How Much Does Independent Book Publishing Cost?

Publishing a book is an exciting journey, but for many first-time authors, understanding the costs involved can be daunting. If this is your first time, don’t worry—nearly 99% of our clients are in the same boat. The cost of independent book publishing varies based on numerous factors. Here are the top questions to ask yourself to help you understand what goes into pricing your project.

When determining your investment, ask yourself these questions:

1. How many books do I need?

The number of books you want to print greatly impacts the cost. For quantities of 500 or more, offset printing is ideal and offers a lower cost per unit. For smaller quantities, Print On Demand (POD) is available, though the cost per book will be higher.


2. What are the dimensions of my book?

The size of your book also affects the cost. Common sizes include:

  • Business Books: 6 x 9 or 5.5 x 8.5
  • Workbooks, Picture Books, Children’s Books: 8.5 x 11 (portrait or landscape)
  • Custom Sizes: For children’s books and commemorative editions, any trim size is possible, including square formats.

3. What is the length of my manuscript?

The length of your manuscript influences both printing and editing costs.


4. Do I want a hardcover or softcover?

Choosing between a hard or soft cover affects the cost. Hardcovers are more expensive but can be customized with options like dust jackets (matte or gloss finish) or printed cases.


5. Will I need book registrations?

Properly registering your book is essential. Below are the six we recommend for all books. Most clients need all of these registrations, but some have already purchased ISBNs, so it’s always good to ask:

  • ISBN
  • Library of Congress Card Catalog Number
  • Cataloging in Publication Data Block
  • EAN Bar Code
  • ABI
  • Copyright

6. What level of editing do I want?

To ensure the highest quality work, we recommend line editing and proofreading at a minimum.

  • Content editing: needs extensive work in structure and flow
  • Line editing: reviewing grammar, sentence structure, cohesiveness
  • Proofreading: spelling, grammar, conformance with Chicago Manual of Style

7. Do I want color or black and white interior printing?

Choosing between black and white or color printing for the book’s interior significantly affects the cost. Color printing is typically more expensive than black and white, so your choice will impact your overall budget.


8. Do I prefer white or cream-colored paper?

Consider whether you would like white or cream-colored paper for the book’s interior. White paper is more commonly used and therefore often produced in larger quantities, which can make it slightly cheaper than cream-colored paper.


9. Am I including photos in my book?

Consider the number and placement of photos, as including more photos will increase the cost. High-quality photo paper is available for photo sections, or you can integrate photos throughout the text.


10. Do I need tables, charts, or other graphics?

Determine if you need tables, charts, or other graphics, as these will also increase the cost. Additionally, if you require professional design services for these elements, it will further add to the overall expense.


11. Do I need an index?

An index might be necessary for certain types of books, such as business or educational publications.


12. Do I want an eBook or audiobook?

Many readers prefer digital formats. Consider coverting your story into an eBook or audiobook version to further increase your ROI.


13. Do I need help listing my book on Amazon?

If this is out of your expertise, consider investing in ecommerce distribution to make your book easily accessible to a broader audience.

What’s my investment? Take our survey to find out now.

Most people always ask, “What does it cost?” The answer depends on the factors listed above. Printing 25 books will be less expensive than printing 10,000. To get a clearer picture tailored to your specific needs, fill out our 5-minute survey here. Even if you’re unsure of all the details, it’s a great starting point for us to help guide you through the process.

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