Marion Maneker breaks it down to the dollar in "Want to Know What a Book Really Costs?"
Yesterday on Slate's The Big Money, Marion Maneker offered an excellent just-the-facts-ma'am explanation of the hard and soft cost breakdown on books and ebooks in Want to Know What a Book Really Costs?:
Publishers say the physical costs of a book—paper, printing, warehousing, shipping and handling returns—account for only about 10 percent of the total. Digital distribution does not erase the need to spend on author advances, editing, marketing, and other functions.Maneker goes on to break it down to the dollar, and the real deal might surprise you. Check it out.
Yes, Virginia, that can be true. Strictly defined, those costs are probably close to 10 percent of the retail price of the book. As astonishing as that may seem to nonpublishers, I'm not so sure the numbers support the publishers' case for higher book prices. So I did a little math for Jack. And I tried to show my work.