Are you curious about POD book cost versus how much you can expect to make on each you sell? Are you with CreateSpace or IngramSpark and wonder what the profit is on each book? Do you see sales happening and yet your bank account is not growing? Let’s look at the dollars and cents of self-publishing.
We will start by using a 204-page paperback book with a $16.99 retail price point as an example.
POD Book Cost for IngramSpark & CreateSpace
At IngramSpark, a 204 page POD paperback book costs $4.98 to print. (.02 a page plus .90 for the cover)
At CreateSpace, that same POD book cost is $4.45 to print.
What happens next is...
IngramSpark sells books to the bookstore and library market through their sister company, Ingram Wholesale.
Ingram will purchase the book from Ingram Spark at 55% discount off of the retail price. That will leave you $7.65
IngramSpark will take the $4.98 out of that total due for the printing and send you $2.67.
Ingram will then take the book that they bought from you (through IngramSpark) and sell it to Amazon, bookstores, and libraries at a discount of anywhere from 20% – 42%
So, to recap:
Ingram Spark makes $4.98 for printing
Ingram Wholesalers make $2.21 – 5.95 but they have to pay for shipping and handling out of that as well as all of their business costs. You don’t have to pay for shipping the books to Ingram Wholesaler OR to the retailers who buy the books.
The bookstores and libraries make between $3.40 – $7.13 but they have to pay for employees, rent, lights and the rest out of that.
You make $2.67 profit on any book sold to libraries or bookstores that order from Ingram Wholesaler.
POD Book Cost for Amazon & CreateSpace
CreateSpace sells books to THEIR sister company, Amazon.com.
Amazon will purchase the book from CreateSpace at 40% discount off of the retail price. That will leave you $10.19.
CreateSpace will take the $4.45 out of that total due for the printing and send you $5.74.
Amazon will send the book to their customer and you don’t have to pay for shipping the book TO Amazon or FROM Amazon.
So, to recap:
CreateSpace makes $4.45 for printing.
Amazon makes $6.80, but they have to pay for shipping and handling out of that as well as all of their business costs.
You make $5.74 profit for any book sold to Amazon through CreateSpace.
What About "Net" Profits?
A number of authors have questioned why they only get to “net” $2 or less in some cases per POD book. I would argue that once the stores and wholesalers pay THEIR expenses, they make a LOT LESS than that. The net of profits after expenses is one that plagues businesses all over. The key is to keep your costs down and use the time and energy you do have, when you can, in place of direct expenses.
If you are looking for a good rule of thumb on profits this is what I use: If you are making 11% of the retail price as a net before taxes, you are in good shape! (Most established publishers would be thrilled with that.)
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