3 Guidelines for Pricing Your Book to Sell | Blurb Blog

3 Guidelines for Pricing Your Book to Sell
08 Mar 2018

3 Guidelines for Pricing Your Book to Sell

It can be a little daunting to set the price of your book. What’s too high? What’s too low? How do you know what to do? Here are a few terms to know and a few things to consider when you sell your books online.

1) Base Price: This is the non-negotiable cost of producing copies of your book. The first step in setting your price is balancing cost and quality. What choices can you make to get the lowest possible base price and still maintain integrity to your vision? This may mean choosing cheaper paper, cover, or format types to keep your work market-ready.

2) Wholesale Discount: This is the cost of distribution—how the distributors make their money in distributing the book. The Blurb Bookstore doesn’t charge a distribution markup, but if you sell your books online via Amazon or sell a consignment in a local shop will need to have the cost of business factored into the price.

3) Your Profit: The Blurb system is special in that you mostly control the price of your book with how much profit you make on it. The lower your base price, the more room you have to put your book at a competitive price and keep more of that book price for yourself.


1) The Market. Do your research. What is the price range for other books like yours? Shop local bookstores, look online, see what other bloggers do. Remember what people expect to pay is a big factor in their willingness to pay it. Your book has to stick as close to those industry averages as you can get it, so that it’s competitive with other books on the market. When you’re starting out, family and friends are some of your first buyers. They might not be your ideal buyers, but they’re likely you’re first. Would they pay what you’re asking for your book?

2) Your Goals: Maybe you need to sell a certain number of copies to pay for an offset run. Maybe you intend to donate the proceeds from your project, and you have an amount in mind.  You might know how much you have to pay collaborators and contributors. Maybe you had investors that need repaying. When setting your profit, you want to be sure you’re collecting enough to make your work worthwhile and possible, but not so much that you’ve priced yourself out of the market.

3) Just Pick a Number. When you’re first starting out, it could be that getting your work in the world is more important than how much money it makes. Getting your work seen and into the hands of other people is really rewarding, and your first project sets you up for your second. Most book-makers and authors find that second and third projects sell better or are more profitable. It’s it’s important to start somewhere, and make modifications as you need to from there, so don’t get hung up on getting it perfect the first time. The big deal is getting it out there!

Happy with the way you priced your book? Tell us about it in the comments section!


Jessica Ruscello

Jessica is writer, teacher, and photographer who makes her mark with empty coffee cups, ink spills, and red lipstick. She’s passionate about creativity, people, and the written word. She believes anything worth doing is worth doing beautifully. When not chasing the perfect sentence, she’s stalking Bay Area beauty camera in-hand, amazed and grateful that she gets to call San Francisco her home.

  • carrpediem

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/eebb32dbb4a525c54da23a073aaae5b844be1e4e26c948a6c73e3cbdcf80697e.jpg This is an interesting and timely topic. There is another consideration in the pricing – your attitude and belief about the book you created, thus consider the time it took to create the book. My little 20 page book has over 150 photos that I began taking nearly 9 years ago. I don’t consider it a book as I do a work of art. I use it as a promotional piece for my consulting work. I believe the finish quality speaks to the quality of my work with clients. Thus, it works best to have a hard cover and highest quality of paper. That makes the book fairly expensive to print, so I wait until Blurb offers it’s best coupon offer of 40%. Then I find ordering a dozen of my books at a time lowers the shipping and handling cost to the lowest unit price. If I had to pay the base price cost which works out to about $38 and change, I’d probably go someplace else or find another vendor. Carrpe Diem! David Carr

  • Sue Saville

    Great Read, however there i mention of the shipping cost, how high it is and how it ties in with what people are willing to pay. My book is competitively priced but the shipping is 11.99 bringing my book to almost $30.00. That scares people off. More bookstore sales, more often would be great.

  • The Rock

    Blurb changinged its shipping options a year or so ago and with that shipping a physical book to most places outside of the US became just plain silly. I would sell a book for $15 and shipping would be $45. I live in a USPS serviced area with zip code and all and can’t even afford to buy a sample. I use Blurb for e-books now. If Blurb wanted to remain a company that just services 48 states, it has come a long way in meeting its goal. Price means nothing when shipping options suck. See B&H Photo for proper shipping options for small products.