Reduce Print Costs

Understanding how print costs are calculated is a crucial part of a successful self-publishing journey. It can help you make informed decisions about your book’s design and pricing, and ultimately impacts your profitability. This tutorial aims to help you navigate Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP)’s print cost calculation and offers strategies to reduce these costs effectively.

KDP’s Print Cost Calculation

KDP’s print cost calculation is broken down into several components:

  • Print Type: the book’s format
  • Ink/Pages: the type of ink used and the page range
  • Fixed Cost: a set amount charged for each book
  • Additional Cost Per Page: an extra fee that varies depending on the number of pages

As of June 20th, 2023, KDP has announced a price increase for the fixed cost of all printed books, including both paperback and hardcover. This is to cover the higher productions costs, and is completely understandable, though may be a bit stressful for authors who are trying to protect their profits.

They will also be differentiating between Standard and Large trim sizes, with anything over 6.12” x 9” costing slightly more to print.

One final change is that the color print options will be split between Standard or Premium ink, with a slight decrease in costs for the Standard color print option.

While any price increase should be considered carefully, there are potential strategies you can use to maximize your profits as much as possible.

Strategies to Reduce Print Costs

  1. Optimizing Page Count: A significant part of KDP’s print cost is influenced by page count. To reduce costs, you might consider strategies such as tighter editing or modifying the book’s layout to reduce page count without sacrificing content quality.
  2. Choosing the Right Ink Type: Costs vary dramatically between black ink and color ink. If color is not essential for your content, choosing black ink can significantly reduce costs.
  3. Understanding Fixed and Additional Costs: Grasping these costs can help you make informed decisions about your book’s formatting and pricing. For example, if you’re nearing a page count threshold that will increase your Additional Cost Per Page, it might be more cost-effective to revise your layout to stay under that threshold.

Using Atticus to Estimate Print Costs

The programmers behind Atticus have created a calculator that allows you to input your book’s specifications and see the resulting print cost. It’s a great tool to experiment with different variables, such as trim size and page count, and see how they impact your overall cost.

To get the most out of this tool, have it open alongside Atticus, you can use the details about your book in Atticus to experiment with different trim sizes and page counts.

From within Atticus, click Formatting from the top center. Find your theme and Edit it.

Change the drop down menu above the Previewer to Print, so Atticus will render your changes and give you an accurate page count for your experimentation.

Scroll down to the Print Settings section.

Take note of the current trim size you have set, and the total page count you can find in parentheses below the Previewer.

NOTE: It can take a moment to render a preview of your book after each change, so please have patience. However, if your preview is not rendering, or you are not getting the total page count, we have a post to help you with some troubleshooting solutions.

Enter these details into the calculator to find out your current costs.

From this point, you can make some adjustments to reduce your costs and optimize your profits.

Using Atticus to Reduce Print Costs

We’ve already discussed a few strategies to help you reduce costs, and in this section we’ll discuss how you can use Atticus to put these strategies into practice.

Optimizing Formatting Settings

One of the reasons the print preview in Atticus takes a minute to render any changes is because nearly every change you make to your book can have an impact on the final page count. This means, that there are plenty of opportunities for you to adjust in small ways that may have a big impact.

You can work through each section, editing your theme and little by little to adjust the page count.

For example, changing the size of your headings or the image in your chapter header, or changing your paragraph settings from Spaced to Indented, can have a significant impact on the page count.

Similarly, if you’re using an ornamental scene break, adjusting the size slightly may change the number of sentences that can fit on each page, gradually adding up to fewer pages in your book.

If you have notes in your book, and you have it set to End of Chapter, by changing to End of Book, you may save several pages, depending on how many notes you use.

Of course, each of these elements should only be changed if the impact does not affect the quality of the book or your priorities in the layout. You can choose which elements are the most effective to adjust in your own book.

Optimizing Print Settings

Moving into the Print Settings, the changes become more obvious.

Each font family is a different size, some larger than others. Changing the font from Libre Baskerville to Lora, for example, may reduce the page count considerably.

The trim settings can also have a significant change. Moving from 5”x8” to 6”x9” will keep your book in KDPs Standard trim size category, but may reduce your page count enough to add profits for each book sold.

On the flip side, if you are currently printing at 6.14”x9.21”, that will jump in price considerably after June 20th. By sizing down to 6”x9”, you will increase the page count slightly, but moving within the Standard trim size boundaries will save you considerably more on print costs, and may be an important adjustment to make.

Moving into the Advanced Settings, you will want to be careful here, but minor adjustments can make a big difference.

You will always want to be sure you’re including margins large enough for your page count, but reducing them slightly can save pages. As can nudging your font size down one point, or reducing the line spacing.

With all of these decisions, you will always need to keep readability in mind. Adding to your profit per book is fantastic, but not if it leads to negative reviews because you’ve made the font so tight the book is difficult to read.


Understanding and optimizing print costs is an essential aspect of self-publishing. We hope that this tutorial has given you a better understanding of KDP’s print cost structure and provided useful strategies to help you reduce costs while maintaining the quality of your books.

Happy publishing!

Last Updated: 06/26/2023

Was this tutorial helpful?