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Printing Costs for Books in New Zealand are Too High

Updated October 2018 – to reflect current exchange rates and changes at Amazon 

print book prices in NZToday, while  procrastinating on the Interwebs,  I  saw an ad on a New Zealand website for a local printer. The business involved provides an on-line calculator for the costs of printing a book with them.

Curious, I ran the figures — assuming a standard fiction book:

  • a 250 page black & white book,
  • A5 Portrait (148mm x 210mm)
  • 80gsm paper (the cheapest).
  • perfect bound with a matt laminated cover.

For a print run of 50 books the price per a book was NZ$12.35 — that  included GST and  P&P and included two proof copies.

Then I went over to  my printer of choice — Createspace in the US. They have a handy calculator too,  you’ll find it here. (click on the buying copies tab).

Unfortunately Amazon and incorporated Createspace into their KDP – Kindle Direct Publishing – offering now. However prices have remained consistent.

I chose the closest books size to the NZ A5 — that’s 5.5″x8.5″ — the price per a book was US$3.85 (it doesn’t matter if you order 1 or 100). The postage for 50 books shipped from the US is US$105 — that’s US$2.10 per a book.

Fifty is the most economic number to ship from Createspace — you can do a ‘mixed case’ of more than one book, so long as it adds up to 50.

So that’s a total of $3.85+$2.10 = US$5.95 On today’s exchange rate (xe.com is your friend) $9.23 — let’s add GST on so that’s a total price of NZ$10.61 per a book landed in New Zealand including GST

The price difference between Amazon and local print has changed significantly- when I originally ran these figures in 2014 – the price difference was around $10 – now its nearer $2 – that’s partly to do with a weaker NZ dollar, and partly to do with some interesting changes in the local printing scene.  Note printing prices vary a LOT

Now there are some  of downsides with using Createspace

  • the price I used above was for their cheapest shipping option — so it may take over 30 working days for your books to arrive;
  • a free proof copy is available — but on-line only. You can order proof copies and cost (as above) — but shipping is proportionally more expensive — if you are impatient you’ll pay US$13 in shipping  a single 250-page book within 4 days.
  • interior colour books are very expensive
  • limited number

Oh and of course printing your book with Createspace also puts it into the world’s largest bookstore Amazon.com and, for New Zealand book buyers into our favourite cheap paper book source: BookDepository.co.uk

For no extra charge. That’s real print-on-demand. Several years ago I investigated local print prices, and ended up going with Createspace, nothing much seems to have changed.

Our current advice is to consider doing both: have your book (print and eBook) on Amazon for a worldwide audience –  and consider local print as well – its normal that we can use the same files for both.

27 Comments

  1. Roger Petersen on January 11, 2015 at 10:43 am

    Hello – saw your comment via google – all makes good sense.
    I’m just starting out re trying to publish a small “self-help” type book – and Createspace appears to be the best option – it’s linked into Amazon which is of course, I’m assuming, the largest distributor – e-book and print.
    Many thanks

    • Lis on January 30, 2015 at 2:34 pm

      Yes that’s right Roger, whereever else you publish – you should include Createspace as well for access to the largest print market.

  2. Z. R. Southcombe on January 17, 2015 at 1:29 pm

    I got quotes from several places in NZ for printing a book, mostly because I’m not happy with the print quality for picture books through CreateSpace.

    In the end, I went with Blurb Australia – shipping times are better than shipping from the US, and the price inc. shipping ended up being reasonable.

    • Lis on January 30, 2015 at 2:35 pm

      Hi “Z.R”

      For full-colour, particularly if you want volumn – most people use China or Singapore printers. Glad you found a solution that worked for you though

  3. P P on October 28, 2015 at 6:57 pm

    I had my Memoir 9″ x6″ 380 page printed here in Tauranga and yes $18.75 each. I didn’t mind that as it turned out quite good with 18 pages of 4 photo’s. But, posting them to the UK proved costly at $24.72 + $2.00 each and packing blew me away. Now looking elsewhere for a cheaper method. Any suggestions Liz

    • Lis on November 5, 2015 at 11:21 pm

      Sorry just saw this comment Peter! If you are prepared to have the interior in b&w rather than colour (including the photos) – it will probably be cheaper to print via Createspace in the US – if you’d like us to help send us an email at info@diypublishing.co.nz

      • Kathryn Harper on January 1, 2016 at 4:04 pm

        CreateSpace also print in the UK, so very fast and economical way to do things, my Mum ordered my last book in the UK and it arrived the next day 🙂

  4. Mark Graver on February 21, 2016 at 4:09 pm

    Hi
    Are there any any customs/GST issues when ordering from the USA? I know the $400 limit isn’t a fixed rule but 50 x 8.23 takes you over that threshold and in my experience (though not with books) you end up having extra import fees then.
    I’m looking at options for good colour books as catalogues of art works. Any suggestions?

    • Joanne Smsith on October 2, 2017 at 3:25 pm

      I looked into this too and there are import fees on books for over $60 worth and also tax. Am now looking into printing in NZ which works out about the same when all costs are included.

  5. Joleen Scott on March 11, 2016 at 9:03 pm

    Hi there. Great article, I wish I had read this earlier.
    I used an NZ printer for the free copies of my first book launch. What a huge mistake. They charged me $18 +GST per book, failed to send even one proof, were two weeks late with delivery and the printed books I ordered had so many faults, the majors being no barcode/isbn and they had no colour. Just to warn, even though I emailed them about their faults, they did not even message to apologise.
    I am glad I only bought 1 copies, but still, $270.00 is a lot to spend on bad publishing.
    I have since used createspace.com, and am absolutely rapt at the quality of the printed books. I have no problem waiting a bit longer to receive such great books!

    • Lis on March 22, 2016 at 11:44 am

      Hi JOelen, Sorry for the delay approving your post – something’s wrong with my email notifications! Yes that doesn’t sound like good service at all! Not sending proofs is totally not acceptable – no reputable printer would do that!

      Is that a tyyo – you didn’t pay $270 for ONE copy???

      • Joleen Scott on March 22, 2016 at 12:16 pm

        Oh, silly, no that was for 12 copies. But createspace costs only $180 for 20, and you have to approve the proof first. I have just had a full colour book printed, the cost goes up, naturally, but the quality is amazing.

  6. Mitchy on October 13, 2016 at 3:11 pm

    Hi there, I’m learning a lot reading the comments. My question is about how you pay tax with CreateSpace? Does it complicate your NZ tax situation? Thanks, Mitchy

    • Lis on October 21, 2016 at 5:11 pm

      Just the same as if you printed a book in NZ and sold it it in NZ the payments made to you should be declared as income and any expenses claimed against that income. I’m not an accountant -but using Cretespace doesn’t make the issue any more complex. IRD publishing exchange rates to use to convert US$ back to NZ$

  7. Gane on June 21, 2017 at 2:48 pm

    Yes definitely cheaper getting it done in China. The Quality is incredible. We do quite a lot of offshore printing

  8. Mei on September 10, 2017 at 7:50 am

    We have been using Everbest in China for 12 titles now. Absolute quality for image driven books. Fast and much much cheaper than NZ printers. Did not find one in NZ that assured me of the quality that we were after. However, they will price for their min quanity which is 1000. So if you want 500, it will be the same price for 1000. As their setup is the same for each print run.

    • Stephanie on January 26, 2018 at 3:40 pm

      Hi,

      I am interested in your experience with everbest. Could you tell me approx how much it cost and whether they offered control over paper quality etc?

      • Lis on January 26, 2018 at 4:43 pm

        Sorry, no I don’t know them at all – are the NZ based printers?

  9. Gail on September 26, 2017 at 5:45 pm

    Hey all ! If I create a book and have it on Createspace/ Amazon but also want to make sure it is affordable for book stores or organisations here to buy – will that work?

    • Lis on September 27, 2017 at 4:31 pm

      Probably not – most bookstores won’t buy from Amazon because they don’t allow returns (and they consider Amazon a competitor). If you are determined to be in bookshops then Ingram Spark is probably a better option – but remember a bookshop will want a 50% discount – it makes it very hard to make money as an independent author

  10. Nee on October 3, 2017 at 1:09 pm

    Hi.
    I read all the comments and found a lot of them interesting, however, this will be my first time wanting to publish a book or even have my book printed. I am curious to know more about marketing and being an independent author.

    Thank you lis.

  11. Owen Clough on January 10, 2018 at 12:33 pm

    Thanks for all that information. I’m thinking of going with create space, I wanted to use a local printer, but the pice is inhibiting for us. Why can it be $10 cheaper posted to NZ? Is it this greedy syndrome we have here. So I’m going with the above. I can discount to schools and still make money. My last book is costing me $22.15 trade I have to sell it for at least $30. I gave schools a discount at $25 it’s taking a while to become a millionaire at that price. All I want is a fair go, so it is with sorrow I’m heading overseas.
    Will NZ ever learn in this day and age?

    • Lis on January 26, 2018 at 4:42 pm

      It’s about scale – NZ printers can order the paper in the quantity that Createspace does – both have their place in my view

  12. Lynne Street on September 9, 2018 at 12:47 pm

    You are so right! I helped an independent author in editing his book, obtaining a good cover design, formatting for a local printer…
    Asked for a quote after visiting the (local) printer and selecting low-cost but good page and cover materials, then ran a “break-even” analysis on the three print-run options. Unfortunately, the author chose the mid-range, despite my recommending CreateSpace or KDP. That mid range quote worked out at covering the costs at $29 odd dollars to the printer per book. Of his preferred 200 book run, he is “stuck” with 80 copies under the bed.
    We had planned a book launch tour and a local event. Sadly his health forced the tour to be cancelled.
    NZ NEEDS a POD service,

    • Lis on September 11, 2018 at 5:37 pm

      Ingram Spark is worth a look too – they do a wider rang of options than Createspace. I’ve also heard that copypress in Nelson is doing some interesting things in this space too!

    • Dave on October 3, 2018 at 12:19 pm

      CopyPress in Nelson has a POD service.
      They provide a print on demand and sales/distribution service with prices comparable to CreateSpace, once you factor in shipping, customs taxes and exchange rates.

      • Lis on October 8, 2018 at 12:01 pm

        Note Dave, I’ve just updated prices in the post to reflect …

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