Thursday, May 11, 2006

Doing the sums

March 31

I have taken the bull by the horns and rang a self publishing company - AuthorsOnLine Ltd to find out about their print costs. It seems there are 2 main POD printers - Lightning Source, who have distribution in both UK and USA and Anthony Rowe, who distribute only in the UK. Most companies use Lightning Source. Their print costs are 1p a page for books up to 9 inches by 6 inches, plus 70p for the cover (paperback). Seeing as the print costs are the same for pages less than this size, then it makes sense to have the largest pages you can get away with, as that way there will be less of them. Less pages means less costs!
They sound like a nice company. Net profits are split 60/40 in the authors favour, which is more generous than most I have seen. Some only offer 12 1/2 percent.

I have then been busy working out costs to see what cover price I need to charge, and how many I will need to sell in order to break even.

If I decide to go with this company, the set up cost will be around £1500. Print costs will be 1p a page plus 70p for the cover. For a book my size (about 270 pages based on 9 inch by 6 inch) that means £3.40 per copy. By the time booksellers discount is taken off (40 percent) this means that any books sold via this route will generate a net profit of £5.60. I will get 60 percent of this, or £3.36, meaning I will have to sell 447 copies to break even. Any copies that I sell myself at talks etc, I can buy at print cost plus 20 percent (£4.00). I then get to keep the balance of £10.91, meaning I have to sell just 138 copies to break even, a figure which I think should be easily achievable.
It seems that £14.99 would be a realistic price. You always have to be careful to charge a good price, bearing in mind the work that has gone in, but on the other hand, you do not want to price yourself out of the market either. This seems a sensible compromise at a few pounds more than commercially produced books, which judging by my library retail at around the £12.99 mark.

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