Self-publishing authors give away a lot of books. First, to family and friends, especially those you can nudge into writing a review. Then, to potential bloggers, reviewers, bookstores, and other contacts.
And writers sell their own books at readings, book fairs, and through their websites.
To make a reasonable profit, you need to pay as little as you can for a decently printed book.
When deciding which POD provider or self-publishing service company to use, be sure to calculate how much you will have to pay for author copies. You will be surprised how much the prices vary for the exact same book.
Some self-publishing companies make hefty profits by overcharging authors for the authors’ own books. I first learned about this in Mark Levine’s book, The Fine Print of Self-Publishing, an invaluable resource for any self-publisher.
Let’s check the prices for a 6 x 9 paperback, 250 pages, black and white interior with a color cover, matt finish, perfect binding. Nothing special. A typical, independently published book. According to Levine, the cost for POD printing of this hypothetical book is $0.015 per page plus $0.90 for a color cover, so $4.65 per copy. Levine owns Mill City Press, a self-publishing service company. On his website, he has posted some of his own calculations.
How much would it cost an author to buy 25 copies as of April 26, 2015? I am assuming no special sales, coupons, or offers. I am not including shipping and handling charges. Not all the websites had that information available.
Mill City Press $116
Outskirts Press $186
Dog Ear Press $207 (includes $2 per book handling fee)
Gulp! A $200 spread between the lowest and the highest. For 25 copies! What if you were ordering 100 copies or 1000 copies?
**IUniverse, a Author Solutions company, has a particularly unfavorable way of calculating author prices. Their policy is to set the retail price fairly high ($15.95 and up for a 240-page book), then they charge the author a discount from the retail price. For 25 books, the discount is 35%.
This makes no sense to me. The cost of printing is the same. I don’t see why authors should pay more for their books because IUniverse sets an unrealistically high retail price. Could it be that IUniverse expects to make more money from selling books to authors than by selling books to the public?
As always, do your homework before you sign on with any POD or self-publishing company. You and your book deserve it.
What’s been your experience in buying author’s copies?SHARE THIS