Why Are Hardcover Books So Expensive? Best Full Guide 2024

Reasons Why Are Books So Expensive
  • MatthewDusQues

This blog post will give you detailed information about why are books so expensive and teach you how to save money on your next book purchase and get more bang for your buck! Books are expensive.

It’s a reality that many people struggle with, but it doesn’t have to be this way. The prices of books can be cut down so significantly that you’ll never look at them the same again. Reading on!

Reasons Why Are Books So Expensive?

Books So Expensive

Cost Of Printing and Paper

Printing books is a complex process that requires specialized equipment, materials, and skilled labor. The cost of paper, ink, and other supplies used in printing can also add up, especially for higher-quality books with full-color images or special features like hardcover bindings.

Additionally, the quantity of books printed also plays a role in determining the cost. Printing a large number of books can bring economies of scale and lower the per-unit cost, while printing a small number of books can result in higher costs per unit due to setup and fixed costs.

Publishing Cost

Publishing costs can contribute to the overall expense of books because they are necessary expenses that need to be covered in order for publishers to produce and distribute books. By investing in editing, design, marketing, printing, and distribution, publishers are able to produce high-quality books that are appealing to readers and able to compete in the marketplace.

However, these costs can add up, and publishers often need to recoup these expenses in order to remain in business and continue producing books. This means that the cost of publishing is reflected in the final price of a book, and can contribute to making books more expensive.


Royalties are the fees paid to an author for the sale of their work, and they are typically a percentage of the sale price of each book. These fees can add up, especially for authors who sell a large number of books.

The royalties earned by the author rise together with his or her fame. It thus raises the book’s cost as well.

Retail Markup

Retail markup, or the amount added by bookstores to the wholesale price of a book, can also contribute to the overall cost of books. Bookstores need to make a profit in order to stay in business, and they do this by marking up the price of books. The exact amount of the markup can vary depending on the bookstore, but it can range from a few percent to over 50%.

Why Are (Some) Academic Books So Expensive?

why is white sand volume 1 so expensive

The pricing strategy of academic books is to maximize profit. It’s a business, after all, and they have to make money somehow if they want to keep printing new editions! And the best way for them is by selling a few copies of each book at high prices.

But there are more reasons why some academic books are so expensive. Authors of scholarly books expect some compensation for their work. And they think the paying customers should benefit from that.

Of course, if you’re the type to buy only what you need instead of getting a bundle package, then I recommend checking out either e-books or used academic books at affordable prices.


Some old books are expensive not because they are first editions but because they are the last copies.

Some books continue to be the last of their type, whether there was just one copy available at first or most copies were destroyed without the owner realizing the worth the book would eventually have.

Even if some of the titles may be pretty uninteresting, these ancient books tell us about people and society at the time of their production and sometimes delve into a smaller group that is seldom covered in textbooks and historical documentaries.

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The last printing of the booklet, “An oration on the tyranny of jailors,” which described the horrors of prison and was distributed across London by a convict to boost the volume of his voice, is kept at the University of Illinois.


Even more, people tend to crave books when governments and organizations forbid them, which increases their reputation (fabulous).

Consider a Cuban cigar.

Due to the United States’ restriction on the importation of Cuban products, many believe they are the finest and charge several times the price of other cigars.

The cigars really have a similar quality to other well-known cigars.

Because the thing is illegal, the price (and desire) increase.

The same idea is accurate in literature.

Even while we Americans have the luxury of free speech, many schools, private organizations, and nations prohibit some work due to lewdness or political reasons.

Along with the increased expense of the book, you risk facing penalties like fines or prison time.

Historical Impact

why is paperback more expensive

When a book is associated with a notion like “freedom” or “rebellion,” the emotional value enables the publisher to raise the price by a few dollars.

But when you have the opportunity to study documents like The Communist Manifesto or Common Sense that genuinely contributed to the shaping of history, what’s a small price to pay?

Reading the book transports you to the period it covers in a manner that textbooks cannot do.

As the number of ancient history books unavoidably declines with time, giving us even less knowledge about the past than before, their worth increases.

In a history book, you may read about ancient Greece and peruse images of artifacts interspersed with a chronological account of battles and alliances and the characters who fought them.

Alternatively, you may study ancient Greek culture by reading The Iliad.

Reading the tales they told during that period may teach you more about ancient Greek society, even if they don’t (in our opinion) accurately depict a genuine conflict.

You also learn about people’s religious convictions, military tactics, relationships, and social structure.

Reprints Lacking Same Appeal As Original

The passion and wisdom readers relate to in the original copy of a book may not always translate to a new format.

Compared to a translated version, a copy of a book written in its original language more effectively conveys its purpose and artistic quality.

Additionally, you have issues with cultural interpretations.

One society would deem it offensive to record a friend’s show, while another might think it beneficial.

Without due consideration for the author’s objectives, the meaning is altered.

Translating ancient literature may be especially tricky since publishers often have to make unsupported decisions that might have a significant effect.

For instance, English readers tend to miss a lot of the subtle comedy in the dialogue of Don Quixote’s Spanish translation.

The book in its original Spanish may cost more and take longer to locate.

Another illustration may be found in Eastern literature.

Instead of reading from left to right, several Eastern languages do thus.

You wouldn’t believe how big of an effect it can have on how you read the book.

The aesthetic appeal of reading certain Eastern novels is also enhanced by the calligraphy and elegance of their written language.

Educational Value

Educational Value Book

Textbooks often cost more than fiction novels.

They not only include a great deal of helpful material, but the schools often demand that you purchase them.

You have no other option.

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The pupils cannot pass the class without the books.

The university bookshops are free to set their own prices, and other retailers will do the same (at a slight discount).

The average annual cost of books and materials for a college student is $1,240.00.

High Demand

A new book in a series or a new book by a well-known author is eagerly awaited by confident readers.

At the height of the series’ craze, recall the excitement around the publication of each new Harry Potter novel.

There were not enough books at the stores.

Customers very likely paid far more than they would have if they had waited six or a year, but who could wait that long?

8.3 million copies of the seventh Harry Potter book, priced between $20.99 and $34.99, were sold in a single day.

Personal Attachment

A book’s worth may sometimes not make sense in the consumer market.

If someone has the same love for a book as you, you could overpay at an auction for one that influenced your life.

A seemingly mediocre book might cost a lot of money if someone wants something that badly enough.

Before becoming too raved about a particular book, evaluate it critically and settle on your highest price before the auction begins (and stick to it).

You shouldn’t purchase books at an auction unless they are rare since people often overpay.

A Gutenberg Bible replica created on Gutenberg’s printing machine was auctioned in 1987 for $4.9 million.

It seems excessive to pay for a book that may be obtained for free from a local church or swiped from the desk drawer in a hotel room.

What’s The Average Price Of A Book?

The average price for a children’s book is $5; the adult versions cost from $10 to about $25. For textbooks, I hear it goes up to over one hundred dollars.

Of course, there are books out there worth every penny, like Harry Potter and The Bible. But if you think about it, an e-reader can last you a lifetime (if it’s waterproof) free of charge, and tons of e-books are on sale all the time.

If you want a printed version for your shelf, I recommend checking out used bookstores or the library for the cheapest option.

How To Buy Books Way Cheaper?

How to buy books way cheaper

I like to support my local independent bookstores. They’re cheaper than the big chain shops and because I know they don’t pay their employees as much. But if you want to save on gas or you don’t have a bookstore nearby, then there are other ways for you to find some of your favorite books on sale.

1. Amazon sometimes has sales. It doesn’t happen often, but you have to keep checking to find a deal. Plus, they always have free shipping, which is great for books with heavy paperbacks or hardcovers.

2. Thrift stores and garage sales are other good place to look for cheap books. These are discarded books from libraries, schools, and your college campus bookstore. You can find popular titles that people don’t want anymore, and you can get them at an affordable price.

3. Book sales put up by publishers usually come in bulk, so check with the publisher before you buy one book at a high price.

4. Other sources for cheap books include your local libraries, used bookstores, and discount websites like Alibris or eBooks Wholesale, which I found out only recently. Some of these retailers have free shipping too!

Places To Find Used Books At Low Prices

Places to find used books at low prices

Used Bookstores – They’re on top of the list because I find their prices pretty competitive. Check out Powell’s City of Books in Portland, Oregon, for an example.

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Half Price Books – They have a lot more than books, but their selection can be limited. Still, they have a great discount on most new releases. Or go to the website if your local store doesn’t have it.

E-book readers – These can be cheap, but they’re mostly only suitable for reading e-books. If you want to read books with physical pages, I suggest getting a used or new paperback book. You don’t lose anything, and you save lots of money this way!

Used Textbooks – These are great if you want to save on money. Remember that they were already used by someone else, so there’s a chance the pages and covers will be damaged. Check them well before buying.

Thrift Stores – these also have cheap books but be careful of dog eared pages or even missing pages. Again, check your text before buying to save yourself the hassle of going back!

Discount Websites – Unlike paperbacks and hardcovers, textbooks are usually cheaper online. For used or new books, check out Textbooks.com.

Amazon Warehouse – You can get some great deals here, but you have to be careful with what’s available because sometimes they only sell out of print books.



What affects the price of a book?

There are a few factors that can affect the price of a book:

  1. The cost of the materials used to make the book. If the book is made with expensive materials, it will be more expensive.
  2. The labor costs associated with making the book. If the book is made by hand, it will be more expensive.
  3. The demand for the book.

If the book is in high demand, it will be more expensive.

Why are Indian books cheaper?

There are many reasons why Indian books are cheaper. One reason is that the cost of living is lower in India so books can be produced more cheaply. Another reason is that the Indian market is very price-sensitive, so publishers need to keep prices low to compete. Finally, there is a lot of competition in the Indian book market, so publishers need to keep prices down to attract buyers.

Why were the early books very expensive?

The early books were expensive because they were printed on high-quality paper and bound in luxurious materials. The cost of production was high, and the demand for these books was relatively low. As a result, only a few wealthy people could afford to buy them.

Were books expensive before?

This is a question that many people ask. The answer is that it depends on the book. Some books are costly, while others are more reasonably priced. It varies depending on the book.

When did books become cheap?

It’s hard to say when books became cheap, but it’s safe to say that it was sometime in the last few hundred years. With the advent of the printing press, books became much easier to produce and distribute, leading to a decreased price. Today, books are more affordable than ever, thanks to technological advances and the rise of online booksellers.


The high cost of books is due to a number of factors, including the high cost of paper, the need for a large print run to make the book affordable, and the use of royalties to pay the author. In addition, many books are published by small presses that do not have the economies of scale of large publishers, and these presses often charge higher prices for their books.

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