Do you buy hardcover books? Nice, but expensive, right? There is a place for hardcover books, and that is exactly when you want to create that impression: nice, and expensive. These books are “keepers” and are meant to last. They are also great as gifts or family heirlooms.
Mass produced hardcovers in bookstores are affordable for big publishers because they use an offset printer. You would need to order a minimum of 500 books to get these lower costs. If you can sell that many, go for it! Or you can print a few hardcovers, and then release the same book in softcover and/or as an ebook, as some of your buyers may not want a nice, expensive keeper.
If you’re printing your own books and expect to distribute fewer than 500, you’ll need to use a digital printer, one who offers hardcover binding. The magic number to comparison shop with is 25. For many printers, 25 is the minimum order, and you can shop around and find a good price. Fewer, and you’ll pay a higher price per book.
When you do the math, that higher price may make sense for you. After all, three $75 books will still be less cost than buying twenty five $45 books, especially if the extras will go to waste. If you want a beautiful hardcover copy just for the author, there are even are a few digital printers who will print just one book at a time.
These days, the publishing industry is focused on making reading cheaper and more convenient through online bookstores and ereaders. Yet hardcover books remain popular, too, and sell quite well in some markets. Why? People will always appreciate a well-crafted work of art.