Academic monographs costs and profits
|Does anyone out there know of a site on the web that details how academic books are priced, how their production costs break down, and how they're sold (ie, what percentage of a run is full price, what percentage is reduced, and what percentage are "frees")?|
We've been talking in the comments to a previous post about the dire situation of academic presses, and some of our commenters have inside info, having worked at a press, so I take their points. But it's always seemed a little odd to me that academic presses can't at least break even on monographs. After all, 500 copies at $30 each = $15,000. Figure on maybe a hundred frees, and another hundred at 40% off (or $18 of my hypothetical "cheap" price of $30), and you've got a press run of 700 with a potential gross of $16,800. So, can presses really not produce a run of that size for under $16,800 (factoring in some kind of amortized costs of salaries, warehousing, distributing, advertising, etc.)? Or can they not sell out such a run over the course of, say, ten years?
Just curious. I'd love to see something that breaks out all these figures for a typical academic book. Simplicius once sent me a link to a site that does this for mass-market paperbacks, but I can't seem to find it. If he comments it, I'll post it here.
Update: Simplicius sent me the link to the breakdown for a mass-market paperback, so here it is. Interesting reading, as are all your comments.