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Printing Costs through Lightning Source

by Ron Kurtus (14 August 2011)

Lightning Source (LSI) is the premier print-on-demand (POD) source. The cost of printing your books through Lightning Source starts with their setup fees. Then their printing charge depends on whether the books are for your publishing business or as part of an order from wholesalers, retailers, and distributors to sell to their customers.

Questions you may have include:

This lesson will answer those questions.

Setup fees

LSI charges a one-time setup fee of $37.50 for uploading cover files and another $37.50 for uploading interior files. If you want a proof copy of your book, they charge another $30, and if there are any changes to the content, it is another $30.

Printing charges for publisher

The fees for printing standard trade paperback books 6 X 9 inches or smaller are:

$0.90 + $0.015/page

You will also be charged a $1.50 per order handling fee plus shipping costs.

Thus, ordering a 200-page book will cost you:

$0.90 + $3.00 + $1.50 = $5.40

Your profit on a full-price sale would be:

$15.00 − $5.40 = $9.60

However, this does not count your expenses in promoting or advertising your books, as well as the requirement to have stock on hand.

Printing charges for ordered books

The printing fees for books that are ordered by wholesalers, retailers, and distributors are:

$0.90 + $0.013/page

Printing a 200-page book will cost:

$0.90 + $2.60 = $3.50

You need to take this into account when you set your selling or list price of the book, as well as your discount.

If the list price of the book was $15.00, and you discounted it 55%, the distributor would pay $6.75 for the book ($15.00 − $8.25 discount = $6.75 cost). Your profit on a book sale would be:

$6.75 − $3.50 = $4.75


The cost of printing your books through Lightning Source starts with a minimum of $75 setup fees. Books you order will cost $0.90 + $0.015 per page, with an additional $1.50 handling charge. Books that wholesalers, retailers, and distributors order cost you $0.90 + $0.013 per page. The amount of your discount on the list price will determine how much they pay for the book.

Know your numbers

Resources and references

Ron Kurtus' Credentials


Publishing Resources


Top-rated books on Self-Publishing

Questions and comments

Do you have any questions, comments, or opinions on this subject? If so, send an email with your feedback. I will try to get back to you as soon as possible.


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Self-Publishing topics

Printing Costs through Lightning Source

Self-Publishing topics

Organize business

Decide to start business

Start publishing business

Run business

Publish hardcopy book

Printing preparations

Complete manuscript

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Sell books


Prepare to market

Convert format

Check Copy in eReader


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