Book marketers have iterated it numerous times “Price your self-published book right to get more sales”. Pricing a self-published book is an emotional moment for every author. Every author wants to consider all the investment they have made into calculation while pricing the book, which is not only good but important as well. From business point of view, it is important to consider the investments made while pricing a book.
How do you Price a Self-Published Book in India?
The price of a self-published book in India must inculcate the following:
- The cost of book editing
- The cost of cover designing
- The cost of page typset
- The cost of book printing
- Amazon’s commission
- Amazon’s handling fees
- Packing and storage charges
- Amazon’s inbound and outbound shipping charges
- GST on book selling services provided by Amazon
- Author Royalty
- Cost of Book Marketing
These are the cost involved in making and delivery of a book; a self-published author in India needs to bear all these charges on his/her own. The price of a self-published book in India must cover up all these charges and also leave a scope for profit in case Amazon decides to spike their commission/handling fees.
P.S: Amazon’s pricing are highly volatile, you can always expect a rise of 1-2% in every quarter.
A self-published book must be priced in such a way that it can take in all the price and fees hike and still provide the author with his or her fixed royalty.
How Much Does it Costs to Self-Publish a Book in India?
I self-published my book in 2016 and spent around 23,000INR only to get my book printed and placed on Amazon. I had to pay separately for book marketing and book review. I must inform you that my self-published book was a pocketbook, had 50 pages and I printed 600 copies for a price of 23,000INR.
Let’s make “HOW TO PRICE A SELF-PUBLISHED BOOK IN INDIA?” easier for you by taking in an example. Let’s consider an author named Gaitonde decides to publish a book with 150 pages. Gaitonde wants to publish a romance novel and has written around 50,000 words.
Gaitonde decides to get his book edited: Well, a lot of Indian self-published authors have edited their book on their own and have taken help from their friends, which is not a bad idea. If you decide to get your book edited by a professional, you will have to pay around 10INR per page, which in case of Gaitonde will cost 15,000INR. Getting your book edited from a professional will make sure that each and every mistake and error are removed. For authors who do not really want to spend 15,000INR on editing can actually use Grammarly Premium and get the minute errors removed with great ease.
Note: We will not use editing cost will calculating the price of book.
Gaitonde wants to get a great cover designed for his book: Gaitonde is well aware of the quote “Never judge a book by its cover” but he knows that people judge you no matter who you are and what you do. Gaitonde’s decision of getting a professional help for designing a cover for his self-published book is wise and will pay in the long run.
What are the attributes of a great book cover?
- Minimalistic design: This is the latest trend and a lot of authors are abiding by it.
- Says enough about the book doesn’t give away spoilers
- Hits just the right feels in a reader
- Has a design that is visible on every platform like mobile devices
- Must have title and authors name clearly mentioned
- Also includes visible tags if any like: New York Bestseller or Hindustan Times Best seller
A professional designed book cover in India will cost you something in between 2000-5000INR. There are professionals who also do it for 1500INR but then they fail to add requisite details mentioned above. A professional that has prior experience is worth paying 2000-5000INR. Let’s consider 3000INR just the ideal price for cover designing in India.
Gaitonde wants his book to look and feel good: Now that Gaitonde is done with the exterior designing of his book, it is time for him to get the interior of his books done. Book formatting and typeset is very important, if you want to give your user a memorable reading experience. Book formatting and typeset ensures that the chapters are well separated and content is printed in an easy to read manner.
Typeset prices vary from 10-15INR per page; this service can be availed from the printers. It is also advised to get your book formatted by the printer, where the book is going to be printed because they have better understanding of formatting and what looks good in print.
Let’s consider 10INR as the ideal price of book formatting; which means Gaitonde will have to pay 150pages X 10 INR= 1500 INR for the formatting of his book.
Gaitonde wants his book to go into print: With the cover designed and formatting done, Gaitonde now wants to send his book for print. Book printers in India charges something in between 30-50 paise per page. I paid 35 paise per page for my book in 2016 and the pricing is still the same. My printer provider high quality GSM paper and printed the cover of book on Matt paper.
In Gaitonde’s case: The cost of printing one book will be 0.35 paise X 150 pages= 52 INR and if Gaitonde gets an initial print of 100 copies then he will have to pay 5200INR to his printer.
100 Copies of a self-published book in India= 5200 INR
Gaitonde wants to see how his books in print, so he decides to get a sample done: Gaitonde is smart, before placing an order of 100-500 copies of his book, he wants the printer to get 2-5 sample copies of his book done. This way he will be able to check whether the formatting, book cover and typeset looks good in print or no way before the book reaches the readers. Sampling is always suggested with self-published books because it is you alone who has wrote the book, edited it, finalized the book, got the formatting done and they are chances you might have overlooked the errors. Sampling will allow you opportunity to go through the intricacies and remove discrepancies, if any.
Cost of book sampling: 500 INR
Now Gaitonde’s book is designed, formatted, printed and ready to ship for Amazon’s warehouse. Cost till now:
- Book cover: 3000 INR
- Book formatting: 1500 INR
- Book Sampling: 500 INR
- Book printing: 5200INR
- Total= 10,200 INR
Now, Gaitonde wants to understand the cost involved with Amazon for selling of paperback. Let’s stroll through the varied cost involved in selling books on Amazon.
What percentage does Amazon takes on self-published in India?
Well, it doesn’t affect Amazon, whether the Book is Traditionally published or self-published. Amazon doesn’t want to be a part of the Traditional Publishing Vs Self-Publishing debate, it just wants to help you sell more books.
Varied fees levied by Amazon on a book:
- Referral Fee: This is a percentage Amazon charges you for every copy of your book that is sold through amazon. Till last year, Referral fee on Book was 12% but it has now increased to 13%. Which means a book which is priced at 200INR, will have to pay a referral fee of 26INR to Amazon for every copy sold.
- Fixed Closing Fee: Amazon has now levied an additional charge of Fixed Closing Fee of 15 INR on books. Which means, you now have to pay additional 15 INR on every book you sell through Amazon.
- Shipping through Amazon Fee: If you decide to ship your book through Amazon then you will have to pay 34INR for shipping your book Locally, 40INR for shipping Regionally and 65INR for shipping your book Nationally.
- The Mighty GST: Government has exempted books out of GST but selling online is not exempted, you will have to pay a tax of 18% on every book you sell through Amazon. Which in case of Gaitonde will 36 INR.
Total Fees Charged by Amazon on Self-Published book India
- Referral fee: 26 INR
- Fixed Closing Fee: 2 INR
- Shipping Through Amazon: 65 INR
- Tax: 36 INR
- Total= 129 INR (If the cost of book is 200 INR)
Amazon will charge you a total of 129 INR for shipping your book Nationally, the cost comes down when you are shipping your book regionally and locally.
Cost of Shipping book Locally: 98 INR (if the price of book is 200 INR)
Cost of Shipping Book Regionally: 104 INR (If the price of book is 200 INR)
Cost of Self-publishing and selling on Amazon of a book in India
Cost of printing 100 books: 5200 INR
Cost of printing 1 book: 5200/100= 52 INR
Cost of selling one book on Amazon= 129 INR
Total cost of shipping one book to Customer: 52+129= 181 INR [Nationally]
A Royalty of 20INR is a good take away
Self-published Indian authors should never aim for a royalty more than 20INR, when they are the own who has paid for designing, printing and shipping because at the end of the day, it is you who will be receiving the entire fee after Amazon deducts its cost of shipping a book, which 200-129= 71 INR, this is your take home fee per book. This 71 will cover you royalty and return on investment you have made in form of book designing and printing.
How to Price a Self-Published Book in India?
Now it is up to you how much you want to take home, you decide how much royalty you want and how much you are planning to invest in book marketing but be sure that you are pricing it smartly enough.
What should be your goal when pricing a self-published book in India?
You should never aim to make a lot of money by selling your self-published book on Amazon; always aim for getting more and more people read your book because the maths is simple, the more people read your book, the more money you make no matter how less you are making on per book basis. Even if you are earning 1INR per book, if 1000 people read your book, you will earn 1000INR but if you are earning 100INR per book and only one person reads your book, you will only earn 100INR and in order to 100INR per book, you will have to price your book somewhere around 500INR, which will guarantee the death of your book.
Here’s how to perfectly price your self-published book in India
Let go off the investment you made in form of Book Editing, Designing, Formatting and Printing, only consider the cost of selling on Amazon and the rest as your profit.
Why Vanity Publishing is a Scam?
You pay someone 25,000-30,000INR for printing your book and selling it on Amazon and all you get in return is one AUTHOR COPY and a Royalty of 15-20%. In this case also you are not going to get your 25,000-30,000INR, which you paid initially. You will have to be satisfied with 10-15INR royalty on every book you sale. No marketing and no support but when you self-publish your book on your own, you are getting a return of 70-80 INR per book after paying for shipping and GST.
In self-publishing(10,200INR) you will be able to get your initial investment back by selling 120-150 copies but in vanity publishing (25,000-30,000INR) you will have to sell 1600-2000 copies.