Waffling Over Paper Choices

I never thought I’d spend so much time waffling over paper choices. Here’s the issue:

1) Even though Vegan Serendib and A Feast of Serendib are the same number of pages, Vegan looks dramatically thinner.

2) This is particularly acute in photo 1, where you see it contrasted with the Mascot Press edition, which uses an even thicker paper choice we don’t have available now, since we’re not doing a big print run.

3) It’s less dramatic when you compare to the Serendib Press edition (photos 2-4), which uses the middle-weight paper available from Ingram.

4) I’m a little fretty that since this is an expensive book ($40), people will feel like it’s not substantial enough for that price, even though it has gazillion recipes. I *think* that’s not really a big issue, but am not positive.

5) I’m more worried that the lighter paper is a little thin, and for cooks who are rapidly turning pages with wet hands, it may not stand up well to heavy use. That’s why we’re ordering the next set of galleys in the mid-weight paper, so we can do a real side-by-side comparison.

But the mid-weight paper really cuts into the profit in a big way. Stephanie Bailey did a summary for me.

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We have three options:

a) Keep the paper at the current weight, and keep the price the same at $39.99. Publisher compensation = $5.50 per book

b) Switch to the thicker paper (the same as Feast), and increase the price to $44.99. Publisher compensation = $4.33 per book

c) Switch to the thicker paper, decrease the wholesale discount from 40% to 35%, and keep the price at $39.99. Publisher compensation = $3.33 per book.

I think we’ve ruled out option b; I really don’t want Vegan Serendib to cost more than Feast, even though costs for it are much higher (due to supply chain increases + doing it POD).

I’m leaning towards option c, though I’m not sure if decreasing the wholesale discount from 40% to 35% will make a big difference to booksellers being willing to order the book? Would appreciate any thoughts from small press / bookseller friends on this.

To be clear, this is mostly relevant for books that are being sold through bookstores / Amazon. If you’re buying directly from my site, or from me in person at events, we get a much more reasonable profit / book, which might actually be enough to eventually justify all the time and staff budget that has gone into making the book. 🙂

I don’t really expect this book to be hugely profitable (unless it somehow ends up hitting big in the vegan community), and that’s okay — I mostly just wanted it to exist. But it would be nice not to *lose* money on it!

It does look awfully pretty, doesn’t it?

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On another brainstorming note, we’re planning to print a little supplement of the 40 new recipes, for those who have Feast and don’t want a lot of duplication by buying Vegan, but do want the new recipes. Am having a hard time coming up with a decent title for it. Vegan Supplement sounds terrible.

A Vegan Slice of Serendib?
A Vegan Slice?

Something else that’s better that I’m not thinking of because titles are horrible? Help.

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