How to Price Your Print Book for Retail Bookstore Sales

We're Sharing One of Our Tools

By John Prince

We get asked that all the time: “How much should I charge for my print book?”
Charging too much may slow sales. Charging too little and you’re working for nothing.
PLUS, the bookstores (online and bricks & mortar) need 55% of the cover price as their retail margin.

How to figure it out?

Since bookstores (requiring the 55% margin) and organizations ordering books in bulk usually get them from IngramSpark, we used their pricing in the Calculator.
So, here’s the handy-dandy Calculator we use to decide the cover price for retail print book sales.

Click on the blue button to download the calculator.
Once the excel spreadsheet is downloaded and opened, you can follow the steps below.


Decide what the book is worth. Is it a reference book that took years of research? Is it a throw-away beach read? How much would you pay for a book like this?


How much do you have invested in the book? Time? Money? (We can’t do much for your time, but the money can be calculated.)


How much do you want to make? And can you sell enough books to break even?

Now use our calculator:

It’s an Excel spread sheet set up for a 6”x9”, white or cream paper, black text inside, color cover, softcover, perfect bound, print on demand book. But most smaller trade size books are also the same price. So, you’re not saving anything with a smaller book.

You can put your numbers in the YELLOW cells only. All of the other cells contain the formulas that make the Calculator work. If you put in your numbers, the Calculator won’t work anymore.

The results are approximate and do not account for discounts, special deals, or other factors. It is meant to be a guide, not a final number.

Section Letters on the left in the orange cells:

Section A

In the YELLOW cell, put in the number of pages in your book. The cost for the cover and a per page cost are already in the Calculator. The Calculator will then give you the cost of printing each book in the green cell. You can change the page count (YELLOW cell!) and get different results.

Section B

In the YELLOW cell, put in the cover price you think might be appropriate. In the green cell you’ll see the approximate royalty you would receive at that price. Too much? Not enough?

You can change the Cover Price number in the YELLOW cell to see how the cover price changes the royalty.

You can also see the 55% bookstore margin based on the cover price you put in.

Section C

This nifty little tool lets you play with the numbers. In the YELLOW cells you can insert the royalty you would like to get, and the required cover price shows up in the green cells. It lets you play “what if?” until you get the cover price/royalty return that works best for you.

Section D

The age-old question: How many books will I have to sell to break even?

Put your investment (the money investment) in the YELLOW cell. The Calculator will take the royalty you have chosen in Section B and tell you approximately how many books you’ll have to sell to break even.

Remember, this is a “guide,” not a “quotation.” (The fine print from our lawyers.)

Costs are based on LightningSource/IngramSpark US pricing for a single print on demand book. Discounts, taxes, shipping, and other costs are not included. Prices, specifications and terms may change without notice and may affect the costs. Costs from KDP/Amazon and other POD suppliers may be different. Calculations are approximate and should always be confirmed with the POD supplier.

Have fun. (Our lawyers did not say that part!) Play “what if” and learn more about pricing your print book. Interested in pricing your e-book? We’ll have that Calculator soon in Hallard Press Gazette. Stay tuned.

Additional Resources:
Book Prices Going Up

2 thoughts on “How to Price Your Print Book for Retail Bookstore Sales”

  1. First thing I’ve disagreed with. Gotta be a first! I think you should price your book by looking at the market.
    Your book is only worth what someone is willing to pay. Just like selling a house, it doesn’t matter what you have in it.

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