Cost of Publishing a Book

While traditional publishing removes most of the author’s worries around costs and effort to get a book published, self-publishing authors must take care of most of the things themselves. Depending on the services they choose, the costs of publishing a book can be as low as a few hundred dollars or well above $10,000.

In this report, we’ll look at all the individual steps in the book-publishing process and how much authors should or need to spend on each of those to get their book ready for publishing.

Cost of publishing fiction books

In general, fiction books are usually cheaper to publish as they require fewer necessary steps along the way, such as fact-checking and indexing. However, some things still demand consideration, such as editing the book, proofreading it, designing the cover, formatting, and creating the layout.

In theory, authors can do all these things themselves or use software to complete the task. While this option is much cheaper than hiring professionals to do them, authors need to remember the importance of having the best possible output before getting their book into a printing machine.

If they decide to hire professionals to help with pre-publishing steps, for a 300-page fiction book, authors will need to spend:

  • Between $1,080 and $1,714 for services of copy editor and
  • $2,300 to $3,750 in order to hire a developmental editor.
  • For proofreading, the average rate for a 300-page fiction book is between $620 and $955.
  • Creating a good cover design, formatting, and layout for print fiction books will cost between $2,300 and $3,750.
  • For fiction ebooks, these things will cost less, usually between $1,380 and $2,143.
  • Additionally, if authors decide to hire a ghostwriter, their services will be charged between $5,100 and $18,000 for a fiction book 300 pages long.
  • To summarize, if authors decide to hire professional editors and designers to help with pre-publishing steps, they will need to spend between $6,300 and $10,169 for a 300-page print book.
  • For an ebook, 300 pages will cost between $5,380 and $8,562.
  • If authors want to hire ghostwriters as well, assuming that ghostwriters will work on the full length of the book, pre-publishing costs can range between $11,400 and $28,169 for a print book and between $10,480 and $26,562 for an ebook.
Tasks for publishing a fiction bookLowest estimateHighest estimate
Developmental editing$2,300$3,750
Ghostwriting full-length$5,100$18,000
Design/layout/formatting (print)$2,300$3,750
Design/layout/formatting (electronic)$1,380$2,143
Total expense for a print book (without ghostwriting)$6,300$10,169
Total expense for ebook (without ghostwriting)$5,380$8,562
Total expense for print book (full-length ghostwriter included)$11,400$28,169
Total expense for ebook (full-length ghostwriter included)$10,480$26,562

Cost of publishing nonfiction books

Nonfiction books are usually more expensive to publish compared to fiction books. This is mostly due to the cost specific for nonfiction only, such as indexing and fact-checking in most of cases. Sometimes, some legal rights and permissions are required as well, and authors can pay someone to check if that’s the case.

For a typical 300-page book of nonfiction, authors can expect to pay for the following professional services:

  • For copyediting, professional services for a 300-page nonfiction book usually cost between $2,050 and $3,375.
  • When it comes to developmental editing, a professional developmental editor for nonfiction will cost $2,550 to $4,500.
  • Proofreading services for nonfiction, if authors decide to hire a professional, should cost between $1,080 and $1,714 for a 300-page book.
  • For print nonfiction books, professional book design, formatting, and layout will cost authors between $2,300 and $3,750.
  • For ebooks, this expense is a bit lower, usually between $1,380 and $2,143 for 300 pages.
  • Indexing of a book, usually required with nonfiction, will range between $1,080 and $1,714 for 300 pages.
  • Checking if legal permissions and rights are required will cost between $552 and $714 for 300 nonfiction pages.
  • If authors want to hire a ghostwriter for a full length of a book for nonfiction, these services can cost anywhere between $6,100 and $21,000.
  • Overall, the cost of publishing a nonfiction book, if authors decide to hire professionals for editing, formatting, layout, design, proofreading, indexing, and permissions-checking, can range between $9,612 and $15,768 for print books.
  • For ebooks, if all the above-mentioned services are used, authors can expect to spend anywhere between $8,692 and $14,161 for 300 pages of nonfiction.
Tasks for publishing a nonfiction bookLowest estimateHighest estimate
Total expense for a print book (without ghostwriting)$2,050$3,375
Developmental editing$2,550$4,500
Ghostwriting full-length$6,100$21,000
Design/layout/formatting (print)$2,300$3,750
Design/layout/formatting (electronic)$1,380$2,143
Total expense for a print book (full-length ghostwriter included)$9,612$15,768
Total expense for ebook (without ghostwriting)$8,692$14,161
Total expense for print book (full-length ghostwriter included)$15,712$36,768
Total expense for ebook (full-length ghostwriter included)$14,792$35,161

How much does it cost to print a book?

The cost of printing a book can vary greatly depending on the format size, binding type, color choice, as well as the quantity of books printed.

  • On average, a 250-page book printed in paperback format and in black and white can cost anywhere between $3 and $8 per copy, including shipping costs.
  • This means that authors who decide to print their own books can expect to pay anywhere between $3,000 and $8,000 for printing 1,000 copies of a 250-page book.
  • Hardcovers are usually 2-3 times more expensive compared to paperbacks.
  • Printing in color is also 2-3 more expensive compared to black and white printing.
  • Delivery usually adds ~10% on top of the printing cost.
  • Printing larger quantities of copies can be 30%-50% cheaper compared to smaller quantities.