Saturday, December 5, 2009

Had to Increase Price of Book

I was reluctant to take this step, but as those who have read the past posts here know, we were getting submerged in expenses because of the costs of buying toner and other consumables for the two Brother color laser printers we're using to print the book about the Leica D-Lux 4 digital camera. I have never stopped to figure out a precise cost of producing each book in color, but I know we were taking a substantial loss on each book. A complete set of high-capacity toner cartridges for each printer costs about $330.00 at the cheapest I could find. The cyan, magenta, and yellow toners are about $90.00 each, and the black is about $60.00 each. We also have to replace periodically the printers' drum units, waste toner boxes, and belt units. That's not to mention the cost of paper, which is at least $12.00 per ream of 500 sheets. Each book requires 57 sheets of paper, if there is no loss at all through misprints or wastage. That means we get slightly more than 8 books out of a ream, so the paper cost alone is about $1.50 per book. I'm not sure how many books we get from a complete set of toner cartridges, but I would say the most we could get would be about 30 books. So, the toner cost would be roughly $11.00 per book. Then there is the cost of replacing the blade of the paper cutter, which can last for only 1,000 cuts. Each book takes at least 4 cuts to trim it, so we have to spend about $300.00 for a new blade after every 250 books. That adds about another dollar to the cost of each book. (We may be able to reduce that cost by getting one of the old blades sharpened; we'll try that next time.) Then you factor in fees charged by, eBay, PayPal, or any other avenue of distribution, and it's easy to see how we were losing money on every book sold.

I'm hoping that the price increase will stem the flow of money out. I'm not sure how people will react to the increase; maybe they will stop buying books. Actually, that would be better in a way than continuing to sell books at a loss. This morning I took 13 books to the Post Office, and when I got home there were two new orders waiting for me.

Anyway, it will be very interesting to see if the price increase brings sales to a halt, or brings in enough money to cover the cost of the books. We're also now printing and offering for sale a black-and-white version, and it may be that people will be satisfied with that version. All of the content is the same; it just lacks the color in the photos. It will save a considerable amount of money to print that version, because we will only need black toner, not the three colors.

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