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For Readers: What Does a Book Really Cost?

book cost

Today’s reader topic comes from QSFer Denise Dechene:

I’ve seen this lots of times. Readers upset by book prices. I know publishers set prices on their books but not sure how Indie authors do? I think some of the problem is we as readers have no idea how much it costs to produce a book for self pub.

So I guess my question would be as a whole what are the costs leading up to publication?

Writers: This is a reader chat – you are welcome to join it, but please do not reference your own works directly. Thanks!

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1 thought on “For Readers: What Does a Book Really Cost?”

  1. Assuming only out-of-pocket costs are considered, and not the proverbial “blood, sweat and tears” that go into the creation, then for me, the only cash outlay is for the cover and the pro rata cost for the 100 ISBNs (one for each format of the book, not counting the Amazon ASIN) I purchased from Bowker.

    While I realize most MM romance covers are made up of stock photos of two or three men, plus a content-appropriate background, I prefer, if at all possible, to have an original painting. So far, I’ve been lucky. The artists have charged between USD 100.00 and USD 150.00. Plus another USD 25.00 – 50.00 for selecting the fonts and placing them properly on the cover.

    Of course, if you have ample font resources and have the artistic eye and placement talent, then all you’d need would be the painting. Or someone who can find the right stock photos and background for you, and put those together.

    The more well-known the artist, the higher the costs. Before I found the one who did my last two (and I hope he is still available!) I did some hunting for artists who had the right “style” for what I was looking for, who’d done paintings/covers with the quality I wanted. I found three on DeviantArt. As usual, my taste is exquisite, my bank account isn’t. They were in Germany, Sweden and one other country. They started at 350 euros (currently just under USD 400.00) and went up.

    I’ve also seen some cover artists who use stock photos who are in the USD 200.00 and up range.

    Perhaps someone else will tell us, but the only other cost I can think of, though I haven’t incurred it, is to pay an editor. And from what little I’ve seen they can be kind of pricey.

    If part of this discussion is setting a book/novella/short story price in relation to what the reader is buying (word count or page count), let me know and I’ll have a comment. For now I’ll stick with just cash costs I personally know of.

    Just my USD .02.



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