7. Using the Price Calculator

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When you create a book on Createspace, you decide on the price you want to charge for it.  Depending on certain factors like whether the book is B&W or colour, number of pages, trim size, etc, your book will cost more or less to print.  If your book costs more, you get less profit, and vice versa.  It’s therefore important to know how size and colour affect the printing costs BEFORE you complete the editing of your book.

For this exercise, we can use the Createspace pricing calculator.

Go to this webpage.

.. and click the Royalties tab:


If you then scroll down a bit, you can see the calculator:


Essentially, you can enter in the details of your book, and the calculator will tell you how much it will cost to print and your estimated royalty per sale.

Two important things to know are:

  1. Colour printing is MUCH more expensive than B&W, and
  2. The more pages in your book, the more it will cost to print.

OK, those might sound obvious, but we are going to see exactly how much these factors influence book printing costs.

Let’s take an example of a 200 page book, printed in trim size 6” x 9”.  Let’s compare how much the book would cost in colour versus B&W.

We can fill in these details in the pricing calculator, and set an initial price of the book at $9.99 (and click the calculate button).  Let’s try B&W first.

Here is the calculator:


So at Amazon.com, I’d make $2.74 royalty on each sale.  But what if I wanted the book to be colour?  Let’s check that calculator:


Oh dear!  Each book sale would result in a loss of $8.86.  In fact, using the calculator, to make a profit of just 15 cents per sale, I’d need to price the colour book at $25!


.. and I’d still be making a loss at European Amazon stores (which means I cannot sell at this price).

Play around with the book pricing and you’ll see that colour really isn’t feasible for most projects.

OK, colour aside, let’s look at the trim size and how that can affect the pricing of our book.

Let’s consider two books, each with 200 pages, and both B&W.  Let’s make one book trim size 6”x9” and the other 8.5”x 11”.

Here is the 6” x 9”:


.. and here is the 8.5” x 11”:


They are actually the same price, same commission.  So page size does not affect your book printing costs, but it does affect something else.  The larger the trim, the more words you can fit on a page, so the fewer pages in your book.  Let’s take a real example.

My WordPress SEO book contains 138 pages at trim size 8.5” x 11”.

However, at 6” x 9”, the book has 268 pages!

Let’s plug both of those into the calculator:


So at 8.5” x 11” trim size, I’d make $3.49 per sale.

Here is the calculator for the 6” x 9” calculation:


.. and now I only make $1.93 per sale.  That’s almost half!

Hopefully you can see where I am going here.  You need to choose a print size that maximizes your royalties.

Once you have decided on the trim size, make sure your Word Processor is set up to use those dimensions for your document.



I haven’t completed the tutorials on this site.  Instead, I’ve re-written most of them, added a lot of new ones (plus a number of video tutorials), and created a complete “Self-Publishing on Createspace” book that will take you through the entire process of converting your manuscript to Createspace format.  You can buy the book on Amazon Kindle.

Publish on Createspace

I also have my Kindle Publishing book available on Kindle, together with the Self-Publishing on Amazon book that contains both of the first two books.

Kindle Publishingself-publish on amazon

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3 thoughts on “7. Using the Price Calculator”

  1. Thanks once again Dr. Andy. There is much froofraw to take into consideration. I had not run across the calculator in my occasional research.

    You can bet that before I go the CreateSpace route that I’ll run back though all of your tutorials!


  2. valerie morton

    Thanks Andy. Terrific – if a bit depressing – info re royalties. I’m wondering if a book that is half color and half b&w makes a difference to the print costs? Any info hugely appreciated!

    Cheers from Oz


    1. Compared to traditional publishing, royalties are much higher with self-publishing so that is something to celebrate.
      As far as I know, if you have any colour in the book, the price will be calculated as colour. There is no way to have half charged at B&W.

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