What Should Things Cost?

March 1997
by Curt Matthews, IPG/Chicago Review Press

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I am going to list here some prices that my publishing company has paid for
various book-related goods and services during the last year or so. We all
worry about being taken to the cleaners when we need to work with outside
suppliers. My hope is that you can match some of these numbers with your own
experience and be reassured that the prices you are paying are fair and
reasonable, or else identify areas where there may be room for you to reduce
your costs. (There is also the possibility that these prices are not as good
as they should be.)
Editorial freelance

proofreader — $12/hr.
copyeditor — $15/hr.
cookbook copyeditor — $16 to 18/hr.
indexer — $2 per book page, provided on disk with hard laser copy
Cover design

no purchased illustration required — $800 to $1,200

purchased illustration or photo — $500 to $800

food shot for cookbook cover with help of food stylist — $2,000 and up
Outside typesetting

for 6 x 9 book page, straight text, provided in PostScript files with laser printout — $6 to $7.25 per page

for 8 1/2 x 11 book page or for complex text — $10 per page and up

The prices cited for the above services come from individuals (located all
over the country) who produce very professional work and have earned a
reputation for reliability. There are certainly less expensive alternatives,
but I believe that the editorial and design quality of any book (especially
those jackets and covers) are the last places to cut any corners.

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