dollar_currency_signThe impact of book printing costs

What you pay for the printing cost for your book affects two things:

Selling price and how much you make per book. You may have noticed that many self-published print on demand books are pretty high-priced. That’s because of the high print cost, and then often a cut is taken by the vendor that has to be offset.

If you want to price your book competitively against the general marketplace competition, your profit margin can be teensy. If you price it higher, you may price your book out of your customer’s comfort range and willingness to gamble on an unknown author.


dollar_currency_signPrinting cost per book from online vendors. I researched the costs for a 5.5” by 8.5” 280-page book. These prices DO NOT include shipping.

Keep in mind that with print-on-demand printing your buyer pays for a single copy. There aren’t any volume discounts unless you buy a bunch for your own use (and you will want to).

But the meaningful cost is per single copy.

  • CreateSpace: $7.10
  • $6.70
  • Lightning Source: $5.10

To be fair: Lulu and CreateSpace do not charge a set-up fee, and Lightning Source has a $75 set-up fee.

If you apply their set-up cost to the first 30 books(and you will need to buy copies for reviews, etc.), then you actually pay $7.60 per copy.

However, thereafter it’s just $5.10 while the other providers stay at the high single-copy price that individual POD buyers pay.

dollar_currency_signDesign costs

Custom cover & interior

  • CreateSpace $998 (only one image on cover)
  • Lulu $1149 (2 cover concepts)
  • Crrreative $700* (unlimited cover & interior concepts)

Cover only

  • CreateSpace $499 (1 concept)
  • Lulu $450 (2 concepts)
  • Crrreative $350 (full cover, unlimited concepts)
    front cover only for Intenet $225

* Interior design costs may be higher or lower depending on length and complexity. This represents an average cost of $350.