Why are the books so expensive?

I was thinking about publishing a book here, but when I entered the information in the Book Cost Calculator, I was surprised to see such high prices. I may be just misunderstanding something (I hope so), but I'm not sure. For an example...

 

6x9 B&W, Dust Jacket Hardcover

400 pages

Retail Royalty:   $1.00
Lulu Fee:   $0.25
Manufacturing cost per unit:   $18.00
Retail Markup:   $19.25
Total Retail Price:   $38.50

$38.50! Hardcover Dust Jacket books by famous authors with over 500 pages cost half that! A Casewrap Hardcover is $2.00 cheaper that the price mentioned.

 

6x9 B&W, Perfect Bound

400 pages

Retail Royalty:   $1.00
Lulu Fee:   $0.25
Manufacturing cost per unit:   $9.50
Retail Markup:   $10.75
Total Retail Price:   $21.50

Again, whoa! I've bought hardcover books with shipping added cheaper than that.

 

So my question is, why are they so expensive? There's no way my books would sell at that price.

Another question. I've looked at other sites, and some of the royalties are a lot higher than here. It looks like you can't do more than $1.00 without rocketing the price up even more. Other places I've seen very high royalties, like $7.00 for a $20.00 book (and that's with the fees already subtracted, of course). Also, they list the prices much cheaper (what you normally see in stores) While these places are harder to figure out, require you to do more work, and usually cost $300 - $3,000 to use, I don't know how the royalties can be that high and the prices be that low. Am I just completely missing something?

I hope I simply misunderstood the whole thing, because lulu is great and easy to use, but the prices are just too much so it wouldn't be worth it.


Thanks.

Comments

  • Print on demand seems to work differently than major publishers.  Here, Lulu has no idea if you will buy/sell 1 copy or 10,000.  Economies of scale are hard to retroactively refund I think.  Lulu will make a profit on your 1st copy as well as your last.

    As well Lulu caters to many who publish for their own uses.  Their business model seems to be to make money off of the author, not what we as authors view as our customers.

    You will see less expensive print on demand services, but few seem to have the breadth of printing options.

    I don't know the printing and cost end of things, but I Lulu has more color options and binding options than CreateSpace for example.

    I make my decision based on what binding and color options I need.

    My two cents.

  • POD are not expensive as such.
    Every book is printed as a single item unlike conventional printing where many thousands of books are printed at a time using a totally different technology.
    POD does not provide an opportunity for you to sell at prices as books printed in tens or hundreds of thousands. Don't expect to sell large numbers or make a fortune with any POD or Vanity publisher.
  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius

    The benefits of Print On Demand publishing is that a book is only created when one is sold (and we as the creators do not even have the expense of that, the buyer pays it). So there's no stock to buy (which you may never sell) transport is cut to a minimum (printed as close to the order address as possible. No moving containers full of stock to central distribution points around the world and then paying to store them).

    The disadvantage is > creating just 1 hard copy is slow and costly. In fact I doubt that 'mass' becomes mass-printing, and therefore on faster machines, and cheaper per unit, until a substantial number of books are ordered, from anywhere.

    So, what would you rather have? The cost of 1 book being $10 to make, or having to buy 1000 to get the price down to $2 per book? A stock of 1000 you may never shift? That's actually the old 'vanity' publishing way. "We will create your book for you for £5,000, and send you 500 to sell!! (stack on your loft)."

    With Lulu you also get the tools to create your book and ISBNs that get you listed on famous retail sites >> for free.

    As to 'royalties'. See how much per sale you would get if your book is taken up by some great publishing house.

    Simply >> just do not go for such an expensive option as hardbacked with dustcover in full colour. Try a paperbacked B&W one first  Smiley Happy

  • Hello Magnus

    You should keep in mind that those are the retail price splits. The revenue earned from selling on Lulu.com is quite a bit higher. Have a look at this article for more information: How Retail Prices are Determined

    If your book does not include an ISBN, you have much greater flexibility in your pricing.

  • My  471-page soft-cover new book at lulu has been set -- by lulu -- at $24.99.  I will have to remove it if that's to be the price.  How do I ask lulu to set it lower?  Most large-publisher paperbacks are cheaper than that.  -- martha stephens at lulu

  • Most large-publisher paperbacks hve the advantage of mass production. Your book will be printed one at a time as it gets ordered and so is more expensive.

  • Judging by that cost price it must be colour, yes? Does it have to be?


  • Ken Anderson wrote:
    POD are not expensive as such.
    Every book is printed as a single item unlike conventional printing where many thousands of books are printed at a time using a totally different technology.
    POD does not provide an opportunity for you to sell at prices as books printed in tens or hundreds of thousands. Don't expect to sell large numbers or make a fortune with any POD or Vanity publisher.

    However...

     

    If you are selling thousands or tens of Thousands, Lulu does have some options to discount books in bulk.

  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius

    Lulu's volume discount calculator only goes up to 1200 and the discounts even at that level do not amount to much compared to having 10000s printed by other than POD.

  • The price is clearly not colour. Sadly some are ignoring the facts, other places mentioned are also P.O.D. but are vastly cheaper. Lulu is much more expensive and I don't see any justification for it. I doubt I'll use Lulu again, given a B&W novel at 344 pages can't sell for less than A$21. :-(
  • If you read the small print at most other places the ISBNs and Distribution are not free, in fact some don't even offer those options.

  • There is a minimum price that you can't go below but you yourself set the price of the book NOT lulu. 

  • It can sell for less than that but you will just be earning less per book and you have to be ok with that.

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