Book Royalties and Trim Options when using IngramSpark to Distribute to Bookstores

Every author has a different figure in mind for what she considers an ideal profit per book.  Many factors determine this.


We’re going to use Sue as our example author, and Sue’s marketing strategy uses the following scenario:

  • Sue wants her books sold in bookstores.
  • These bookstores will order through IngramSpark. (This is not Sue’s choice. This is how bookstores want to order books.)
  • Sue wants to make a $5+ royalty per book.
  • Bookstores expect to pay only 45% of the retail price. (This is industry standard, though not set in stone.)

Two additional factors are going to determine if Sue can get a $5 royalty per book.

  1. The print cost of Sue’s book
  2. The price point that the market sets for her book based on its genre and page count.

Sue can control point 1 to some extent. Sue can not control point 2.

Now for the backwards math to figure out what Sue needs to do in order to get her $5+ royalty per book.

  • The market has determined that $20 is a fair price for Sue’s genre and page count of book, so she sets her retail price at $20.
  • The bookstores will buy her book for $9 (45% of the retail price, aka a 55% discount).
  • In order for Sue to make $5+ royalty from selling to that retailer, the print cost of her book has to be under $4.

For a basic book to stay under the $4 print cost per book, (6×9 perfect-bound paperback, black and white interior, no duplex print on the cover, no perforations) Sue’s book can not exceed 210 pages.

Sue’s book designer needs to be aware of these constraints before designing begins. Sue and her designer will work together to not exceed 210 pages.

Each printer is different. A good book designer will help you walk through all of your options for the printer you have chosen.

Here are a list of options that IngramSpark offers and if they will affect the print cost of your book:


Test drive IngramSpark’s calculators here.

A previous article, “Print Costs and Royalty Structures for CreateSpace, IngramSpark, and Nook”, may also interest you.

If you are looking for someone to format your book's interior, design a full cover, create marketing materials, or if you just need a little hand-holding, contact me today for a consultation or a quote.

I also admin the fantastic Self Publishing Support Group on Facebook and am happy to answer your questions there for no charge, and the rest of the group is also super helpful, bringing an array of experience, knowledge, and wisdom to the table.