Might have mentioned this before from folks more knowledgeable, but apparently not to my satisfaction. I was wondering if printed books might somehow be published at prices so reasonable that they would be irresistible. Sure, the computer and ebooks are here forever, but it shouldn't mean physical books are dead. No, they're not yet, but just how cheaply can they be produced without resorting to the Expresso machine?
You can only manipulate print price so far. The cost of the materials and the printing, as well as delivery costs make it impossible to go below a certain price. The cheapest way at the moment is self-publishing, but even if you do everything yourself, you hit non-profit at $12.00.
On the other hand, there is demand and that will last.
I think we just keep going round and round on this topic.
As of today, November 2013 paper books account for 75% of the sales in the US, and that's not counting used books. That figure has been stable for a while now and and according to experts is unlikely to drop more than 5%, if that, in the next decade. That's the reality. There is no reason to consider lowering paper book prices, they are here to stay for our lifetimes and with the lion's share of the market to boot. That is why it is imperative to always make sure your work is out in paper. Otherwise you lose access to 75% of buyers. I would always publish electronically and that is only 25% of the market. I'd be foolish to throw even that away; anyone would.
As far as a $12.00 break even point for an indie paper book, I think it is much less than that if you are fortunate enough to be able to do everything yourself (I wouldn't dare do my own editing). Why anyone would consider going that low though, I don't know. I would suggest that a rock bottom price for a 70,000 word novel be in the $15.95 range (other wise you'll have trouble with discounts and doing retailers, etc.) and that is cheap.
Perhaps. I list mine at 14.99. That's more than my closest competitor's books, though CreateSpace/Amazon lowers mine a bit more. I make about $ 3.00 per sale. 15.00 minus 3:00 is what the 12:00 cost was based on. And I do all my own work. E-books earn the author a better percentage.
Yes, I. J. & Dan, I guess it is different for everyone. On Amazon (which drops prices as you say) I'm making an average of $4.53 a copy. Other outlets vary. Stores I get the books in myself it is $4.30 a copy; more at some outlets because I give less than 40% for one reason or another.
Of course this is not net as yours is I. J.; I can't do everything, so as publisher I have expenses. There is money in Indie publishing, but you have to have a substantial amount of product and be able to cut expenses to a minimum. I'm working on both.
It would be nice, but maybe impossible now, to have independent bookstores, or even chains, survive in greater numbers. That 75% isn't doing a thing for them, obviously, since so much of it is P.O.D. P.O.D. is fine for the publisher, but if the price is $16- $20 for a paperback, plus shipping, I don't see where it's a big deal for me.
But bear in mind there are reports that more independent bookstores are opening up, I think as the big box stores go away it will create new opportunity for indie bookstore as long as print remains somewhere in the 50 % and up range as I believe it will and those bookstores start to embrace indie writers and their print books as the e-reading public apparently has. That will be a win-win for both.
Well, I wasn't aware of those figures, but it's good to know.
Just curious, why do you say, "without resorting to the Exresso machine?" I haven't seen one lately, but if the technology continues to improve it seems like it might be a good idea, doesn't it?
I can't say I'm too disturbed about the 3.50 or whatever for mailing. Amazon discounts the book somewhat to make up for it, and if you buy more items, you get free shipping. I'm really more disturbed about the quality of a book printed out and bound by an in-store machine.
And Canada doesn't get CreateSpace books. No idea why that should be. I have fans there and they are disturbed.
My CreateSpace book is available in Canada. You should contact Amazon.
CreateSpace says clearly that they don't distribute to Canada.I suppose I can ask them why not.
I.J. I just checked and all my print books through CreateSpace are clearly available on the Amazon Canadian website. Are you in expanded distribution or only the standard distribution?
BTW expanded distribution is now free. So really no reason not to be, if you aren't already.