Understanding the Trade Discount in Print-on-Demand (POD) Distribution

A “trade discount” is the percentage of a book’s retail price that a retailer (e.g., a bookstore or Amazon) or wholesaler (e.g., Ingram) earns from the sale of an author’s book.

The standard trade discount in book publishing is 55 percent. A “short discount” is anything under 55 percent. If you set your trade discount below this percentage, few, if any, physical bookstores or other retailers will give your book a second look. Traditional publishers often use a short discount for books like backlist titles that aren’t expected to sell through brick-and-mortar stores.

Example: A 200-page, 6×9, black-and-white interior POD paperback with a glossy cover selling on BN.com for $14.99

-$8.24 (55% trade discount)
$6.75 (net profit)
-$3.86 (print cost for book sold through third-party retailer)
$2.89 (profit)

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