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Pages of gold

CafePress whiffed badly on book pricing. The base fee is five bucks per book for saddle stitch or wirebound, and six bucks per book for perfect bound. On top of that, they’re charging six cents per page, and that’s printed page rather than physical page.

A 250 page paperback would have a base cost of $21. A 32 page comic book would have a base cost of $6.60. (Er. $6.92. I dunno where I went wrong.) Profit margins are optional. I don’t think this’ll take off.

Addendum: it’s not actually so bad for RPG books. Note that you could print that 250 page paperback in 8.5×11 format, retail it at $25, and make four bucks a book. But RPG books are a small market form.

Another addendum: those prices dropped quick. Now your $25 RPG has a profit margin of around 10 bucks.


  1. Yeah, I was really hoping they would find a way to make 4×7 cheaper than 8.5×11 – why even offer the smaller sizes if they’re going to be priced so ludicrously? But this is kind of what I expected.

    It’s still a useful tool, I suppose, for people who have sufficiently valuable content. The RPG book idea is exactly the sort of thing. The one thing I think a lot of people were looking to it for was a way to commit online content to paper, and it’s obviously not that. It only makes sense if the only way the consumer can get the content at all is to buy through CafePress. What it’s definitely not good for is making one-offs for your own personal use, unless you have a serious perfect-bound fetish.

    Three other brief thoughts:

  2. Er. That should be one-page saddle-stitched. Obviously they don’t offer a one-page perfect bound book. I was trying to work my puzzlement at the odd-numbered upper limit on perfect bound pages into that sentence, gave up halfway and didn’t really look at what was left over.

    (But really, what does it mean that they can make a 275 page perfect bound book, but not 276? Can they at least stamp the blank page with “This page left blank for reasons that remain unclear”? Or am I totally misunderstanding what a “page” is?)

    (And for the sake of reference, what I was able to come up with through websurfing shows that the MTI product doesn’t do actual perfect binding; some critics claim the books don’t last as long as true perfect bound books.)

  3. I have no idea where $6.60 came from. $6.92?

  4. Hrm, actually, it looks like the cap on perfect bound might be 600.

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