Quantity & Pricing

The quantity you print, commonly referred to as the “run length” has a big impact on the overall price of your completed book. It will also determine how your book will be printed, the contracted services you use and the way in which you sell the final work. Before you start writing you should probably come to terms with the financial commitments you will have to make.

The principal factors that impact the quantity are:

Saleability – if you are trying to make money on your book you need to determine the final selling price and hopefully recover the cost of production and return a profit. Of course if your reason for producing the book is not profit-centered then your financial expectations will be lower.

Audience Size – How many can you sell, give-away or other? If there is a known market for your book, printing a larger quantity rather than a series of small runs will reduce your overall cost significantly.

Production Costs – This includes everything from the printing to the layout and design. The cost-per-unit increases significantly as the quantity drops so if you want to recover your expenses, you may have to print and sell a larger quantity.

Distribution Capability – Getting your book in the hands of readers can be time-consuming and expensive. You are either going to give up a large portion of the final selling price to a publisher, distributor, reseller or do that work yourself.

Financial Resources – self-publishers need to come up with the money to produce their book from their own sources unless you have “backers”.



The cost of producing a book hinges on a large number of factors and not something that can be estimated accurately without seeing the final work. Few printers will offer fixed estimates without several conditions attached.

Expect that you will only be able to get a rough estimate based on standard sizes and page counts and an actual final estimate when the work is done. Keep in mind, printing is only one cost of your book. The services of an editor, layout person and graphic designer all need to be accounted for.