Monday, November 1, 2010

One book page can cost a little over a penny,
or two dollars!

(left-click on images below to enlarge them for easier reading)

Lightning Source is the dominant Print-On-Demand company, producing books for publishers of all types and sizes, including my own Silver Sands Books.

Their printing price for standard paperback books is 90 cents, plus $.013 per page. A 300-pager will cost $4.80. Pricing-per-page seems very logical to me, but that's not the way some self-publishing companies work.

Here's the price chart from

Prices are based on page ranges, not the actual number of pages, When you exceed a range by one page, the minimum retail price goes up two bucks, and the author's wholesale price goes up $1.40.

(above) Infinity Publishing's book pricing is strange. Their suggested cover price for a book with 129 pages is a buck more than the price for a book with 128 pages. The author pays 54 cents per book for the additional page. Page number 129 is printed on a very expensive piece of paper. Independent self-publishers who have Lightning Source print their books pay .013 for an additional page. Ironically, Infinity's $149 Extended Distribution Package uses Lightning Source to print the books. Infinity pays Lightning .013 cents (or maybe less) for page number 129, but charges authors 54 cents! That's a nice markup. Infinity also says that its own printing and fulfillment are better than Lightning--but they are willing to use Lightning anyway.

(above) Xlibris also has an inflated and weird "delta" between page ranges. As shown above, a 107-page paperback book will sell for $15.99 and the hardcover will sell for $24.99. If you add just one page more, the price goes up $4 or $5. The difference in the manufacturing cost is tiny, and can't possibly justify the difference in cover price.

The price for a paperback with 398 pages is $19.99 (just like the 108-page book), but, at 400 pages the retail price jumps four bucks to $23.99, and that price holds all the way to 800 pages. Xlibris gives away 400 pages for "free," but charges four or five bucks for one page! Xlibris books are printed by Lightning Source, so the price per additional page is $.013 (or maybe even less if they get a discount).


  1. This is a great blog. Speaking of how much things cost, a company called AuthorHive, a marketing division of Author Solutions, offered to turn my books into a screan play for TV and the movies. It will cost thousands of dollars, but is well worth it!

    Ever hear of AuthorHive?

  2. Infinity's pricing is not as unusual as you would think. When publishing books on a larger scale, there is an interesting price jump. It is based on the number 32. If your page count is divisible by 32, you get the best deal, but anything not divisible by 32 is a far worse deal. The reason for this is a standard print run consists of 32 pages. If your book is 129 pages, it means they can print 4 full runs of 32 pages, then have to reset to do a run of single pages. That is where the higher price comes from.
    In my experience, most printers will not jump right to the next price bracket, but that 1 extra page will make a larger difference in cost than you would normally suspect.
    The other companies most likely just picked random numbers to make things easier on themselves, but do not have any real logic behind their choices.