Idle musings – small softcover print runs

grappling-ks-teaserJust for fun, I asked my usual printer of choice for a quote for a short book, in 6×9 format. Softcover, 12-point matte cover. 100# matte paper on the inside. 56 pages.

What does that mean? Well, if my current layout of Grappling Heresy runs to about 520 words per page, it will come in in letter format at approximately 34 pages, plus end sheets.

In a 6×9 format, density would fall to about 300 words per page, pushing it to 58 pages. Layout tricks can be employed to boost average words per page to 312, which will give pricing advantages for offset printing.

Anyway, I got quotes. And compared them to PrintNinja and DTRPG.

 Quantity   Thomson-Shore   Print Ninja   DTRPG
            250  $                   13.28  $           6.36  $       5.08
            500  $                     7.18  $           3.40  $       5.08
         1,000  $                     4.12  $           1.86  $       5.08
         1,500  $                     3.10  $           1.39  $       5.08


Some high-level observations.

Thomson-Shore will deliver the entire thing from their office in Detroit in 3-4 weeks. PrintNinja prints in China (thus the cost break), and I’ve heard tell that they will also print in 3-4 weeks, but you are a bit at the mercy of shipping times. 6-12 weeks not being crazy. So if you can wait – or more importantly, your customers/backers can wait – up to 4 months for a print copy, you can get books very, very inexpensively.

But check out DTRPG. For this size book, in quantities of 250-300 copies, it’s probably just better to go through DTRPG, or even consider an at-cost coupon for it. You get good pricing, local shipping, and no hassles.

For T-S, you’re paying for really good help and fast delivery. For PrintNinja, the prices are about 45% of Thomson-Shore, but there is no small amount of uncertainty over delivery time. It’s also easy to imagine that for a book like this, you could pay rather ridiculous shipping fees to the UK/EU or AUS/NZ to the tune of 10x or more the cost of the book.

Anyway, my plans do not include a print run for Grappling Heresy . . . though that could change if I get enough backers and enough interest. Those DTRPG prices are pretty attractive, and I’d have a hard time justifying fulfillment other than POD-coupon for this kind of book. I suppose there could be a stretch goal for the format. Would be $1,000-1500 higher than the current maximum funding level, I suspect. Another bunch of money for layout and the cover. The art could probably be re-scaled and re-used. Indexing would probably re-flow naturally, but pagination would be different. Would need a new ISBN and bar code.


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