A Morning Coffee Non-Videocast
William Saletan: Unclear on the Concept of "Reality" (Why Oh Why Can't We Have a Better Press Corps?)

Economics of Publishing

The marginal cost of printing an extra copy of a book is really cheap:

alg: P&Ls and how books make (or don't) money: part the first: the mass market original complete failure: The [paper, printing, and binding cost]... also includes the cost of printing the cover, so it changes depending on the cover's special effects. Spot gloss, embossing, debossing, foil, print over foil -- it's all special effects and it costs extra. A cover that is printed with an entirely glossy finish does not cost extra. A cover printed with an entirely matte finish does not cost extra. Embossing and foiling type on a cover can cost up to 25 cents extra per copy. For a 320 page book with no effects on the cover, PP&B for 35,000 books costs $19,295. Not included in the PPB is the manufacturing cost -- fixed cost to keep the lights on in the factory, pay the workers, move the machines. This is covered under "typesetting and design" though...

55 cents a book...

More than 90% of the cost of the book is made up of (a) the fixed cost of producing the first copy, and (b) the complicated distributional and informational process that gets it into the hands of somebody who wants it.

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