Most printers can produce books with as many as 800 to 1,000 pages, but books with more than 500 pages are unusual. With nonfiction, you need to have enough pages to cover your topic adequately. Don’t skimp, or pad.
- The book should not be so big that it will be priced a lot higher than its competitors or seem like “too much to read.”
- It should not be so short that it seems incomplete, or doesn’t offer value for its cost.
The form of a book affects the acceptability of its size. A printed book with 600 pages could be heavy to carry and difficult to lay flat (and expensive to print and ship).
Lightning Source is the dominant Print-On-Demand company, producing books for publishers of all types and sizes, including my own Silver Sands Books. I sometimes use CreateSpace (part of Amazon) and its prices are similar.
[NOTE: some prices below are out-of-date, but should be fairly close to current prices.]
At Lightning Source one copy of a 300-page paperback will cost $5.35. If you add two pages (one piece of paper) the price goes up by three cents. Pricing-per-page seems very logical to me, but that's not the way some self-publishing companies work.
The company says it provides "Book publishing that is . . . affordable." A 351-page paperback selling for $20.95 is waaaaay overpriced for most genres. High pricing can make your book noncompetitive.
You want to sell pbooks and if you want people to buy them, the price is important. Choose your printing partner carefully. If you must use a self-pubco, pay attention to the page count, including the pages added by the company.
I decided to use jumbo-ish 7x10-inch pages and the page total was reduced to 306 pages. I could have reduced type size and top margins, but I chose not to.
You may be surprised to learn that page size does NOT affect the cost you pay for printing (unless you pick something outlandish). By employing bigger pages I was able to keep my cost low and the selling price at a reasonable-and-profitable $15.95. The jumbo format gives the book a distinctive look.
I'm writing this sentence at 9:26 AM on Friday May 25, 2017. My first copy of the book will probably arrive in three or four hours. I hope I'll be pleased, not horrified.