Publishing books as an independent author and publisher is a very expensive process.
To make sure each book has an artistic feel, with space to absorb the content, I partner with a graphic designer to make sure every page…and every line…is just right.
On top of design fees, I have purchased high quality cover images from professional photographers from the region where the books were written (Bali for Meditative Questions; Cape Verde for unbreakable).
For Meditative Questions, I envisioned a beautiful hardcover, coffee table book with thick pages, full color, and a dust jacket. It was important to me that the book was also green. (The finished product utilizes FSC certified paper and soy ink.)
After getting proposals to print this level of quality in the USA, I received quotes of $100+ per book! Obviously, I would never be able to sell this book at a reasonable amount.
Therefore, I searched the world and found an incredible printer in Hong Kong who could print Meditative Questions at a more reasonable rate. Still, I had to order at least 2,000 copies to reach a lower price point. Even with a lower cost per book to print, there was a very high upfront cost for such an order + shipping from China + $1,000+ in Customs Brokers and delivery fees + Storage fees.
Without providing an exact amount (because I don’t think that’s the important part), the process was (and still is) very expensive. Amazon.com takes a percentage of each book sold and charges a storage fee. I do this to make sure that shipping is fast and free with Prime membership.
The $40/book leaves only a very small margin of profit. In fact, I cannot reasonably sell this book at a book store because I would lose money! (Bookstores like Barnes&Noble often take 60% of any sale!)
Please know that I have underpriced the book (in relation to the costs) to make it more accessible. And please know that you are getting a finely crafted product, complete with sewn stitching. It is a book that will last and it makes a fine addition to any coffee table and a beautiful gift.
You can find Meditative Questions here. Please note that the Prime option for $40.00 is the only authorized ZenTao Books NEW First Edition copy.
Since I moved abroad after publishing Meditative Questions, I learned how painful managing inventory can be from afar!
Fortunately, I always envisioned unbreakable as an ebook, so I am making it available on ZenTaoBooks.com here for $10.00 to avoid the high fees that Kindle, Nook, and other eReaders charge for the privilege of being on their platform. The file you download will be a pdf file, and I have done so without password protection so that you may also share a copy of the book with a friend :)
Also, due to popular request, I have made unbreakable available in Paperback on Amazon. This book is bring printed by CreateSpace. CreateSpace is an Amazon owned company that prints books on demand. (i.e. When a book is ordered, they print it.)
Print-on-demand books are great because they eliminate the need of managing inventory and they are printed near where they are ordered for maximum efficiency. However, it is a very expensive process. The cost per book is much higher than traditional printing at high volumes.
As a result, the Paperback version of unbreakable is at a higher price point than I wanted. $25.00 is more than I wanted to charge. Because of this, I wanted to provide additional insight into the cost per book. Essentially, Amazon takes $20.55 per book. Taxes are also deducted from the royalty amount I receive, so I only receive $2.67 per book for each Amazon sale of $25. I know. The margins are razor thin, but I did not want to charge a higher amount. My focus was on creating a book that might inspire others.
Here is the royalty chart from CreateSpace for unbreakable..strictly for reference:
While the royalty amount is higher for the CreateSpace eStore (link here), a shipping fee also applies to each order. The shipping time is slower than Amazon and can range from $4 – $15 for one book depending on shipping speed! As a result, I find that Amazon.com is the better choice.
Because of these small margins, I hope that you will know that I’ve created the paperback version at the most reasonable rate possible given other constraints outlined above :) You can find unbreakable at these locations:
unbreakable ebook: here
unbreakable paperback: here