Setting up Your Book for Print on Demand

There are two parts to setting up your book for print on demand: 1.) setting up your account with the company, and 2.) setting up your book after your account has been created. Most print on demand services will require the same things for both. Below is a list of all the things you’ll need.

For setting up your account:

  • Your publishing company’s name
  • Your tax ID (SSN or EIN)
  • A checking account number (for automatic deposits of royalty payments)
  • A credit card number (to have on file for books you personally order)
  • A resale or tax exemption certificate for clients who wish to claim a sales tax exemption (this is not needed by most clients)

For setting up your book:

  • Your book’s title and subtitle
  • Your name as you’d like it to appear on the book
  • A full description of your book (about 350 words is standard)
  • An optional short description of your book (about 150 words)
  • Your author bio
  • Your book’s ISBN
  • Your book’s publication date
  • Your print book’s suggested retail price and wholesaler discount (see note below)
  • Your ebook’s suggest retail price (must end in .99 for iBooks)
  • Up to three BISAC category codes for your book (see note below)
  • Optional THEMA category codes for your book (see note below)
  • Up to seven keyword phrases for your book (see note below)
  • Review quotes (can be added later if you don’t have any at the time of setup)
  • Completed book files (interior, cover, and, if applicable, ebook)

Note on pricing: The suggested retail price of your book is just that, a price you suggest retailers like Amazon and Barnes and Noble sell your book for. When retailers buy your book from a print on demand service, this is not the price they are paying. They are paying the wholesale price. The industry standard for wholesale pricing is 55% off the suggested retail price. That means if your suggested retail price is $15.00, bookstores who sell your book will pay you $6.75 for the book. Out of that $6.75 comes the cost of printing. To determine what you’re suggested retail price should be, tart by figuring out your print cost and then add to that how much you want to make per sale of the book. For example, a standard 250-page novel will cost roughly $4.20 to print through most print on demand services. If your wholesale price is $6.75, that means you profit $2.55 per sale. If you want to make more per sale, you’ll have to up your suggested retail price.

It’s important to note that stores are not obligated to sell the book at the retail price you suggest. In fact, many will discount the book to compete with other stores. This will not impact your profit, though, because stores are obligated to pay you the full wholesale price regardless of how much they sell the book for.

For ebooks, you will typically make 60% of your ebook’s suggested retail price.

Note on BISAC category codes: These are broad category codes used by most booksellers to help them figure out where to shelve your books (or categorize them online). You are required to have at least one main BISAC category, but some services allow you to have up to three. When choosing a category, start with the most specific one to your book you can find. Keep in mind, though, that these are broad categories. For example, if your book is about two werewolves that fall in love, the most specific category you can find for that would be FIC027120 (FICTION / Romance / Paranormal / General). However, if your book is about two vampires that fall in love, you’re in luck, because there’s a category for that: FIC027320 (FICTION / Romance / Paranormal / Vampires). A full list of BISAC codes can be found at

Note on THEMA category codes: These function pretty much the same as BISAC codes do, except they are targeted at international markets. Not all print on demand services allow for these codes, and none require them at this time. These are completely optional. A full list of THEMA codes can be found at

Note on keyword phrases: These help online stores better categorize your book. Think of these as supplements to your BISAC codes. For example, if you use the phrase “werewolf” as a keyword phrase to your story about werewolves falling in love, that allows bookstores that have categories for werewolf books to know your book belongs there. Think about using words and phrases people might use to look for your book that aren’t in your book’s BISAC codes or the title and description of your book. For example, “female protagonist,” “coming of age,” and “Spanish monarchy.”