coffee table with white hardcover book

The Ultimate Guide to Self-Publishing Hardcover Books: Are They Worth It?

Printing a hardcover edition of your book when you’re a self-published author can be daunting. You must ensure it’s well-designed, pleasing to the eye, and excites readers about what’s inside. 

And, just like any masterpiece, it takes time and careful planning to bring it to life. 

And besides, it gives you a sense of authority. Like you’re not just another writer but a legitimate author.

Now, you might be thinking, “Why would I bother publishing a hardcover book? Aren’t they more expensive to produce?” 

Later, I’ll share the considerations for publishing a hardcover, including deeper cost calculations. 

But before that, let’s talk about…

What’s a hardcover book?

Hardcover books hold their own charm. 

A well-made hardcover is a testament to the craft of bookmaking. 

It combines aesthetics, durability, and quality, which keeps us reading for more.

Back in the day, all books were hardcover. 


Because paperbacks had yet to be invented! 

Despite the rise of paperbacks and ebooks, hardcovers have remained a beloved choice among readers worldwide.

Of course, hardcovers have more to offer than durability. 

Paperbacks and e-books are great for traveling, and they have their own advantages.

But having a hardcover book… it’s like you’re holding a piece of history, which makes it special. 

What is the benefit of a hardcover book?

Gray Ceramic Mug Near Black and Silver Camera and Open Book

Hardcovers are like Cadillacs — solid, dependable, and packed with style. 

The benefits of printing hardcover books for your self-published work include: 

Legitimacy and prestige

They’re like the designer handbag of the literary world. 

Classy, durable, and oozing style. 

You know, there’s a reason it’s called a “hard” cover. 

You could drop it, spill coffee on it, and it would still look great on your bookshelf.

Speaking of bookshelves, there’s nothing more beautiful than a well-stocked shelf if you’re a book collector. Hardcover books have this way of making your collection look like a snapshot from a classy bookstore, a testament to your refined taste. They add character and personality to your bookshelves.

Even people who wouldn’t normally pick up a book are often drawn to the irresistible allure of a beautifully crafted hardcover. 

They draw the eye and captivate the mind, pulling in those who didn’t even know they were into books until they spotted that gorgeous hardcover.

They also have…


They’re built to last. 

With their sturdy and protective outer shells, hardcovers are less prone to damage. 

No more dog-eared pages or bent covers. 

Your favorite novels and biographies can withstand multiple readings and look brand new. 

This extra durability makes hardcovers an excellent choice for those treasured books you’ll want to revisit time and time again.


This means more profit for authors and publishers when they sell. 


Hardcover books cost more, and people are more than willing to cough up a few extra bucks to get their hands on the latest and greatest as soon as it hits the stands and shelves. 

Think about the rush of being first. 

Something is intoxicating about it, right? 

Being the first person in line for the latest iPhone, the first to taste the newest flavor of your favorite ice cream, or the first to score tickets to the hottest concert  — getting your hands on the latest hardcover for a favorite book is exactly like that.

It’s a well-calculated business move. 

If done right, it can also…

Appeal to specific buyers

Smiling Woman Wearing a Sun Hat and Reading a hardcover Book

Some readers love hardcovers’ look, feel, and durability. They wouldn’t settle for less. 

Catering to the preferences of these buyers can help you sell more copies. 

They could be collectors, always searching for first editions or special printings. 

Or they’re voracious readers who appreciate the longevity because they plan to read, reread, and then read their books some more.

Or they might be gifting a book – hardcovers make for impressive presents. 

Understanding your audience and offering the right type of cover can lead to more sales.

Especially if you have good taste in…

Decoration and display

You can tell a lot about a person by the kind of books they read. 

A whole lot of the story comes from how the book looks.

It makes quite a statement in your living room or study and tells visitors you mean business regarding literature. 

Plus, with the advent of jacketed case laminate books, you enjoy attractive cover art even without the dust jacket. 

Lastly, it is meant to be…

Suitable for large or complex works

With their sturdy binding, hardcovers can easily bear the weight of numerous pages, high-quality paper, and heavy ink without falling apart. 

Whether you’re reading a complex masterpiece, flipping through an artistic anthology, or exploring a scientific work, they’re more than just books – they’re a statement and a testament to your refined taste in literature. 

Plus, they look much better sitting on your coffee table, don’t they? 

Now going back to the first question from the start…

How much does it cost to publish a hardcover a book?

Green and Blue Labeled Books

Self-published authors shoulder the expense of publishing hardcover editions for their books. The average cost range from a few hundred to thousands of dollars.

For instance, it can be up to $2,000 for an editor and $750 for a book cover designer.

As for formatting, anywhere from $30 to a few thousand dollars. 

Remember, these are just averages, and your costs might be lower or higher depending on your book’s specific requirements.

Then comes the actual printing cost. 

This depends on factors like page count and ink type. For instance, if you’re going with Amazon, they have a formula for calculating this cost: a fixed cost plus the page count multiplied by the per-page cost. 

For a 300-page black ink hardcover book sold on the US marketplace, this would come out to about $9.10.

Now the most important question…

Do authors make more money from hardcover books?

It depends on many factors, including the publishing method, genre, and royalty agreements. 

If you decide to self-publish, you might receive higher royalties per book, which could mean more money for each hardcover you sell. 

Yet, working with a large publisher could be more profitable overall since you might sell more books, even if your royalties per book are lower. 

So, while hardcovers usually have a higher price point and thus more potential revenue, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll always bring in more profit.

If your book belongs to a genre that’s more suited to hardcover, like cookbooks, you might make more money selling hardcovers than paperbacks. 

So, the book’s content and target audience also play a crucial role.

Generally, an author can get roughly 20 to 30% of the publisher’s revenue for a hardcover, 15% for a trade paperback, and 25% for an eBook. 

So, every hardcover that “earns out” brings the author something like 25% of all revenue earned by the publisher.

But keep in mind that these rates can vary depending on your publisher and your individual agreement.

It all depends on your circumstances, book, and publishing strategy. 

Now if you consider this, you might be thinking about…

How to choose the best printing service for the hardcover edition of your book

Close-up Photo of Black Typewriter

Depending on your budget, you might want to opt for print-on-demand (POD) services that combine quality and affordability. 

For instance, services like the one provided by Reedsy offer customizability, and their cost for a typical print run of a 200-page, 6″ x 9″ book can be as low as $3.25 per book for runs of over 2,000. 

Knowing your budget and how many books you want to print can help narrow your options.

Design is another crucial factor. 

If you’re looking for the total package, you’ll need a service to help you design your book inside and out. 

Some printers even provide your designer templates, formatting options, and everything else they need to prepare print-ready files. 

Sites like Lulu even offer free design templates for your book size.

But what if you’re not the design guy? 

Well, there’s help for you too! 

Many book printing services offer print-on-demand options to help you self-publish a high-quality book. 

These include Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing, IngramSpark, and Lulu.

Services like QinPrinting, which has 25 years of success in the industry and high-quality products, or Blurb, known for their easy-to-use online tools and focus on highly visual works, are options worth considering.

Now the most important part: making your book a distraction for readers.

Basically all about…

Deciding on the content

It’s the equivalent of first impression on a person. 

You can tell a lot from the first glance. 

Too uptight? 

Too pretty? 

Just dull?

It’s the same with books; the cover must grip the reader’s interest but not too hard. 

It must be intriguing enough to make them want to know more, yet not immediately give away all the secrets.

It’s not just the captivating image or the title that grabs your attention; it’s the whole package. 

It speaks to you. It feels like it was designed just for you. 

More importantly, focus on the…

Interior and Cover Design

Two things: the technical side and the artistic side. 

This is where you get to control how your readers will interact with the content of your book – everything from fonts and spacing to margins and chapter headings.

A well-thought-out book interior can take your readers’ experience to another level. 

If all this sounds overwhelming, remember that tools like IngramSpark’s Book-Building Tool can help you with pre-designed layouts and customizations.

The next one would be…

Determining what type of art you want

This is the fun part: you can dream up the perfect artwork representing your story. 

Recent trends suggest layering and abstract shapes are all the rage. 

Consider what you want your book to communicate at first glance. Focus on your book’s themes and atmosphere. Decide on what to put in and what to leave out. 

And after you should…

Provide the right templates

You’re going to need templates for the cover. 

They need an editable version of the final design, web preview images, and a link to purchase commercial fonts or images. 

And lastly, consider the…

Printing and design costs

Budgeting for these is crucial. 

Remember that design costs can vary widely based on your preferences.

And printing costs will depend on book size, paper type, and the quantity you order.

And after that would be…

Choosing a self-publishing platform

There are many options for a publisher for a hardcover book when you’re a self-published author, and we want the best one.

Once you find what you’re looking for, list your requirements, preferences, and inspirations. 

To start, prepare…

What you need to give your printer

Prepare print-ready files to hand off to your printer. 

These files typically include a PDF of your interior and cover design and any special instructions for the printer. 

If your book contains images, ensure they are high-resolution to avoid any unpleasant surprises in the printed version. 

And remember to double-check everything before sending it off – it’s much easier to fix a problem in digital files than on a printed page!

And consider the…

Options a good printer should give you

A good printer is more than a piece of machinery – it’s your partner in bringing your book to life. 

They should be able to provide your designer with templates, formatting options, and any other resources they need to prepare print-ready files. 

Some printers even offer ISBN assignment, barcode generation, and copyright registration. 

Once they give you that, do a…

Checking proof

This preliminary version of your book allows you to see exactly how it will look once printed. 

You’ll want to check everything from the layout to the color reproduction to the quality of the images. 

It’s also the last chance to catch typos or errors before the final print run. 

And then it’s the time for… 

Shipping and distribution

Platforms like Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) allow you to list your book for sale online and ship copies directly to readers. 

They can be a great way to reach a local audience and host book signings and other events. 

Regardless of your distribution strategy, remember that marketing your book is as important as writing it

As a self-published author, doing all these yourself may not be the best option. Leaders Press can help you with this and any step of the publishing process. Check out our services, or contact your publishing director about your options.

Binding things up

Consider your audience, genre, and budget, and then make an informed choice. 

Remember, we’re playing the long game here. 

Being a self-published author doesn’t limit you to e-books; think of every hardcover book as an investment, a small piece of real estate in someone’s home or library. 

If you play your cards right, hardcovers can be a game-changer for you as an author.

Discover the 17 Steps to Creating a Best-selling Business Book

Scroll to Top