How Much Should I Charge for My Book: Price Yourself Into the Market

Early in the publishing process, go to a bookstore and research cover prices of books similar to yours. To sell books in traditional trade outlets, your price needs to be competitive. Overpricing your book by even just a couple of dollars can dramatically reduce—and, in some cases, wholly eliminate—national bookstore buys.

In some industries, it’s standard practice to determine price by multiplying production costs by a predetermined variable. Unfortunately, this formula doesn’t always work in the book industry. If you want national retail distribution, the price has to be acceptable to the buyers—and they define “acceptable” as comparable to other titles in the category.

If your costs are too high to produce an acceptable profit at a competitive cover price, consider increasing your print run. Your price per book drops as your print quantity increases, and your chances of selling higher quantities increases as your cover price decreases, so be sure to consider the big three before going to press: (1) cover price, (2) print quantity, and (3) profit per unit.

Here are some commonly recommended prices, but note that genre and trim size often trigger adjustments:

BINDINGPAGE COUNTPRICE
Hardcover< 200$19.95
Hardcover200-300$21.95
Hardcover> 300$24.95
Trade Paperback< 300$14.95
Trade Paperback> 300$16.95