if I want to purchase my book to sell at events I normally get a 40% discount (which is standard from publishers) unless I buy large quantities. I get my book for $9 and sell it for $15 at events and pocket $6 per book.
Now some of you may shake your head and say no way you want a publisher, right. Well hey I could have paid about $1500-$3000 to have a quality self-published book. By quality I mean ISBN, Editing, Formatting, Cover Design, ect. All I would be eliminating is the publisher’s cut when it pertains to online sales or brick and mortar sales. After a year of pushing the books myself I would be lucky if I made my money back to even think about profiting. I will take my $6 per books I purchase as well as my 15% of $3.50, thank you. Last check I have sold almost 2500 copies of this novel since its release.
I will take it a step further and apply the same equation to my first book, Passionate Playmates published by Publish America. The book was barely 100 pages and was set to $16.95. I can’t tell you what I got off my meager 8% royalties with them because with the high price the book never sold from bookstores. When I purchased my books to sell from them I barely received a 30% discount from them and I always order around 30 books or more, and they were very crafty to charge a shipping charge per book. Basically when I sold all 30 books I was still in the hole. On first look I thought I would have gotten more because of the higher price of the book but no one will buy it if it is that high.
On the other hand I have heard people who assume there books should be extremely low. $7-$8 bucks for a book over 300 pages or $15 for a 600 pager. Well unless you are doing over 1000 books print run it is simply not going to happen. Matter of fact I have one of friend’s, who is published under Simon and Schuster, book sitting in front of me. Her book is only 2 pages longer than my Can You Keep a Secret, And guess what? It’s set at the same price of $15 just like mine. So even though I am with a smaller publisher the numbers are still the same. So before you jump the gun and say your publisher has your book price set too high make sure you do your research on books in the same genre and length. It may not be the price hindering your sales.
Until Next Time,
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