Getting Published or E-published/publishing a book
I have a book that was published (3 editions) by the co-author who retains the copyright even though I wrote 80% of the book. It is on a very specific topic and is called "The Kidney Stones Handbook" and sold out at $24.95. It has won awards and is the only book recommended by the NIH and many experts. So what's the problem? The printing costs have increased so much that the standard self publishing doesn't work. My original co-author has since died and the husband has the copyright. He is willing to let me reprint it as long as there is some sharing of any profits. I don't mind, but at this point I'm not sure which way to go. I think perhaps something electronic with Amazon or print with LULU might be best but I'd like your input. There are no expensive pictures at the book is around 300 pages. All the design work has already been done and it's all formatted for printing already. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
Thanks for your question, and congratulations on having a book that has sold 3 editions.
The crux of your decision is based on the premise that printing costs have increased so much that self-publishing is not viable.
My first question is what prices have you been quoted for reprinting the book? Have you gotten quotes from at least 3 different sources? 300 pages isn't too large a book to be printed in short-run. Is the book hard cover or soft cover? If it's hard cover, have you priced out printing it in softcover to save money?
Certainly printing with Lightning Source, LULU or one of the other short-run, digital printers is an option. Throw AuthorHouse into that pool of candidates, too.
While the per book printing price from one of the aforementioned short-run, digital printers will be higher, you will not need to print hundreds, or thousands, of books. For instance, if you can get 1,500 books printed for $7,000 (all figures are fictitious, used only as an example), but you sell only 800 copies, your total expense is $7,000. On the other hand, if you can have your books printed on-demand and it costs you $6.25 per book and you sell 800 copies, your total outlay is $5,000. You save $2,000 by printing on-demand. That is a significant savings.
Another, and potentially more profitable, opportunity for you would be to produce an e-book. This is a particularly attractive opportunity because your book is so specialized.
The costs to produce an e-book are minimal compared to traditional or on-demand printing. Whereas the production costs are significantly lower, the marketing costs to have your readers discover your book are significantly higher than traditional printing and distribution through the bookstores.
Fortunately for you, your book is so specialized that marketing it on the Internet and using social media could be very cost effective. You'd have to identify the medical sites, blogs and discussion groups that specialized in kidney stones and vigorously market to them. You could offer to give away free copies of your book on discussion boards in exchange for a user's e-mail address or contact information. You can also make the book available on Amazon, B&N.com and other online booksellers.
Let me know if my answer gives you more options than you thought you had before. Continued success with your book.