Sunday, November 18, 2007

Pricing Your Nonfiction Book

by Gail Richards

If your book is published by a mainstream publisher, the publisher will have the responsibility to set a price for the book. But if you self-publish, that task is yours.

To price a book correctly to maximize sales, you need to know how other similar types of books are priced, as well as the costs of the book, in order to maximize your profits. Beyond these two factors, you must also factor in the discounts required to sell online and in bookstores.

Here are the steps involved in pricing:

• Seek out competitive titles, and make a list of the title, the page count, and the retail price of the book. Consider a price that makes sense based comparing your book's page count and complexity with the other books in the market.

Here are some typical retail price ranges for soft cover books based on page count:

110-175 pages: $13-$16 176-250 pages: $14-$20 251-325 pages: $15-$22 326-400 pages: $16-$25

• Add up the costs of producing your book, and divide by the quantity to determine the cost per book. You want to be sure you cover your costs adequately, even with the deep discounts you will see explained below.

Typical printing costs for self-published books depend on the quantity printed and are generally between $2 and $5 a book on quantities from 1,000 to 10,000 copies.

Other hard costs include editorial services, book design, illustrations, proofreading, indexing, permissions, bar code, and cover design. Unfortunately, you can't include the expense of your time or marketing costs or the book price would be much higher than the market will bear.

• Consider where and how you will sell the book to determine the discount you will need to offer for retailers and online sales. If you want to sell to bookstores through a distributor, the typical discount from retail price will be 50 percent to even 60 percent. Consider a typical 30 percent discount for sales through

A mainstream publisher will print the price of the book on the back cover, usually on the bottom right corner next to the bar code with the International Standard Book Number (ISBN) number.

If you self-publish and don't plan on selling in bookstores, you may decide not to print the price on the book so you can easily change it if you find your costs are different from what you expected.

Another cost that must be considered here is shipping. Bookstores and will want you to pay to ship books to them. Most of the time, you can bill an individual customer for the price of the book as well as the shipping charges.

You may also want to create a volume discount schedule for books you sell directly to associations, companies, or other large buyers. This might go from 10 percent to a maximum 40 percent discount. Here is a typical discounting schedule:

2-9 books - 10 percent discount off the retail price 10-19 books - 20 percent 20-49 books - 30 percent 50 or more books - 40 percent

About the Author
Gail Richards is founder of a dynamic website connecting aspiring authors with the classes, audio library, tools, information and resources needed to make smart, informed decisions at each step in the nonfiction book publishing journey. Jan King is the founder of a membership organization devoted to supporting and coaching women who become successfully published nonfiction authors.