Book Publishing Royalties Compared
You’re paying a good chunk of money to publish your book. You are taking all of the up-front financial risk. What percentage of the sale price of your book should your self-publishing company keep? At Mill City Press, we think our percentage of your book royalties should be zero. Nada. Zip. You take the risk and you should reap the benefits.
When it comes to book publishing royalties, there are only so many hands that can get a piece of this pie before there is nothing left for the person who made it. We don´t have royalty calculation charts on our site because our authors earn every dollar from their book sales after printing costs and trade discounts to any third-party (e.g., Amazon.com).
Depending on where your book sells, the amount of money you make on each sale will be different. If your book sells on Amazon.com, you will get a percentage of the sales price after Amazon.com takes its share (which is between 20%-55%). If your publisher takes a cut, your share shrinks. If the publisher excessively marks up its printing costs, your profit sinks even more, except you probably don’t even realize it.
The chart below examines the royalties paid by some of the major self-publishing companies for a 200-page paperback with a 5.5" x 8.5" trim size, a black-and-white interior, and a laminated, full-color cover. Let's assume that this book retails for $13.95 (or the minimum price allowed by the publisher based on page count) on the publisher’s online bookstore or equivalent. For the purposes of our chart, we assume that the end customer is paying for shipping. When reviewing the numbers, consider that this book only costs the publisher $3.90 to print. Learn more about what these publishers tell authors the print costs are on our actual book printing costs page.
Don’t just take our word on royalties. Beneath the chart you’ll find links to the exact page on the publisher’s site where we found the information.
||Actual Printing Cost/Publisher’s Reported Cost
||Royalty % Paid to Author
||Royalty Amount Earned by Author Per Book Sold
||Revenue Made by Publisher Per Book Sold
||Total Earned by Author Per 100 Books Sold from Publisher/Author Website
|Mill City Press*
So, why does Mill City Press not take any royalties? What´s the catch?
We hear these questions a lot. The answer is simple. We want authors to benefit from the sale of their work, which can´t happen when publishers make money on every side of a transaction. We charge you for the costs associated with creating your book and making it available in the marketplace. If you put the time, energy, and money into publishing and marketing your book, would it be fair for us to take royalties from you? We don’t think so.
Based on data obtained in November 2011.