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Cost factors for book price



  • Book Services

    We sell at shows like Tucson Festival of Books, and online from our web site  When setting prices I must factor in shipping because the web site must offer free shipping.  When selling at shows we round up to the nearest dollar and include the sales tax to simplify making change.  So the simple answer is yes to both shipping and sales tax.

    We have been managing to keep prices in line because we only offer a 30% wholesale discount and no returns.  Because of this we are not seeing sales thru bricks and mortar bookstores.  We are just starting a program to deal directly with bookstores via our web site and a 40% discount coupon coupled with providing the books on consignment.

    I would like to see Ingram offer us a way to set one wholesale discount for bricks and mortar bookstores and another for online bookstores (Amazon).

  • Joe Longobardi

    I am offering a flat 40%, but I am not quite sure it the price I set will put me in the red. Am I responsible for the taxes and shipping when a brick and mortar store purchases books through Ingram?

  • Nathalie M.L. Römer

    The industry standard discount is 55% off the retail price. So for example, if your book retails at $10 then the price would be $4.50 which would include the cost of production and your compensation (see )

    I tweak the price so I typically get at least $1 for books with fewer pages and $2 for books with more pages (in Pound Sterling it's £0.75 to £1.50 or occasionally £2.00). The following examples are for paperbacks, as the ebook compensation is different and I don't deal with that through Ingram Spark.

    The best way to calculate the price is first to determine what the cost of production is, add to this $2 as a default compensation, then assume this is the 45%, i.e. $4.50, then you'd calculate it to the retail price.

    For example:

    If the cost of production is $3.83 add $2.00. That's $5.83. Get the calculator out (for being precise), and divide $5.83 by 45 then multiply by 100, which gives you about $12.96.

    Retail pricing typically ends with .99 so you'd round up this price to $12.99

    If you're going with a $1 compensation, you do $4.83 divided by 45 which is $10.73 so the retail price would then be $10.99.

    You're LESS likely to get orders from shops if you're not offering the industry standard 55% off the retail price.

    Always determine your costs first, your compensation wanted second, then figure out the retail price, and don't undercut yourself so you lose the compensation. So taking the above example again, if you set your price at $8.99, you'd typically only get $0.21 and that's where you are pricing yourself out of business really. You NEED to give yourself enough income to compensate the time and effort put into writing your book. The income has to be able to pay for your personal AND business bills (such as editing, cover design, advertising, etc.).

  • Joe Longobardi

    Thanks for the info. My cost is $11.47 US. I had to reevaluate the original price of 21.99 and came up with a price point of 24.99. But that would be for anywhere between a 40 to 50% discount. The book itself is for a very niche market and trying to appease an industry standard would mean pricing a children's book at 29.99. It would never sell.

  • Book Services

    Sounds like you have a marketing challenge.  We have several books with color interiors and 250+ page count in 6.69x9.61 that price in the high $20s.  The can be profitable if properly marketed.

    Most of our children's books are priced $6 - $12, but are much smaller (26-48 pages).

  • Joe Longobardi

    Thanks for recognizing that. Yes, and this is not the first time we will be marketing this book. We originally did a release last year with CreateSpace. That was tough due to the custom format not qualify for distribution to major brick and mortar establishments nor any libraries. We made sales and did get into some school libraries. And being CreateSpace, it was difficult to even get indie bookstores interested. Being a sophisticated picture book, even at a 55% discount a major chain would just pass on it, although I can predict that because of the unique nature of the story, a person who buys books for stores would have their curiosity piqued and order it at a 45-50% discount. I've managed to have libraries purchase some of my books off of Blurb that way. It's rare but consistent.

    There is a local author in our town that has a children's book similar to ours--large page count and hard cover. His book is selling for $29.99.

  • Joe Longobardi

    You're LESS likely to get orders from shops if you're not offering the industry standard 55% off the retail price.

    So I guess  a good question is: Would 40% to 50% be a consideration for the big box stores?

    I would like to see Ingram offer us a way to set one wholesale discount for bricks and mortar bookstores and another for online bookstores (Amazon).

    That would make pricing less of a hassle. Most indie stores take 40%. Book fairs become less of a hassle, of course. Since bookstores prefer the actual price in the barcode rather than barcodes set at 90000, it would be best to set a price point that will work well for most situations rather than chasing a brass ring always out of reach.



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