News room: How to price your print book

How to price your print book by Sarah Juckes

It’s one of our all-time most popular questions on CompletelyNovel – ‘what retail price is best for my book?’ And it’s a good question to ask – too high and you risk putting readers off. Too low, and you could end up devaluing your book.

So, how can you ensure you’re pricing your book in that retail ‘sweet spot’? Here are some of the key things you need to think about.

Lingo buster:

  • ‘RRP’ – Recommended retail price. The price bookshops will be selling your book at and will most probably be on your back cover.
  • ‘Production cost’ – The cost to print and bind the book (in terms of paper, binding and manufacture)
  • ‘Demy’ – A popular paperback fiction book size

Consider the cost of production, commission and discounts

Production cost

Starting with the basics – find out how much your print book costs to produce. This’ll have some bearing on your retail price, as you won’t be able to price a book at £1.99/$2.99 if your book costs £3.00/$4.50 to produce in the first place (of course).


Let’s take a CompletelyNovel book as an example. As a 100 page Demy book, it costs £1.78/$1.78 to produce.

Commission cost

If you’re not using CompletelyNovel to produce your print book, the chances are that you’ll also need to factor in your publisher’s commission into the price, too. This can be anywhere between 30%-60% of your retail price. If you’re on CompletelyNovel though, you can skip this bit as we don’t take any commission from your book sales (find out why, here).


In this example using a CompletelyNovel book, we can see the publisher’s commission is a reassuring zero.

Bookseller discount

You will need to factor in a Bookseller discount. Booksellers are businesses too, so they’ll want an incentive to sell your books. On CompletelyNovel, this is set to 30% of the retail price. On other platforms, this might be anywhere up to 60%, so make sure you’re clear on this before setting your price, so you know exactly what you stand to make from each book.


So for our 100 page book, we can see that selling it at £2.99/$2.99 will mean a retailer discount of £0.91/$0.92 per book, leaving a royalty of £0.30/$0.30 for the author.

But is £2.99/$2.99 the best price for this book? To find out, we’re going to need to do a bit of research.

How much do books that are similar to yours cost?

How much a reader expects to pay for a book is closely tied into genre or subject. An academic might be used to paying £14.99/$19.99 and above for a book, but an avid fiction reader would have to think long and hard about investing in a book that essentially costs the same as two regular paperbacks.

So the first thing we are going to do, is head over to your local bookshop, library or favourite online retailer to check out the books that are similar in format, size and subject to yours.

Example 1:

Let’s say our 100 page CompletelyNovel book is a book for children aged between 9-11. Similar books to this include:

So a good retail price for our example title would be £5.99/$8.99.

Example 2:

But what if our 100 page example was actually a self-help, non-fiction book? Similar titles to this are going for a little more:

A good retail price for a book similar to these could be £9.99/$15.99.

Rule of thumb: price your book at the lower end of the prices set by your competitors – about £1/$1 less. Remember – you want to encourage your readers to take a gamble on an unknown author, without devaluing your hard work.

Using the .99

You might have noticed that most books are priced £x.99/$x.99 rather than non-standard prices such as £x.23/$x.25. It’s best to stick to this convention, unless you have a particular reason not to.

Converting into other currencies

Try to make the price of your book roughly the same value in every currency. To do this, use a currency converter such as this one, and round to the nearest ‘.99’.


A book that retails at £7.99 in GBP might be:

  • $11.99 USD
  • €10.99 Euro
  • $15.99 Canadian Dollars
  • $16.99 Australian Dollars

(Prices listed here were right at the time of publishing, but it’s best to double-check the exchange rates before you hit the publish button.)

How are you planning to sell your book?

Are you going to be sending your readers to online and physical bookshops, or do you plan on selling most of your books face-to-face, or via your own website?

If you’re going down the retailer route, then pricing your book according to what your competitors are doing is a great place to start. If you’re selling your books directly to your customers however, you might want to think creatively about how your RRP could help you sell books.


Let’s say the author of our 100 page book has big plans to sell copies to clients during business workshops she runs. One possible option for her is to set a retail price of £14.99/$22.99 for her book, knowing that this is a little expensive and might well stop her being an Amazon bestseller. However, when it comes to her events, she knows that she can comfortably offer her customers a ‘special event offer’ of £5/$8 off the cost of her book – taking her selling price to £9.99/$14.99. In this situation, the customer might be more likely to buy her book (as who doesn’t love a bargain?!) and our author maintains an appropriate royalty from her book sale.

Hopefully some of these questions and directions are a good start in discovering what your book is worth in today’s market. So now it’s over to you. In your experience, what works and doesn’t work when pricing a print book? Let us know below.

Learn more basics of book creation:

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Written by
Sarah Juckes
Published on
Pricing and Book creation