How to Set the Retail Price of Your Book

Setting the right retail price involves many factors, but how you price your book is ultimately your decision. Here’s what you need to know to set a smart price so you can sell your books competitively and still make a profit.

Research

Before you set your retail price, research other comparable books and their prices. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is setting your price too high compared to your competitors, which basically reduces the likelihood that people will buy your book.

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking your book’s good enough to stand alone. No matter how good your book is, millions of books are published every year. You have to find a retail price that fits in the range of other books in your genre. And yes, the genre of your book is important.

Once you’ve finalized your book specs (e.g., trim size, paper weight, page count), you can do research at your local bookstore or an online retailer to find comparable titles and their prices. Consider your target audience, other books that sell well, and your overall book design. Where will your book fit into the market?

Print Cost

You always want to factor in how much it costs to print your book when setting your retail price. If you’re print-on-demand, the printing cost will be deducted from your retail price, meaning your book royalties comes from the retail price minus the printing costs and wholesale discount (usually about 55% of the retail price). You don’t want to price your book so low that the printing costs eat up your royalty.

If you printed books ahead of time, you’ve already paid for printing costs, but you want to ensure that you’re still making enough with each book sale to earn back what you paid for printing, plus a little extra for royalties. You should still factor the per-book printing cost into your considerations when setting your retail price.

Pricing a Nonfiction Book

For a book that contains a fair amount of research, statistics, endnotes, charts or graphs, a color interior, or other details that make it an extensive and unique book, it’s reasonable to price the book higher. You should also consider the finished trim size (e.g., 6" x 9", 5-1/2" x 8-1/2") and page count of your book.

Pricing a Fiction Book

Here’s where the page count comes more into play. If your book is a 375-page novel, it’s reasonable to ask $16.95 for it. Most average-sized trade paperback novels fall into the $13.95 to $17.95 price range. That being said, this range is true for most books—always do the research into comparable books and price your book accordingly. An overly-inflated price will cause you to lose your competitive edge before your book even reaches a retailer!

Pricing an Ebook

Many factors affect ebook pricing, including royalty percentages, your ebook’s length and perceived quality, and other books in your genre. We explore all those considerations in How to Price Your Ebook.

How Mill City Press Helps

Based on what we know about your book (e.g, book specs, number of books printed), we’ll suggest a retail price that allows you to price it competitively and still make a profit.

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