March 7, 2012

Price Conscience

I've always been intrigued by those little books that they display at the checkout at grocery stores: “How To Train Your Pug”, “101 Things To Do With A Shoelace”. They fill a very special niche and they do it beautifully. They typically cover a single, well-focussed topic and they cover it well enough to give you what you need without any extra baggage. They're priced ridiculously low, and they fit in your pocket. So what about a wine book that fit this model?

Now, I knew I wouldn't be able to produce a book that sold for $3.99, but perhaps $10 was possible. So that became my target. It didn’t take many phone calls to find out that this was going to be a challenge. To have a book printed economically by off-set printing required a run of 3000 to 5000 copies. “Print On Demand” was just beginning to appear then, and prices hovered around the $15 mark. Ouch. So what other options were available?

Here’s my analysis: When I was in retail, our selling price was roughly twice the wholesale price. We needed to double our money to make a living. So if I were to sell at wholesale, I also should expect to double my money. Pricing the book at $10 meant I’d have to be able to print it for no more than $2.50. I could print it myself on my laser printer, maybe have the cover done a Staples. But what about folding and stapling. Not very elegant and quite a bit of fussy handling. But the idea had some merit. After few more phone calls, I discovered a local graphic designer who frequently did just the type of job I needed. Moreover, she had partnered with a printer and could do the entire job for me. And the price would come in under my $2.50 ceiling. Nor would I have to order a ton of books to get that price. Good news. It seemed like the best way to get my project off the ground at a price I could afford, which at the time was pretty close to nothing.

So now I was ready to get my manuscript polished and ready for printing.
- rb

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