Calculate Minimum Price?



I asked this question in "Suggest New Ideas" but it looked last the last reply there was in 2016, so I'm asking again here, where there is more activity.



Note: There may be a very easy of doing this that I have not yet discoverd (in other words: I'm an idiot Smiley Happy )


My question is: very often I want to find out what Lulu recommends as a minimum price for a book of a particular page length/type.


For example, I know that a 50 page, 8.5" x 1" book in Premium Black and White on White costs $2.90 to manufacture. However, I also want to know what my customers will be paying. Obviously, I can tweak the price by increasing it or using discounts, but Lulu's minimums are probably more accurately calculated to match the work than my own ideas.


So, for example, for the book I mentioned above, Lulu's recommended minimum price is $6.50. I find this information useful because it helps me to decide whether or not the project is going to be too expensive for customers (meaning I need to decrease the number of pages or change the options).


I really like Lulu's book creation system, but this is one tool that would help me immensely! It gets wearying having to go through the whole process and create test books all the time to find out this kind of information.


Thank you!


  • Here is a very rough guide:


    The retailer and distributor takes 50 % of the cover price of your book and Lulu takes 20 % of the net profit (i.e. list price minus manufacturing costs minus retail / distributor's share). Let's say your book costs $ 3 to manufacture. Your end - or list - price will need to be more than $ 6 because $3 will go to the retailer / distributor and $ 3 to the manufacturer leaving nothing for you and Lulu.


    If you charged $ 7 the figures would look like this:


    List price                                                              7.00

    Manufacturing cost                                            3.00

    Distributor's share                                            3.50        (half of $ 7)


    Net Profit                                                             0.50

    Lulu's share                                                       0.10


    Your earnings                                                    0.40


    You will note that the more you increase your list price, the more has to go to the retailer and distributor. So if you charged $ 20 you would end up with $5.60 but it would be difficult to sell a book at that price. If you charged $ 10 you would end up with $ 1.60

  • Thank you!


    To be honest, selling through retailers takes so much of the revenue and forces the price up so much that I've basically decided just to sell through Lulu. Your answer isn't quite what I was looking for, but it is helpful, so thank you for taking the time to reply. What I would really like is a calculator, where you can input the book specifications (paper, color or black and white, number of pages, etc.) and get an answer for recommended pricing (like they already have for the manufacture cost). But maybe Lulu will set that up one day!


    Thank you again!

  • I know it is none of my business but only selling on Lulu is like shooting yourself in the foot, unless you are incredibly successful at driving traffic to your Lulu storefront. If you are able to drive huge volumes of internet traffic to your storefront perhaps you might like to share with us how you do it. We all would like to sell on Lulu, and make a huge profit, but I think you will be hard pressed to find anyone who makes a lot of sales that way.




    I don't have any great secrets, but the fact is, if a product is too expensive, no one will buy it, and the retail fees are very high (in my opinion).


    I would prefer, of course, to offer my books on Amazon, etc. as well, but it's just a matter of what will actually sell. For example, my products are/will be coloring books and paper doll sets sold as books. If I make paper doll books as I wish to make them (full color, with many pages) I end up earning less than $1 per book (or often, nothing at all) if I don't price them at $20, $25, etc. However, selling them only on Lulu means I can keep the price lower and still earn at least a few dollars per book.


    Even a 32-page full color book has a minimum recommended price of $13.60, and if sold at that price, you get NOTHING from retail. If you bump the price up to $15, you get .58 - and that's not counting taxes and so forth.


    I don't know if I'll be successful with this endeavor - I haven't really tried to build traffic yet, since I have just started. If it fails, it fails. At least I'm not losing money by trying, since Lulu doesn't charge for the creation of books.


    A "huge profit" would be nice, but just a little profit will work for me. This is only one of my money-making projects, and it isn't even the only place I sell my art—it's just the only way I offer it in a printed form.


    I may try to expand to other retailers with the coloring books, since they don't cost nearly as much to make. We'll see!

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