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!



  • carrpediem says:
    Mar 19 at 01:18

    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 says:
    Mar 19 at 01:52

    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.

    1. Blurb Books says:
      Mar 23 at 10:27

      Thank you, Sue! Shipping cost will vary depending on the speed, product type, quantity, and exact zip code. We appreciate your input and will pass it along to our operations team.

  • The Rock says:
    Mar 19 at 04:27

    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.

    1. Blurb Books says:
      Mar 23 at 10:24

      Hi there – thank you for your feedback! We try to provide as many shipping options as possible. For US territories and the noncontiguous US, economy USPS methods can take time as they are sent on a boat from the contiguous states. This is not something determined by Blurb, but by the shipper. If a package were to ever not be delivered, we would never leave you empty-handed. Our support team is always happy to help. We’ll continue to pass along this feedback to our operations team in hopes that we can improve our shipping options in the future!

      1. The Rock says:
        Apr 10 at 06:00

        You once had fast and reasonable shipping options using good old USPS but fairly recently someone at the Blurb brain trust decided to go with a courier service that basically puts any book shipped outside of the contiguous 48 on the proverbial slow boat, making delivery times and costs prohibitive. Even in the states they aren’t that great. You really are the classic example of something that wasn’t broke but you fixed it anyway, with disappointing results. And Blurb refuses to admit this. My customers don’t want to know they won’t be empty-handed. My customers want to know they’ll get their books on time. And they want shipping costs that make sense. My $30 book costs roughly $45 to ship out of CONUS. What a joke. Please buy my e-books as you can atl east get those from Blurb in a few minutes. For now, Blurb can blabber about it’s shipping options, but they suck. Check B&H or even Amazon to see how to offer a customer some sensible shipping options. I hope you can negate your contract soon.

  • Keith Towers says:
    Mar 24 at 08:21

    It is very unfortunate that trying to sell a 160 page photo book via the Blurb store or Amazon is just not cost effective. Most photographic books published via the traditional route sell for around £20. Okay, they are not print on demand one-off copies but they can be very well made books. A paperback copy of Henri Cartier Bresson’s book, Europeans, is selling on Amazon UK for just £25. There is no way we can compete with that without investing thousands of pounds buying a lock-up full of books. As much as I love Blurb’s quality, authors of high end photo books will not make any money out of a Blurb publication and will have to give it away free. I have had my eBook with Blurb for around a year, selling at the store and at i-Tunes and have not sold one copy in a year. I have just brought the price down to £2.99 so I will wait and see what the results are. It doesn’t look good though and I may have to look elsewhere for publication. Shame, but that’s the way business goes.

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