We all know that in the end, when we have published a comic book physically, it is very likely that we want to monetize that. We like to think publishing as an investment in ways that when we commit ourselves to it, we must be certain of the outcome and benefit from it. The general idea is to make enough money to cover the printing costs including other stuff like logistics and storage (if needed), while generating a worthwhile profit for yourself.

People often get confused when we mention printing cost or retail price as most of them think that those are the same thing. These two are very different and you should understand the difference or risk making mistakes like overpaying for your prints and not making enough money to cover the costs. Now, because you will be putting up front a significant amount of money, we recommend that you take all the time to consider the best and most cost effective way of printing your comic. You will need to look at all the options that you have to make the most of your investment.

Most countries have printing companies that have different price ranges, quotations, quality of work, and it is pretty common to get your comic or art books printed in other countries (especially for offset printing). You might want to consider that as one of your options for printing if prices are too high where you live.


Printing cost

This is the price that is being charged for the print work. This usually depends on the type of printing that is being used. This needs to be less than the retail price so that you profit from each book sold. If you are looking to sell your comics in a small number like at conventions or events, you should consider either print or demand (PoD) or Digital printing. Printing using the offset printing method is the most popular if you are planning to sell in larger numbers like at bookstore or wholesale. The printing company that provides the offset printing method will usually reduce the price per copy depending on the volume or size of print order. The more you order, the cheaper it is per piece. We have covered this in the Publishing Comics page, feel free to check it out.

The workaround and calculation of printing cost and how it should work with the retail price is pretty simple. This applies to printing methods like printing on demand, digital printing as well as offset printing. The retail cost is basically the cost to create comic books with your comic work that you have prepared. The cost depends on the printing methods that were mentioned before.

The volume or number of copies ordered is the main difference among the printing methods with offset printing for prints of over a thousand while digital printing and print on demand for print of less than a thousand.But other things like quotations and printing cost applies to most printing method. Lets make an example using the offset printing method.

These are not actual the prices and printing offers may differ from one printing company to another. This does not include the price for things like the print plates or paper characteristic and other details, so you have to check that out as well.

You decide to print using offset printing and want to print a thousand copies. At that rate, a printing company quotes the price at $0.75 per copy for a thousand copies. Which means that you will be paying around $750 for the order of a thousand copies.The same printing company offers you a rate of $0.60 per copy for 2000 copies, which means that you only pay $1200 instead of the normal rate of $0.75 per copy ($750 x 2 = $1500). They also offer the price of $0.50 per copy but only if you order 3000 copies.This is going to cost you $1500, far less than the original rate of $0.75 per copy which mounts up to $2250.

As you can see, although the number of orders are a lot (if not too much), you are actually paying less than the original cost per copy. This only applies to offset printing though and not the other two printing method, which is why it is the choice for wholesale distribution or selling at bookstores.The printing cost for PoD and digital printing is usually more pricey, which means you have to hike up your price a bit when you sell to cover the printing cost and make profit.

1000 copies – $0.75 per copy = $750
2000 copies – $0.60 per copy = $1200
3000 copies – $0.50 per copy= $1500

You should really look for a book or magazine printing company that can print what you want specifically. Once you find the printing company that caters to what you want, you should first ask for the price listing or quotation.It is pretty easy, all you need to do is ring them up or email them an ask for it.it is actually better if you get to meet the people who does the printing for you in person, you can actually get a better deal as you can bargain with them the price (depends on your bargaining skill)


Retail price

The retail price is the price customers pay for your comic book. Logically, this cannot be lower or at the same price of the printing cost.In short, a retail price is the final price of the product and should therefore cover the printing cost, plus other expenses (if there is any) that contributes to the cost of creating and selling your comic book such as logistics, boxes….etc, and also including profit for yourself.so, naturally you need to place a higher number for your retail price over the printing cost to be able to make profit.It just does not make any sense if you are planning to sell something at the same price that it was made.

Let’s continue from the printing cost example:

You have ordered for prints of a thousand copies and you then decide to sell your comic book at $3.00 per copy, which means that selling all 1000 copies will get you around $3000. Minus that with the printing cost of $750, you will get $2250. Now, lets just assume the excess cost for logistics, plastic covers, storage…etc, cost around $300 clean.Deduct that amount with what you have and you will end up with $1950. This final amount is what you can call profit.

$3 x 1000 = $3000 – $750 = $2250
$3 x 2000 = $6000 – $1200 = $4800
$3 x 3000 = $9000 – 1500 = $7500

This way, either you are using the offset printing method or something else, you can get yourself a rough estimation of the overall cost per copy and afterwards, you can decide on what the retail price will be.You really need to balance up the cost of the printing with the retail cost ( selling price) of your comic book or artbook. This enables you to estimate the cost of creation (including excess) and calculate how much profit you can gain from sales.


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