3 Guidelines for Pricing Your Book to Sell

Pricing your book can be a little daunting. 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 when pricing your book 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!


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