INCREASED PRINTING PRICES
On June 20, 2023, the cost of printing a book at KDP will increase, which will in turn lower the royalties for paperback (and hardcover) books.
- If your book is taller than 9 inches high or wider than 6.12 inches wide, the effect is significant. It will cost about half a penny per page extra (plus about 15 cents on top of that). For example, if a book has 200 pages, you’re looking at $1.15 added to the printing cost, effectively reducing your royalty by $1.15.
- If your book is 9 inches high or less and is also 6.12 inches wide or less, the effect is minimal (about 15 cents). The popular 6×9 size just gets a 15 surcharge.
Check out the pricing tables on the KDP help pages. They will also have a calculator coming that will compare new and old prices. In the meantime, if you pull up the pricing page for your book, it will show you both the current and future prices.
Find out what the new royalties will be for your books. You may want to consider adjusting the list prices, especially if the new royalty is zero or very small.
On your KDP Bookshelf, there is a link available to update all of your book prices at once to preserve your current royalty, but I recommend individually changing the prices.
If you plan to change your list price, I recommend doing it soon. For one, you will see an increased royalty for any copies printed before June 20, 2023. For another, you can get ahead of the rush. There may be lengthy delays as the deadline approaches.
We were perhaps fortunate that the prices didn’t increase sooner. I first published in 2008 (it was with CreateSpace then) and the list prices and royalties haven’t changed in the US since I first published (although there have been changes in other countries). That’s 15 years of steady royalties, in spite of inflation. This past year, inflation has been pretty significant globally, so it’s no surprise that the increased costs have finally reached KDP. These price increases could have conceivably been implemented last summer when inflation first turned sky-high.
The main difficulty I see is the new concept of a printing charge for “oversize” books. Imagine a 600 page 7×10 book now adding $3.15 more to the printing cost. That seems to be a pretty steep price change for oversized books with a high page count. (Or maybe it was just way too cheap in the first place?) But maybe larger books tend to be nonfiction technical or artistic books that can command higher prices (or journals; maybe KDP is partly doing this to discourage certain kinds of books from being made print-on-demand).
I don’t think it’s the size of the paper itself that is important. I think it’s the additional ink needed to print books with larger trim sizes. Perhaps they should measure how much ink is used and use that to determine the prices (though that would really kill the prices for some art books).
Another point to consider is that other publishers have also had to deal with rising inflation. So although KDP is just now raising their list prices, other authors’ and publishers are also dealing with inflationary pressures. It’s not like KDP’s prices are going up while the rest of the industry is holding steady. Everything is trending upward.
It is what it is, and unless you think you can fight it, we need to deal with it. Find out what your new royalty is and decide whether or not to raise your list price in part to help compensate. Raising the price may deter sales to some extent in some cases, but there is some degree of price elasticity where it may not make much difference, especially if the book is reasonably priced to begin with.
Good luck with your books,
Chris McMullen, author of the Improve Your Math Fluency series of workbooks