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Cost to produce a picture book

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Does anyone know how much it costs to produce an average traditionally-published picture book these days--I'm thinking of the major publishers, such as S&S, HarperCollins, etc.? The total would include advances for both author and illustrator, overhead, editorial and art design, shipping, printing, any pre-publication publicity--all that good stuff. I realize it will necessarily vary, but I want to give my students a guesstimate. I've heard everything from more than $30,000 to over $100,000. Has anyone read anything or heard any numbers at a recent conference? Any links to an article on this topic would be appreciated. Thanks!
#1 - March 11, 2016, 09:20 AM
« Last Edit: March 11, 2016, 09:22 AM by Betsy »
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I don't know but I've never heard anything lower than $100,000.

AM

#2 - March 11, 2016, 09:21 AM
VAMPIRINA IN THE SNOW (Disney-Hyperion, 2018)
BUSY-EYED DAY (Beach Lane Books, 2018)
GROUNDHUG DAY (Disney-Hyperion, 2017)
among others

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I don't know the answer either Betsy but I am interested to hear the answer.
#3 - March 11, 2016, 09:32 AM
« Last Edit: March 11, 2016, 10:01 AM by Schriscoe »
Vehicle Dreams Series-RPKids '16 -'18
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Rainy Day Picnic-Read Your Story '18
The Sparrow and The Trees- Arbordale '15

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I think you're right, AM. The figure of $30,000 is from several years ago. But there's got to be more recent information out there somewhere.
#4 - March 11, 2016, 10:00 AM
www.ellenjackson.net
PICKY EATERS
OCTOPUSES ONE TO TEN
THE MYSTERIOUS UNIVERSE
THE BALLAD OF BOOSTER BOGG
BEASTLY BABIES
TOOLING AROUND

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Betsy, you emailed me about my write-up from 2006. I have to tell you that I don't think the costs have changed THAT much since then, at least when it comes to physical production costs. But overhead and advances are big pieces of it too, and they vary greatly from publisher to publisher.

$100,000 is at the high end--for a large initial printing, and some marketing money included, I think. I'll see what I can find out. I need to update the article.
#5 - March 11, 2016, 06:19 PM
Harold Underdown

The Purple Crayon, a children's book editor's site: http://www.underdown.org/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/HUnderdown

I've heard about $50K. But I can't tell you my source. Just something I've heard.
#6 - March 11, 2016, 06:31 PM
NED THE KNITTING PIRATE, GRIMELDA series,
CITY SHAPES, DORIS THE BOOKASAURUS, ONE SNOWY DAY, PIZZA PIG, and more...
http://www.dianamurray.com

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What complicates it is what you count as overhead, and what you count as a cost directly attributable to a specific book... Obviously plate costs and PP&B (paper, printing, and binding), but after that, what?

#7 - March 11, 2016, 06:42 PM
Harold Underdown

The Purple Crayon, a children's book editor's site: http://www.underdown.org/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/HUnderdown

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Maybe you can come up with a range, Harold. Anyway, I appreciate that article and all the other wonderful information on your site.
#8 - March 11, 2016, 07:32 PM
www.ellenjackson.net
PICKY EATERS
OCTOPUSES ONE TO TEN
THE MYSTERIOUS UNIVERSE
THE BALLAD OF BOOSTER BOGG
BEASTLY BABIES
TOOLING AROUND

I've often heard $50,000 as well, but like Diana, I don't know the source.
#9 - March 12, 2016, 11:23 AM
ALIENS GET THE SNIFFLES TOO! Candlewick, 2017
LOUD LULA, Two Lions 2015
CALIFORNIA HISTORY FOR KIDS, CRP
FARMER MCPEEPERS Rising Moon

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I think (but would need to verify) that Cheryl Klein mentions the 50K number in her book.
#10 - March 12, 2016, 06:19 PM
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