Does the amount of pages and/or the number of copies printed determine the cost just as much as trim size? I was thinking of using KDP or possibly Advanced Print & Finishing (bestbookprinting.com), which I think does POD as well, not just offset printing.

This is the first time I'm self-publishing, and I've been feeling a bit overwhelmed, so forgive me if I'm asking the obvious. Should information about my specific situation or understanding why I'm so confused be necessary to provide an answer, details follow:

I've written a book to guide meat eaters on how to accommodate their vegetarian guests, or a family member who has suddenly decided to become vegetarian. It has about 10 or 12 (standard) formatted recipes. The rest appear within the text narrative. This means categorically it's more a guide than a cookbook. The interior of the book will be in B&W, and there won't be any photos or illustrations.

I've been told by a number of designers that a 6x9 makes more sense because it's non-fiction and has recipes. When I asked one of the respected top designers in the industry, he said I could probably get away with a 5x8. I assume that was due to the nature of the book - it being a guide. (I'm also not sure if it would seem out-of-place on a shelf if I were to go with the 5x8. Only 2 or 3 health books I've come across - the closest thing I could come to mine for comparison - are that size.) I want to do the right thing, but keep costs down since it's a self-published book, my first, and I'm tapping into a new market, in a sense, so I'm not sure how well it will do.

I understand that the number of pages has something to do with cost. I don't have a page count. I couldn't find out the correct margins to input into Word (2007)for the 5x8 and 6x9. And because I didn't format the page layout with proper margins, etc. - I used the default setting - it wouldn't have been accurate, anyway. I can tell you that I typed it in 12-point Times New Roman, double-spaced, and that it's 100 pages.

When I looked at some book calculator online, I noticed that the number of copies also contributes to cost: 1-50 copies is X dollars, 51-200 is x dollars.....(not necessarily exact, but you get the idea).

But here's the thing. A printer I know told me that you fit 4 pages on a 5x8 sheet, as opposed to only 2 pages on a 6x9 sheet. This would mean that it would cost a lot more to go with a 6x9 book.

Is there a big difference if I use KDP over Advanced Print & Finishing (bestbookprinting.com), for example? I believe they do POD, not just offset printing. Can I get a ballpark guesstimate just by the number of copies?

4 Answers 4


I have a few print books available on Amazon's KDP. You can set up a book and check out the differences very easily at KDP (Kindle Desktop Publishing)

The differences in price between those two formats will hardly be noticeable.


I'm going to complicate this even more for you. Every printer is different!

So, yes:
More pages cost more.
More copies costs less per copy.
A larger page costs more.

So you're going to have to contact several printers and then take a lot of notes. I started doing this myself for a project and you just can't carry over specifics from one printer to another.

In general, the biggest factor is number of copies. This also determines if offset printing (cheaper to do but has a high set-up cost, so is designed for printing several hundred copies or more) or digital printing is best for you.

Page number is often in multiples of 4 but most of the book printers I looked at wanted it in multiples of 8. So ask. There isn't a ton of difference between printing, say 96 vs 104 pages, but it will make a difference.

Page size will vary in cost not just by the amount of paper but by what are the stock sizes the printer works with, like in the examples you mention above. But this will vary some printer to printer.

Print on demand is way cheaper for you but costs a lot more per book. Not a good choice if you want a fair number of books to physically bring with you places.

I don't know about size choices but I recommend going out to a few bookstores with a ruler and taking notes. Chat with the staff and ask them what sizes work best on their shelves and sell best and what happens if you choose an "off" size.


You'd have to check with the individual printer.

At KDP, cost is based on color vs black & white and number of pages, and that's it. https://kdp.amazon.com/en_US/help/topic/G201834340 A 200 page 6x9 books costs exactly the same amount as a 200 page 5x8 book.

As you can presumably fit more text on a larger page, and therefore have fewer total pages in the book, a larger trim size should (indirectly) make the total cost of the book lower.

You should be able to get an estimate if you know the approximate number of pages and number of copies. And some basics about print format, like paperback vs hardcover and color vs black and white.

KDP charges the same price per copy regardless of how many copies you order. An offset printer will normally give you discounts as the quantity goes up.

How are you planning to sell your book? If you're going to sell it on Amazon and Barnes & Noble, then with KDP you don't order any copies. Create Space (Amazon's printer) prints them as needed to fill orders. Ditto if you use Lulu. I don't know about bestbookprinting.com, I'd never heard of them before reading your question.

If you're planning to sell personally, then you'll have to order a bunch of copies to have a stock to sell from. How many you order will depend on how many you expect to sell.


In general 6x9 is cheaper than 5x8 because you end up with fewer total pages and the page size does not really matter to the printer as the books will be done on larger sheets then cut down to the proper page size. The waste is typically the same so fewer total pages lowers the cost to you.

Note different printers use different size sheets to cut pages from. Some essentially photocopy onto 8.5x11 sheets so fewer total pages would always be cheaper with those.

As to quantity there is a fixed overhead cost to do the printing plus the incremental cost for each book. So fewer books will cost more per book.

But all printers are different. You need to ask and compare!

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