General Printing Cost Question-

Da Kine's picture

I'll start with two apologies:
1. I'm certain this topic has been discussed frequently, but I had no luck searching within the forum.
2. My lack of knowledge about this subject makes it virtually impossible for me to be very specific, so I would just like some general estimates/guesses in response to my inadequate question.

I am setting a book using InDesign. My client is undecided about self-publishing or using a publishing company. (My client has several agents who are interested in handling the book.) I need to get a rough estimate of how much it would cost to print a professional quality paperback book in standard format, (about 5"x8"), approximately 300 pages in length, with back and front cover in color. My question involves only printing production costs for 1000 copies. Artwork and typesetting will be provided by yours truly.

I fully realize that my lack of details will result in less-than-happy responses, but all I need is a very rough approximation!

Thanks Much!

Theunis de Jong's picture

A couple of thou', either euros or dollars. Rough enough?
The design itself should come to, well, no more than a few hundred dollars -- an hourly rate is fair if you know your way around InDesign.

Biggest part of the printing costs is setting up and get started; only with more than 300 or 400 copies, time and paper are going to kick in. Binding sheets into real books is mostly a flat fee, though.

Why not ask a quotation from one or more printers in your neighbourhood? They are a friendly lot, and when given the opportunity, they will tell you what to ask next time.

Da Kine's picture

Thanks Theunis de Jong-
Unfortunately, there's not a single printer in my neighborhood that I trust. (Nor are they friendly!)
Any other figures to throw at me, folks?

Chris Keegan's picture

A couple places come to mind you may want to check out:
Lightning Source

kentlew's picture

Only 1000 copies is a pretty short run. Your best bet will probably be digital print-on-demand, as Chris links above.

Another to consider would be BookMobile.

Don McCahill's picture

Actually, book printers do a lot of runs of 1000 and less. Very few books sell in the multi thousands. I find Theunis' price estimate may be a bit low.

A Canadian company that specializes in books (yearbooks, history texts, etc.) is They would be willing to provide a more complete quote.


Theunis de Jong's picture

I find Theunis’ price estimate may be a bit low.

Ah, right. That would come out to a production cost of about $2.00 per 300 page book -- a bit on the low side. I'd change that to an estimate of $5 to $8 per book, retailing for something inbetween $50 and $80.

I don't think a 1,000 copy run can be done with Printing-on-Demand for that price.

bowerbird's picture

chris said:
> A couple places come to mind you may want to check out:
> Lulu
> Lightning Source

um, lightning source, yes. lulu, no. i love lulu, but
you use lulu for one-offs, not a run of 1000 copies.

you should also consider _distribution_. unless you
actually _want_ to handle the distribution, or unless
all the books are going to just a handful of locations,
it might be good to go with a printer (like lightning,
or createspace) which is willing to handle fulfillment.


Da Kine's picture

Thanks One and All-
Good information, as usual!
Sorry about being slow to respond... I was off doing something nefarious for a couple of weeks!

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