How much does it cost to publish a book? The answer depends on a large range of factors. From the length of the book to the type of cover you’d like, self-publishing a printed book can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $25,000 or more.
Because of the immense costs of publishing printed books, many first-time authors are instead publishing their books digitally. In this blog post, we’ll examine the cost of publishing a traditional printed book and compare it to self-publishing digitally.
Ready to get started? If you’d like an in-depth look at the world of self publishing, be sure to enroll in our Self Publishing Secrets course.
Traditional publishing in the digital age
The publishing industry is currently going through a transition. Just like the music industry made the leap from physical to digital in the early 2000s, many publishers are adapting to an industry that’s becoming increasingly digital and decentralized.
This makes it a challenging time to be a publisher, but a great time to be a writer. If you’re interested in self-publishing your books, you have access to a huge audience of digital readers that simply wasn’t there just five years ago.
There are many parts to the typical print publishing budget. From copyediting and formatting to cover design and ISBN purchasing, a variety of elements can push the cost of publishing your own book into the tens of thousands of dollars.
Publishing online, however, is significantly less expensive. Many first-time authors have reached millions of people with books specifically designed for online stores like the Kindle Store and Apple’s iBooks.
Why new authors should ‘go digital’
The audience for digital books is rapidly expanding. Amazon has sold hundreds of millions of books designed for its Kindle device, with indie publishers making up a quarter of all US sales.
This is great news for independent authors. Not only does the Kindle offer access to a massive audience – it does so at a small cost. First-time authors can develop their own eBooks at a fraction of the cost required to publish a traditional paperback.
While many of the expenses involved in publishing a traditional paperback remain for Kindle publishers, others – such as the cost of distribution and printing – can be wiped out completely by publishing digitally.
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Publishing your book on Kindle
Amazon is famously silent about its Kindle sales figures. However, investment bank Morgan Stanley Research believes that the company is selling $4.5 billion worth of Kindles every year to consumers in the United States and abroad.
Interestingly, Kindle users spend an astounding $1,233 per year on products from Amazon, including books. This makes users of the popular e-reader a great target audience for your book. Not only are they interested in reading; they’re valuable customers, as proven by their higher-than-average spending on Amazon.com.
When you publish a book on Kindle, you can bypass many of the costs associated with traditional self-publishing. However, there are still some important costs to consider, such as the fees you’ll need to pay your copy editor and cover designer.
The cost of copy editing typically starts at $25 per hour, although more experienced editors with specialized knowledge can charge more than $50 per hour. For a short book, you’ll need to budget around $1,000 for copy editing alone.
The longer your book is, the more editing it will require. If you’re writing a true epic that weighs in at several hundred pages, be prepared to spend upwards of $1,000 on copy editing to work it into a tight, exciting page-turner of a novel.
Don’t want to pay for editing? While editing your own work is tough, it’s certainly not impossible. Our course, The Art of Successful Publishing, covers the A to Z of successfully publishing your own eBook.
Cover design is just as important for eBooks as it is for paperbacks. In fact, since so many online sales are impulsive, having a compelling, eye-catching cover is actually more important for eBooks than it is for printed paperbacks.
Hiring a cover designer to create your book’s cover and sleeve can cost anywhere from $150 to $3,500. Good covers should be optimized for maximum visibility on small e-readers and mobile devices, in thumbnails, and in full resolution.
If you’d like to avoid paying a professional to design your book’s cover, enroll in our course, Design Your Own eBook Cover That Sells, to learn how to create an amazing eBook cover using digital design software.
Publishing your book on iBooks
There’s more to digital publishing than just the Amazon Kindle. An estimated 20% of all eBook sales occur on Apple’s iBooks, making it a valuable marketplace for any serious digital author.
With over 100 million customers, iBooks is an important distribution channel for digital authors. Enroll in our iStart iBooks Author course to learn how to publish your eBook on Apple’s popular bookstore.
The cost of digital publishing
When you publish a book through a traditional publishing house, you don’t get all of the profits it generates. This is also true when you publish online – instead of getting a 100% commission, most digital authors receive a 35 to 70 percent royalty.
Amazon’s Kindle pricing policy is quite complicated, but in most cases it offers a 35 to 70 percent royalty for publishers. Sales in specific territories, such as the United States or Australia, generally result in a 70% royalty for you as the author.
In other territories, however, you might receive as little as 35% of all sales. Before you publish, it’s important to understand the royalty structure used by Amazon and other online marketplaces so that you aren’t disappointed by the royalties.
Ready to publish your own book?
If you’ve ever dreamed of becoming an author, now is the perfect time to act. With more users than even before purchasing eBooks and so few barriers to entry, there has never been a better time to achieve your dreams of publishing your own book!
Need some extra motivation? Check out our blog post on How to Write an eBook for practical tips and proven strategies for writing an eBook that other people will read and share.