What's a reasonable price for a new poetry book?

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  1. Bard of Ely profile image86
    Bard of Elyposted 10 years ago

    Having given up on lulu.com where there are insane international shipping prices like €105.31 for 1 CD to be sent by Standard shipping to Spain and their forum is full of complaints, I have decided to publish my poetry and lyrics book at CreateSpace but I need to know what sort of price to charge.

    I just had the shock of finding that Amazon are selling Leonard Cohen's Book of Longing, published in 2007 and 240 pages long, for just $11.16 and there are plenty of other really cheap books by famous people so what should I charge for my 96-pager?

    Your opinions on a reasonable price will be a great help to me!

  2. darkside profile image78
    darksideposted 10 years ago

    Have you checked out www.cafepress.com?

  3. Rochelle Frank profile image94
    Rochelle Frankposted 10 years ago

    It depends.   ... on a lot of things.

    I am by no means an expert, but I'll give my limited experience.
    When my friend and I wanted to publish our children's book ( title: "So What, Saw Whet?") we made some nice photocopies and took it to a local publisher who specializes in  travel books and and a few nature books.  Though our book has a nature theme, we knew it was a longshot. Nevertheless, he was nearby so we thought we'd give it a shot.

    We went in and told the secretary what were were about, and though she did not seem too encouraging, she gave the boss a buzz and he came out to see us.

    He sat down and looked at the book though he told us, right off, it didn't really fit in with  his current line, he  said he did think it was attractive and he did give us some valuable advice.

    We asked him how such a book would be priced, if you could find a publisher.
    "About $10", he said.  This is a 32 page soft cover, perfect bound, children's book, and we were a little surprised.

    He told us that parents, and especially grandparents don't mind spending a little more for a children's gift. He gave us a lot of facts and figures about the costs of production, distribution and marketing.

    Also, he said, if you price it low, you can never really raise your price, but you can certainly lower it or "put it on sale" if necessary.

    We priced it at $9.95, which allowed us to sell quantities of 10 or more at a discounted wholesale price to shops and nature centers who could still make a nice profit.

    The price of your book will relate to your cost of production, and other costs of doing business.

    We shopped around for printers (not publishers) who print books and other things and found one that suited us.

    If you sell it directly through Amazon Advantage they take about 55% of the selling price --and
    you pay to ship your books to them. (keep in mind your own per copy price for having it produced.) Despite a rather meager return on Amazon sales we thought it was worth it to sell through them for several reasons: It gives exposure. It gives a chance to have reviews placed. It gives us some credibility-- even though we are self-published.

    We also sell directly  to many nature centers, and other shops by our own marketing efforts. We have done some school presentations which have also given us some sales and income.

    After almost 5 years we have just barely covered our initial printing expense (for 2400 copies), plus all of our operating expenses. We still have about half of our original inventory. We are still selling.

    Your story will be different. Get some estimate of what your costs will be. Talk to some people.
    Good luck!

    I don't know about CreateSpace-- I mean how they price things there.

  4. DonnaCSmith profile image88
    DonnaCSmithposted 10 years ago

    Rochelle's advice is good I think. Having worked a long while in retail, the bookstore will need to mark up from your wholesale price 40%. You need to be able to key (double) your cost of production - if it cost $5/book to produce you need $10/book wholesale to make it worth your while. Then the bookseller will sell it for $14. (these are pretend figures, I have no idea what your cost of production will be.) I am sure there are other formulas for this, and it depends on how important making $$ is to your project as to how much markup you will be satisfied with.

    I don't know what the poetry market is like. I know its hard to sell poetry to a publisher, so I am guessing it is hard for them (publishers) to sell it, too. You are on the right track, looking at comparible books and seeing how they are priced. Of course, a big publisher is printing more books that you, the small publisher, and than cuts their cost. The more books in a print run, the cheaper it is to have them printed.

  5. Bard of Ely profile image86
    Bard of Elyposted 10 years ago

    Thanks for your responses, Darkside, Rochelle and Donna!

    The point is that I am not so much looking at bookshop prices but ones for buying online seeing as this is primarily what this would be with CreateSpace producing them on demand and they go automatically on the Amazon catalogue which owns the company.

    As it's not costing me anything apart from copies I might buy anything which comes in as income is generally profit. I don't want to underprice though but also don't want to make it too high as compared to real prices of other titles available online, and in particular on Amazon and by famous writers.

    Darkside, I created a cafepress account some years back but never got round to going any further. Does it do print on demand books too then? I'll go and have a look.


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