Friday, August 17



They say hindsight is 20-20. They also say "... If I knew then what I know now..." But what if you DID know now what others wish they knew then? What if foresight was 20-20? Imagine the decision-making prowess you would wield if you could look into a crystal ball and see four different futures for your book, after it was published.


Below is a pricing and profit analysis of an actual book published by Outskirts Press, along with a comparison of how three leading publishers would price the same book (based upon pricing information available on their respective websites, or in one case, pulled kicking and screaming from the clutches of their customer service department).

Notice the higher profit, lower retail price, and lower per-copy price. Even on the surface it looks good, but dig deeper to understand just how valuable pricing flexibility is for your book. The kind of pricing flexibility only Outskirts Press offers.

Let's analyze this bar graph, box by box, starting from the left:

The profit-per-book is the actual dollars-and-cents received by the author for each copy sold from Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

  • Hint: Do not let a publisher confuse you with "net royalty" or "gross wholesale royalty" semantics. Dollars and cents are all that matter.
  • Hint: Do not be persuaded by figures based upon "direct website" sales. Bookstores and Amazon are where people buy books, not from publisher websites.

The middle box: The retail cover price is the actual listed price for the book with Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Since Outskirts Press lets authors set their own retail price, this 288 page paperback is priced at $13.95 with us. Publishers U and X do not give the author any choice, and their retail prices for a 288 page paperback are $17.95 and $21.95, respectively. Publisher A offers some flexibility, but in order for Publisher A to show up in the profit box, we had set their retail price to match Publisher U.

  • Hint: Don't price your book differently depending upon where it is available, for example with a higher retail price on Amazon than through the publisher's website. Amazon and Barnes & Noble won't appreciate being under-cut by the publisher.
  • Hint: Pricing your book higher on Amazon than elsewhere is self-defeating. Amazon spends millions of dollars in online programming algorithms that help your book receive notice by pre-qualified buyers. Do publisher webstores do that? No. Let Amazon do what it does best -- sell books.

Third box: The author's copy price is the amount the author pays to purchase copies of the book personally. Since Outskirts Press and Publisher A allow the author to set their retail price, the author's cost is based on the length of the book. Publishers U and X offer the author a discount on the retail price (which they also set). No wonder Publisher X's retail price is nearly $22.

  • Hint: If a publisher sets your retail price for you and then bases your author cost as a discounted amount of the retail price, do you think the publisher has incentive to "pad" that retail price just a tad? Think about it.
  • Hint: Don't be persuaded by "bulk" discounts. They may sound good on paper, but minimum quantities are the whole point of on-demand publishing. Your cost should be low regardless of whether you buy 5 or 50 or 500.

Other details about the book used in this comparison chart:

  • Author selected a trim size of 5 x 8 (paperback)
  • Author set a trade discount minimum of 20%
  • Author published under the Basic package.
  • Pricing would be even more advantageous as a Ultimate.
  • If he had set his retail price at $17.95 to match Publishers A and U, his per book profit would be $5.74.

Here's another chart you may find helpful, the publishing prices for all four publishers for their similar publishing packages.

Publishing Price
Outskirts Press
$1299 Basic
Publisher A
Publisher U
$799 Premiere
Publisher X
$899 Professional

Before asking which publishers these are, ask yourself this ... does it really matter? And if you've already published with them, you know who they are. You may want to do your own pricing case study with our calculator here to see if switching to Outskirts Press makes sense for you.

Or if your choice now seems obvious, get started with your free author's center here.