Thoughts on publishing, self-publishing and books in general

Packages can be deceptive

January 28, 2015 No Comments Other Matters

Those familiar with the way CinnamonTeal Publishing operates know that it is loathe to offer self-publishing packages. We have always believed that packages skew the transaction in favour of the seller often leaving the buyer with products or services that he or she has no need for. With menu-based services, there is more transparency as the buyer knows what he or she is paying for.

We therefore offer services a la carte, or off the menu. And we believe that we are still cheaper.

For instance, consider a customer who walks in with a manuscript of 100 pages (of text with no images or graphical elements such as tables). We will assume 400 words to a page i.e. a total of 40,000 words.

a. Since we insist on a round of copy-editing, for which we charge Rs. 85 per page, the cost of editing to the customer = 85 x 100 = Rs. 8,500/-

b. The cover for the book is then designed at a cost of Rs. 5000/-

c. Assuming the manuscript of 100 pages is equivalent to 160 pages in a 5.83 x 8.27″ (A5) format, page design at the rate of Rs. 25 per page will cost = 160 x 25 = Rs. 4000/-

d. Printing one copy will cost 160x.7 + 65 = Rs. 177/-. Five copies for submission to the National Libraries (as required by ISBN allocation guidelines) will cost Rs. 885/-

Printing 100 copies will cost Rs. 6000/-

The total cost of publishing and printing 100 copies will therefore be 24,385/-. We charge for shipping the printed books too, so assume a final cost of Rs. 25,000/-

At this point, your book is published. In addition, if the service is requested, we charge Rs. 2000/- for pan-India online distribution and Rs. 6000/- for international distribution. That would total to Rs. 8000/- for both. Add it to the earlier costs and the total cost adds up to Rs. 33,000/-

To see how these costs compared with the competition, we compared it to the prices of various packages on offer. Because many self-publishing service providers in India offer packages that offer some services and do not offer some others, we compared this final cost to packages that provided the following features:

a. Copy-editing
b. Cover design
c. Page design
d. ISBN allocation
e. Free copies (at least 5 so the author can submit the copies mandated by the ISBN guidelines if the service provider didn’t)
f. Pan-India online distribution
g. International online-distribution

Since these services were alone enough to get the book out the door and in the hands of people, we ignored the packages that did not include these services, even if they were cheaper and included other bells and whistles.

So here is what we found:

Provider Package Name Cost
NP Silver (since no package included editing, we chose the cheapest one) 24,990 + 20,000 (for editing)
= Rs. 44,990/-
PP Jade (since no package included editing, we chose the one that offered 5 free copies) 69,950 + Rs.1.11 per word x 40000 (for editing)
= Rs. 113,950/-
BS Basic (since no package included editing, we chose the cheapest one) 24,990 + Rs.1 per word x 40000 (for editing)
= Rs. 64,990/-
PP Silver (since no package included editing, we chose the one that provided free copies. None offer int’l distribution) 37,990 + Rs. 50 (per page) x 100 (for editing)
= Rs. 42,990/-

As indicated above, it became rather difficult to compare packages especially since most service providers do not place much emphasis on the need to have an edited book. However, we do and we feel that the buyer deserves value for money and an edited book provides such value. Nonetheless, we remain committed to providing services a la carte and let the customer choose.


Image: Marc Falardeau

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