How to Price Your Cookbook (2024)

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Learning how to price your cookbook is as much an art as a science. It is a very important decision that can lead to a lot of stress. There's always the trade off between setting the price too high and losing sales and setting it too low and leaving money on the table. There's no hard and fast rules to a successfully priced cookbook but there are several considerations you need to take into account.

Tracking the effects of book pricing on sales, especially on Amazon, is very hard and convoluted. There are people that try to figure out ideal Amazon pricing for a living and I just don't have the time or inclination to compete with them. I'd rather spend my time cooking and writing books. If the information below feels overwhelming, don't worry, it's that way for everyone. I've found pricing my Monetizing books around the average price for a book in my genre works good enough for me.

Your Cookbook Goals

The pricing you pick will have a lot to do with the goals of your cookbook. Viral cookbooks will normally be priced lower than Monetizing or Marketing cookbooks to maximize their sales. Monetizing cookbooks will try to maximize the total revenue generated, or sales x royalties. Marketing cookbooks don't always fall one direction or another, it's highly dependent on the cost incurred in developing them.

Your Cookbook Format

There are very different pricing models for ebooks vs print books.

Print Books

The list price for print cookbooks typically runs anywhere from $15 to $30 for popular cookbooks and $25 to $50 for gourmet or restaurant cookbooks. Amazon usually discounts these by 30% to 50%. It is usually ideal for most Monetizing or Marketing books to fall somewhere in this range. Amazon may discount your books as well, though it's normally more like 10% to 20%. Remember, if Amazon discounts your book you still get paid a royalty on the list price, not the discounted price.

Kindle Books

Kindle books normally range from $0.99 to $14.99 and are usually not discounted. One quirk of Kindle royalties is that you only get a 70% royalty if the book is priced between $2.99 and $9.99. Otherwise your royalty is 35%.

So while you might be tempted to sell your Kindle book at $15.99 instead of $9.99, you would only make $5.6 per book sold at $15.99 instead of $7 per book selling at $9.99. So you would have to sell more books at the higher price to come out ahead.

The same is true at the bottom of the scale. Every book sold at $0.99 will earn you $0.35, but a book sold at $2.99 will earn you $2.10. It might be tempting to price your book at a dollar and try to sell more copies but you will have to sell 6 times as much to break even. For some books, especially Viral ones, this might be a trade off worth making.

Authors with Viral cookbooks in the Kindle format can also look at giving their books away for free. While it doesn't bring in any more money it arguably can lead to wider distribution.

General Perception

It can be tempting to try and price your cookbook as low as you can while still making a decent profit. This is especially true for people who view their own work as less valuable than the work of "professionals". However, it is important to remember that lower-priced things tend to be viewed as less valuable and less well done.

If you were looking for somewhere to eat and a random restaurant had a full filet mignon dinner for only $5 would you eat there? Or would you be worried that there would have to be something wrong because otherwise they'd never charge that little for high quality steak? You want to avoid that situation with your book.

If all your competitors are priced at $40 and your book is only $10 then potential readers might start to worry that something is wrong with your book and that's why you are selling it so cheaply.

On the flip side, pricing your book higher, assuming it is a high quality book, will make people perceive it as being of higher quality than your competition. This can also be important if you are publishing a Marketing book. Sales might not matter as much as the perception of your name with high-quality books.

You can also price it in the middle, removing price as a factor in the reader's purchasing decision. For many Monetizing books this is a sound strategy.

Remember that a higher price doesn't always lead to less sales. Recently I raised the price of my Whipping Siphon book by $4, from $14.95 to $18.95 and sales actually increased.

Book Printing Costs

Another large factor to consider when pricing your book is how much each book sold costs you. For print books sold through Amazon you are charged for the printing, handling, selling, and any wholesale discount if it's not through CreateSpace. A book sold on Amazon and printed through CreateSpace takes about 40% off the top, then about $1 per 100 pages in the book, plus an extra $1.

A 200 page book sold for $10 will earn you only $2.75. The same book sold for $20 earns you $8.75, over triple the royalty. With the lower price you have to sell over 3 times as many copies to come out ahead. You can find out more information about CreateSpace pricing here and their royalty calculator.

If you publish through CreateSpace there are also minimum amounts you need to charge based on the size of your book. If you are trying to produce a very inexpensive book this may affect you.

For non-CreateSpace books you have to pay a printing cost and a "wholesalers discount". This discount is usually 30% to 55%.

For Kindle books there are delivery costs. These are about $0.15/MB of book size.

More Sales Lead to a Higher Amazon Sales Rank

Another wrinkle in the pricing decision is the Amazon Sales Rank. Higher sales lead to a higher sales rank which leads to more promotion in different Amazon categories. This higher placement potentially leads to more sales. This can be especially effective during your cookbook launch where the lower price can vault you up the ranks, keeping it relevant for a longer time.

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  • Previous Section
  • Design Cookbook
  • Cookbook Design and Formatting Guidelines
  • Choosing A Great Cookbook Title
  • How to Design a Cookbook Cover
  • What Fonts to Use in Your Cookbook
  • Cookbook Front Matter
  • Cookbook Back Matter
  • In-Book Marketing
  • How to Design an eBook
  • How to Create an ePub File
  • Previewing and Testing eBooks
  • Finding Outside Design Help
  • Current Section
  • Publish Cookbook
  • How to Price Your Cookbook
  • How to Write a Selling Book Description
  • Determining Your Amazon Categories
  • Choosing Publishing Keywords
  • How to Publish on Amazon With CreateSpace
  • How to Publish an eBook
  • How to Publish On the Kindle
  • How to Publish on the Nook
  • How to Publish on iTunes
  • How to Publish Your Book Through Smashwords
  • How to Create and Sell a PDF on Your Blog
  • Next Section
  • Wholesaling Cookbook
  • Methods of Cookbook Wholesaling
  • Where to Wholesale Your Cookbook
  • Developing a Wholesaling Line Sheet

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How to Price Your Cookbook (5)

How to Price Your Cookbook (2024)


How much should I sell my cookbook for? ›

The list price for print cookbooks typically runs anywhere from $15 to $30 for popular cookbooks and $25 to $50 for gourmet or restaurant cookbooks. Amazon usually discounts these by 30% to 50%. It is usually ideal for most Monetizing or Marketing books to fall somewhere in this range.

What is the average cookbook sales? ›

Sales fluctuate a little year to year, but they're generally stable — around 20 million or so. In the first year of the pandemic, cookbook sales spiked about 16%.

How do you land a cookbook deal? ›

The Cookbook Publishing Process
  1. Come up with a cookbook idea.
  2. Find a literary agent to represent you and your idea.
  3. Write your idea into a cookbook proposal.
  4. Shop the proposal around to different publishers.
  5. Have an auction.
  6. Review options and accept a bid.
  7. Write the book.
Oct 14, 2019

How much money can I make off of a cookbook? ›

Cookbooks easily sell for 2–4 times their cost, allowing you to earn $500 to $50,000 or more! We're so sure you'll make money that we back it with our No-Risk Guarantee.

What is the best way to sell cookbooks? ›

Where to Sell Your Cookbooks
  1. Sell to Book Dealers. You need to look at your collection in its entirety for the numbers to climb. ...
  2. Sell as a "Lot" on eBay. ...
  3. Sell Individual Cookbooks on eBay or Amazon. ...
  4. Let a Middleman Sell Your Collection.

How well do cookbooks sell? ›

Do cookbooks sell well? Cookbooks sell extraordinarily well. According to Kristen Mclean of the NPD market research group, close to 20 million cookbooks fly off the shelves every year in the US alone. Not only that, but it's one of the most stable book markets with only tiny annual fluctuations.

How many recipes should be in your first cookbook? ›

The standard expectation is that a cookbook should have between 70 and 100 recipes, but larger compendiums have at least 200. Think carefully about how many you want to include. You might want to save some back for cookbook number two!

What makes people buy cookbooks? ›

When it comes to cookbook sales, it's helpful to know how people make their decisions to buy them: 60% said easy recipes were the top reason. 48% said the cookbook featured the type of food their family liked. 48% said they liked the variety of recipes.

What is the most common size for a cookbook? ›

A traditional cookbook is going to be 8.5×11, but that may not work for what you have envisioned. We have. Great range of sizes available for our books, as small as 5.5 x 8.5 and as large as 12 x 12. We also offer custom sizes; in case you don't see the size that works for you.

What does a cookbook proposal look like? ›

In its most basic form, a proposal should have an Overview, a Marketing section where the author talks about their platform and ability to promote their work, a Table of Contents with most, if not all of the recipes listed, and a section of Sample Recipes with fully-written headnotes (the story that intros the recipe).

How do I market my cookbook? ›

  1. Foster a genuine community.
  2. Build your presence across social media.
  3. Have a regular posting schedule.
  4. Create a sensory experience.
  5. Share teaser photos and recipes.
  6. Run giveaways to increase followers and engagement.
  7. Interact with other authors and their recipes.
Nov 8, 2023

Do I need to copyright my cookbook? ›

If you have a collection of recipes, for example in a cookbook, the collection as a whole is protected by copyright. Collections are protected even if the individual recipes themselves are in the public domain.

How many pages should a cookbook have? ›

Keep in mind that the average size of a cookbook is about 75 to 200 pages. On average, a typical cookbook will have around 150 recipes, but that varies as well, from small cookbooks with just 15 recipes to more than 300.

How much does it cost to get a cookbook published? ›

What is the average cost of self-publishing a cookbook? In general, it can cost between $1,000 to $20,000 to self-publish a book. This price varies depending on the additional editing, book cover design, and formatting services you choose.

Are cook books worth money? ›

Investment value: Old cookbooks are sometimes collected as a "financial investment," Sawyer said. The value of a cookbook can go up over time, especially if it's considered rare, has historical significance and is in good condition.

Is there still a market for cookbooks? ›

Publishers and bookstores have noticed a positive trend in the past few years: Their cookbook sales are jumping, with cookbooks flying off the shelves. Always a popular category, cookbook sales have soared in the past three years. In 2021, cookbook sales were 42% higher than they were the year before.

How to price a recipe to sell? ›

How To Figure Food Cost for a Recipe
  1. Start by creating a list of all of the ingredients used in the recipe and how many grams are needed for each one.
  2. Check the total cost of each ingredient.
  3. Divide the total cost by the grams of each ingredient.
Jan 4, 2023

How to sell your recipe book? ›

Successful Cookbook Marketing Strategies
  1. Reach out to influencers.
  2. Reach out to local magazines in the foodie or wellness world.
  3. Create a hashtag for your book.
  4. Promote Instagram and Facebook ads.
  5. Guest post on other's blogs.
  6. Create swag.
  7. Run giveaways.
  8. Plan events.
Nov 28, 2019

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