Do Your Homework

May 1999
by Jan Nathan, PMA

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Every week we receive multiple calls about similar problems facing new publishers. So many of these problems could have been avoided if planning had taken place prior to the book coming into print.One common happenstance is the mispricing of a book. Too many publishers arbitrarily place a price on their book “just because.” No homework, no scientific figuring. Some actually have read some books about publishing and then use the information included in these books to price their title. What they fail to understand is that this is just a rule of thumb. Marking a title up 8X manufacturing cost does not compute if you have not manufactured your book properly and have ended up paying $4 per unit for a book that should cost out at $1 per unit. Using the 8X rule in the first circumstance would place the title at $32 (and, yes, we have seen books at that price that should have been at $11.95).When asked if the publisher has ever visited a bookstore to see what the price range is for books in their genre, many state, “No.” Others say, “Yes, and I’ve priced mine at the top of the range.” When asked why they assume they can get top dollar, the typical reply is, “Because it’s better than anything else out there.” Well, you’d better think it is better than anything else out there or you shouldn’t publish, but you should also be realistic and understand that you are entering a market normally as an unknown, and others may not perceive your title to be the “best on the market.” Pricing a bo…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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