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Chapter 11 - Costs and Prices

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 December 2010

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Summary

I always used to think that publishers had to be devilish intelligent fellows, loaded down with the grey matter; but I've got their number now. All a publisher has to do is to write cheques at intervals, while a lot of deserving and industrious chappies rally round and do the real work.

Bertie Wooster, in P. G. Wodehouse, Carry On, Jeeves

One of the questions publishers are asked often is “Why are books so expensive?” The answer is not simple: It involves the interacting elements of production costs and overhead, pricing and discount policies, and markets. This chapter presents a simplified explanation of these topics that should console authors and book buyers – or at least quell their suspicions. Another question that comes up often is “Are books doomed to extinction?” For the scholarly monograph, this question is as much economic as cultural. In this chapter, we look at the financial implications of publishing without paper and ink. In the final chapter, we will explore the creative possibilities of digital publishing.

Costs

In publishing a book, a publisher incurs direct costs and indirect costs. Direct costs are those clearly attributable to publication of a specific title, such as the cost of having the book typeset.

Indirect costs are overhead items, including rent, utilities, salaries, and supplies. They are the publisher's general operating costs: costs that must be incurred to publish any books at all but that cannot readily be assigned to a particular title in a way that is not arbitrary.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2009

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References

Bailey, Jr. Herbert S., The Art and Science of Book Publishing (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1970)Google Scholar
Dessauer, John's Book Publishing: A Basic Introduction (New York: Continuum, 1989)Google Scholar

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  • Costs and Prices
  • Beth Luey
  • Book: Handbook for Academic Authors
  • Online publication: 02 December 2010
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511807893.016
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  • Costs and Prices
  • Beth Luey
  • Book: Handbook for Academic Authors
  • Online publication: 02 December 2010
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511807893.016
Available formats
×

Send book to Google Drive

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

  • Costs and Prices
  • Beth Luey
  • Book: Handbook for Academic Authors
  • Online publication: 02 December 2010
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511807893.016
Available formats
×