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Why are Your Paperbacks So Expensive?

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Why are paperback book prices so high, even for self-published novels? It's a legitimate question, and I wanted to find the answer, so I went to Amazon and CreatSpace and started reading.

If you want to self-publish your novel into a standard (5-inch by 8-inch trim size), black-ink paperback, Amazon charges $0.012 per page. For example, Amazon's cost calculation for printing a 300-page, black-ink paperback sold on Amazon US is:

     $0.85 (Fixed Cost) + (300 (Page Count) * $0.012 (Per Page Cost)) = $4.45 (Printing Cost).

Your paperback's minimum list price is based on your printing cost (so your royalties cover the cost to print your book). To calculate your minimum list price, Amazon divides your printing cost by the royalty rate (60%):

     Printing Cost / 60% (Royalty Rate) = Minimum List Price

For example, a 300-page black-ink paperback sold in the US is $4.45 (Printing Cost) / 60% (Royalty Rate) = $7.42 (Minimum List Price). To complicate matters, Amazon also has a lowe…