What Does Print on Demand Cost for Your Book?

What Does Print on Demand Cost for Your Book?

It was rude … very rude awakening … for a new author to discover that there was a ONE DOLLAR difference in the cost of printing on the two main players in the POD world. And not only that … because of the number of pages in his book, he would lose over a dollar a book to boot … meaning that he would be paying the printer money in excess of what the consumer would typically pay in his genre. This was via IngramSpark. So ugh.

It was regrouping time … what do we do? We had several options – ranging from dividing the book into two to increasing the preferred print size and laying the book out again. To bypass POD, to do a regular print run, or a combination as well. A decision was made and we went forward … it was a dollars and cents and sense kind of thing involving the author, the book designer, and me.

As an author, you have options and choices to make with printing. Don’t wait till the last minute. If your book is a monster—over 100,000 words, start exploring yours now. Below is a look at the two portals most authors/publishers use in the print-on-demand world.

Prices have bumped up on IngramSpark. A lot. In November 2021, it bumped up SIX percent for US customers and 3 percent for UK/Australia. And that was on top of a ONE to FOUR percent increase earlier in March 2021.

Starting in March 2022, IngramSpark prices increased for US paperbacks (except premium paperbacks), most UK paperbacks and hardcovers, and most Australian paperbacks. Also, returns fees will move from $2 per unit to $4 per unit. (Ouch.)

IngramSpark didn’t mention how big the price increases will be, so here’s a peek at their new pricing sheet for basic paperback POD printing starting at 200 pages, black and white.


Here’s the link to calculate the cost of your book via POD on IngramSpark: https://myaccount.ingramspark.com/Portal/Tools/ShippingCalculator



The current unit cost for a 200-page, black-and-white POD paperback through Amazon KDP (US) is $3.25.


Here’s the link to calculate the cost of your book via POD on Amazon’s KDP calculator:


How KDP calculates printing cost

Printing costs vary depending on page count and ink type (black ink or color ink). Trim size, bleed settings, and cover finish don’t affect printing cost. Printing cost also depends on which Amazon marketplace (website) your paperback was ordered from. Based on the print options you choose, KDP automatically calculates and displays your printing cost in the Rights & Pricing section of your title setup.

To calculate your paperback’s printing cost, use this formula:

Fixed cost + (page count * per page cost) = printing cost

The charts below summarize printing cost calculations by marketplace where the book is sold.

Black ink paperback:

What to do? Compare always. The quality of Amazon’s KDP has increased significantly since inception. For customer service, you can get live help with KDP … IngramSpark has become a nightmare for many authors. But … and it’s an important “but” … many bookstores put from Ingram for inventory … think book signings.

My suggestion … you should use both. Because of the ghoulish return cost of IngramSpark books that are not sold, I would make my books unreturnable, reduce the discount to 40% on its site to retailers … and make sure you push your buyers to the bookstore that has your book in inventory … and of course, any book signings you set up. Sell them out.

Everyday consumers who are online buyers will most likely be checking out Amazon for stock. You want your book there.


Dr. Judith Briles is a book publishing expert and coach. Often, she must roll up her writing sleeves and become a Book Doctor, juicing up storylines and author words. She empowers authors and works directly with authors who want to be seriously successful and has been writing about and conducting workshops on publishing since the ’80s. Judith is the author of 37 books including Author YOU: Creating and Building Your Author and Book PlatformsSnappy Sassy Salty: Wise Words for Authors and Writers, and How to Create a $1,000,000 Speech. Her personal memoir When God Says NO-Revealing the YES When Adversity and Loss Are Present is a #1 bestseller on Amazon. Collectively, her books have earned over 45 book awards. Judith speaks throughout the year at publishing conferences. 

Throughout the year, she holds Judith Briles Book Unplugged in-person and online experiences: Publishing, Speaking, Marketing, and Social Media. All are two-day intensives limited to a small group of authors who want to be seriously successful. Join Judith live for the “AuthorU-Your Guide to Book Publishing” podcast on the Toginet Radio Network HERE

Follow @AuthorUYOUBooks and @MyBookShepherd on Twitter and do a “Like” at AuthorYOU, and join the Facebook group Book Publishing with The Book Shepherd. If you want to create a book that has no regrets, contact her.

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