The Cost of Publishing a Book

One thing librarians are always ranting about is the cost of eBooks.  In some instances, the eBook can cost 150-200% of the list price.  The Kindle 2 blog just posted an interesting break down on the cost of print books.  When it comes down to it, printing costs are only about 10% of the total book cost.  Author royalties, marketing, proof reading/editing, cover design and the like all take a piece of the pie as well.  These expenses don’t magically go away on the eBook.  The 10% printing cost is used to manage interfaces, buy servers, and to pay programmers, which probably costs more than 10% of the book I would think.  Ron Boehm, from ABC-CLIO, wrote a nice article about the economics of publishing and ebooks for NSR, it contains more information on the pricing of p vs. e.    The question still remains, why are some eBooks priced at list and others at 150 – 200% over list?  I think some of this has to do with the number of simultaneous users, 24/7 access, and other value added features that a publisher or aggregator may offer.  Recouping costs of development and storage are probably factored in their too.  None of this makes it any easier to swallow for those of us paying the higher costs, but one can only hope that over time, as the eBook matures and interfaces are perfected, that the costs will stabilize.

3 thoughts on “The Cost of Publishing a Book”

  1. The big thing you did not mention is that most authors don’t spend any money at all. After writing their ebook, its very easy to spell check it and then immediately convert it to a PDF download. Couple that with all the ebook cover software that is less than $50 or even free and its no wonder ebooks are so popular…and expensive!

  2. I guess if people realize the huge potential of e book readership now that e readers are becoming more popular, then prices should settle to what market will dictate. It will happen soon than many authors and publishers realize.

  3. I am a book reader, as is my wife. We both have Kindles and, when we both like a book, we buy two copies of the book for our Kindles because a single copy cannot be transferred and we cannot conveniently share our Kindles.

    We are following a six-book series from an author who has the first three published for Kindle and the last three in hard copy only. I emailed the author and asked when the books would be “Kindled” and he said it was the Publisher’s decision and his publisher will not Kindle-ize the later volumes.

    So I bought used hard-copies of the last three volumes on Amazon for about the same price as one Kindle copy and shared each with my wife.

    Only after doing this and reflecting on it for awhile did the following score card occur to me.

    Score for this author’s Publisher:

    First three books: $Six new Kindle sales.
    Second three books: $0.00 in new sales

    When will these guys wake up and smell the money in eBooks??

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