General Rates

We work within many budgets. These are our typical offerings.

  • Basic
  • starting at
  • Our basic package for book cover design.
  • 3-6 unique cover concepts
  • 3 rounds of revisions
  • Preparation of press ready files
  • *Author provides images/art or clear direction for cover concept for our lowest rate
  • Let's start
  • Step Up
  • starting at
  • Our most common cover and layout package.
  • 3-6 unique cover concepts
  • Text book layout design (no images, 200 pages)
  • 3 rounds of revisions of both the cover and layout
  • Preparation of press ready files
  • Let's start
  • Next Level
  • starting at
  • An ideal package for a hardcover book with full color page layout.
  • 3-6 unique cover concepts
  • Book layout design with extras (graphs, images, charts etc)
  • 3 rounds of revisions of both the cover and layout
  • Preparation of press ready files
  • Let's start
  • Moon Walk
  • starting at
  • Great for cookbooks, coffee table books, family histories...
  • 6+ unique cover designs and layout to match
  • Explore unique printing/packaging
  • Develop various marketing/sales tools
  • Preparation of press ready files
  • Let's start

The above rates reflect our most common fee structures, we would be happy to discuss your project in detail to get a better sense of
your unique needs and provide you a custom estimate. Take a look below to see other services that may be useful to you.

Out of the Box

A few add-on items that we offer that may be of interest

We offer a variety of additional services that go beyond our usual offerings. Take a look and see how we can help you take your book further.

E-Book Conversion: We offer e-book conversion of your book for all major mobile/e-reader formats.
Price varies
Based on page count/layout complexity
Printing: We use a varied network of printers, both domestically and overseas. We would love to get you a print quote and explore various printing and binding treatments that would benefit your book.
Price varies
Based on print run
Short-run, Custom Printing: Sometime you require a small print run of 500 or less copies of a book. Maybe it's for a family photo album, a high-end photography book, portfolio, or annual report. Often these types of projects benefit from some specialty printing treatments and binding. For such project, we work with Edition One Books, who specialize in high-end custom printing.
Price varies
Based on print run
Audiobooks and Trailers: We work with a number of great narrators and video editors to help you reach your readers in unique ways.
Starting at $1500
$85 per hour • Rates vary depending on length and complexity and raw footage/track costs.
Editorial Services: We collaborate with a network of editors to bring your book to top form. Making sure your book reads well is as important as the design and layout. We can provide both manuscript editing (also called copyediting or line editing, but distinct from developmental editing) and proofreading, and/or pair you with an editor to really overhaul your manuscript and make sure it's ready for its debut.
Price varies
Based on word count
Author Website: An author website provides an essential meeting place to connect with your audience—a place where readers can meet you as an author and interact with you to whatever extent you wish. We can design and program a site for you that is clean, easy to navigate, informative and engaging.
Starting at
Author/Publisher Branding: Our branding service is very much focused on giving your company a professional appeal. That may include developing an elegant logo for your indie publishing venture, or creating essential marketing collateral in the form of business cards, brochures, displays, advertisements and more. Success in the field of publishing is very much dependent on how your brand is portrayed and consistently applied across all of your marketing materials.
Starting at

We would love to talk with you about your specific needs and goals. Every project is different and has many moving parts. We'll work with you to define your vision and put it all in an attractive package. Sometimes it's about working with illustrators, photographers or someone who can do some amazing hand-lettering. Or maybe your book needs to have some other special features that will make it stand apart? Whatever it is, theBookDesigners can assist with it. Below you'll find a list of FAQs. It's a great place to familiarize yourself with various terms and common practices in book publishing.

The Straight FAQs

How long does the entire design process take?

Typically we will have a cover concept for you to review 3–5 days before starting the project. After that, we will go back and forth a few times to try to achieve the desired result. Once we have approval on a cover, we will create a sample interior design for your review. This typically takes 3–5 days. Once again, we will go back and forth with you a few times before continuing on to the full layout, which typically takes about 1–3 weeks depending on a number of factors (e.g., design complexity and extent of feedback/changes). Most simple, text-driven books will be a 1- to 2-month process from start to finish.

How much will the fee be for me to design and print 50-500 copies of my book?

Our general design rates would apply, so starting at $750 with additional fees depending on the inclusion of certain options and services. To be clear, we are not printers. However, we work with many printers, and while we'll look for a perfect printer for you, most of them won't handle small print runs. The cost of printing is not included in our basic fee structure. It is quoted from one of our trusted printing vendors. If you are looking for a small run, your best bet is using a POD (print on demand) service like Lighting Source, Lulu or Createspace. They will be able to accommodate a small print run, and we are more than capable of getting your files ready for POD printing. Companies like Blurb may also offer options for smaller custom print runs. We do work with Edition One Books, who specialize in high-end custom printing, binding, and small print runs.

Are there any additional fees that we should expect to encounter throughout the design/layout process?

Occasionally a project goes beyond our estimated parameters and the need arises to expand the initial budget to cover our additional time. This scenario is rare, as we take necessary precautions to ensure it doesn't happen. It is possible, however, though you would be notified of any additional fees well in advance. Other costs that may be incurred relate to the licensing of images (often photography or illustration) from outside sources such as stock-image agencies or commissioned independent artists. If the need arises for such work in your project, we'll consult with you and present a revised estimate before proceeding.

Do you provide information about the copyright page/barcode/ISBN number?

No, we request that it be provided to us. is a good resource from which to obtain ISBN numbers with barcodes.

Are your rates industry standard?

Yes. In most cases, professional book cover design fees start at $1,500. But the general range is $800–$1500 for a book cover, and about the same for a simple text-driven layout design. While there are many companies and freelancers that may offer significantly lower rates, it's usually very apparent in the final product. With nearly 20 years of experience in publishing, we pride ourselves on a thorough knowledge of the publishing industry. We work with many of the top publishing houses and have helped countless indie publishers get the exposure they deserve. Many of our indie clients take advantage of our other services as well, as they find it's convenient and results in a more consistent visual tone for all of their various marketing needs. We'd love to discuss your specific needs and see how we can work together to create something we're all proud of.

What do these terms mean:

Throughout the process of designing your book, you will often hear a few of the following terms. If you are uncertain about what they mean, please ask us! We love to shed light on the workings of our industry and craft. Here are a few terms that you may find useful.

Trim size:

This refers to the dimensions of your physical book, as well as your page size. The two may or may not be the same, depending on if you are doing a hardcover (hardback) with a dust jacket or a softcover (paperback). While there are standard sizes for books (that fit well on most shelves and are easy to hold and read), there really is no “standard size." We'll discuss what your best options are, of course. Sometimes they're based on the type of printer you choose, other times they're determined by the orientation of images in your book or other design and layout considerations.

Page count:

This is the amount of pages to which your book flows. So it's not your raw manuscript in question, but rather the file that we have designed and prepared for you. The number of pages found in that file will be your page count. Your book's page count influences many factors: the cost of your book, the spine size, the thickness and feel of your book in a reader's hands, binding types and more. We will help you achieve a page count that suits your needs.

Word count:

This often refers to the actual word count of your raw manuscript file. Knowing it allows us to gauge the amount of pages your book will be in a normal, readable font size.

Image resolution:

Images that are destined to be printed on paper need a resolution of roughly 300 to 400 dots per inch (dpi). This refers to the quality of your images. Images that are not at the correct size/resolution for printing will print poorly, often lacking sharpness and clarity or appearing pixelated. You can expect them to print out blurry and look cheap and lower in quality. An image resolution of 72 dpi up to 250 dpi is often too small for reproduction unless the size is very large. We can determine if your images are adequate for print reproduction and help you achieve the best possible image resolution—and therefore the best possible result.


The term RGB stands for red, green and blue. This is the light source/color space with which your computer screen displays images. While some things may look great on-screen, they will not reproduce with the same tonal quality or vibrancy they appear to possess when viewed on a monitor.

The color space/mode/range that most printing presses use is called CMYK, or cyan, magenta, yellow and black inks. These four inks are used in the printing process to achieve all arrays of colors needed for most printing. Occasionally special inks may be employed to achieve a certain level of vibrancy in an image. A common color system used for specialty inks is Pantone. All files destined for print must be converted from the RGB color space to CMYK, in order for them to reproduce properly. We will guide you through this process, but in most cases it's not something you need to worry about.

1 color printing and 2, 3, 4 color printing:

Most simple text layouts use a single color: black. This is typical of most text-driven books or books using standard black-and-white photographs (halftones). One-color printing is generally used for book interiors. However, a cover may sometimes look best in a single color as well (though rarely). Two- and three-color printing is referred to as duotone or tritone. These printing processes use black and one or two additional accent colors typically. It may prove to be a nice touch to have an accent color throughout your book, as opposed to just using a standard black. Usually this type of printing, beyond just black, will incur additional printing costs. Four-color printing uses the CMYK color mode, although special inks may be substituted. Four-color printing is for books that require the reproduction of photographs and images in their original/full-color ranges. So, in most cases, photography books, architectural books, cookbooks and the like will benefit from a four-color (CMYK) printing process. Additional printing features like varnishes (used to bring out colors and preserve ink on paper) can also be applied, as well as a matte varnish/finish.

• 1C=1 color (typically black, but it can be a single specialty ink of any color).
• 4C=Full color (or 4 color, CMYK printing).
• 5C+=4 color printing plus an additional spot ink/custom ink. This could be a metallic ink or simply a custom mixed ink besides the standard CMYK colors.
• Special inks=Custom mixed inks or color ink libraries like Pantone (PMS). A project can use only special inks and a project can end up being a 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6+ color job if only speciality inks are being used. This is typically done in silkscreen and can be done on press but can get pricey.


Book binding can take many forms: basic softcover, hardcover with jacket, case wrap (hardcover but no dust jacket), perfect binding, exposed binding and more. Binding basically refers to how your book pages are stitched together, or glued to a book block (the paper or chipboard that houses your book's pages).

Most projects require paperback (a flexible cardstock cover) or hardcover (a thick chipboard with a printed case wrapping) with dust jacket binding. We can help you explore other options, including slipcases (external cases that books can slip into), clamshells (box-like structures that books can be housed in) and much more.

Color proofs:

Also known as printer's proofs, these are samples sent from the actual printing press that show how your book cover and pages will print (usually these are big, untrimmed sheets). While an additional cost is incurred to see the proofs, it's well worth it in terms of gauging how your book will actually print. We'll look over the color proofs with you to see if there are any refinements that can be made to achieve the best final result in the printed piece.

Page signature:

If you look at how a book's pages are grouped together, you will see that they are bound in sections. These sections are groupings of pages that allow the book to be bound in the best possible way, ensuring durability. They also allow for the glue to bind properly to the spine of your book. The page signatures are important in some cases because they can dictate how many pages the book needs to be. A book may need to either stay under or above a certain page count, based on signature allowance. This is something we remain mindful of when designing your book layout.

Print on Demand (POD):

Sounds lovely, doesn't it? Well, it is. In fact, this printing process allows you to print only one copy of a book, if that's all you need. As with traditional printing, it may cost you more to print fewer books. Nonetheless, books are only printed when they are needed. POD printing is often a great option for the self-publisher/indie author who doesn't want to end up with a pallet of books in their garage that they have yet to discover an appropriate distribution channel for. We will assist you in deciding what your most economical printing options are.

Royalty free images, Rights managed images, licensing images:

Most of the art we use on our covers or interiors is sourced from various stock sites. In most cases we strive to use royalty-free images. Royalty-free means that you won't need to worry about paying additional fees for the images—the cost will be included in your original estimate. Once in a while, images may need to be sourced from rights-managed stock websites. In such an instance, you may need to pay an additional fee to use them. Prices vary, but rest assured you will be informed of our desire to use any such image well in advance of us charging you for it. We're nice like that.

The reason we may want to use a rights-managed image is that we can't always find the right images elsewhere, and we just happened to find the perfect image on a rights-managed website. We will do everything we can to try to use royalty-free art, but sometimes there's no way around it. What can we say? There are lots of photographers and artists out there doing great work and they want to get paid for it. Rates depend on how much of an image we use on the cover or interiors of your book. Sometimes we use a fraction of an image; other times we use the whole thing. Your licensing agreement with the stock house will stipulate how much it will cost you, how long you can use it for, if you can use it in other marketing ventures, etc. Again, we will guide you through the process and make sure you're getting what you need.

Print run:

The amount of copies of your book that will be printing.

  • “ The cover and layout are so professionally done and compelling. The whole design speaks to a high level of quality and style and I think that has a huge impact on book sales. ”

    — Cynthia Morris
  • “ I honestly couldn’t imagine a better cover. I get people telling how much they love the cover on a regular basis. ”

    — S.C. Barrus
  • “Thank you for making my dream come true! Your beautiful book design, Ian, moved me to tears the moment I saw it. Your project management and constant support throughout the process, Alan, was a dream. What an amazing team you make!”

    — Pupfish Press
  • “ Thank you for such quick turn-arounds, wonderful organization, your professionalism, and most of all your great ideas and solutions.”

    — Tracy Cunningham
  • “Thank you so much for your great work and incredible speediness!”

    — Laura Williams, Algonquin Press
  • “Thank you both so much for bringing Sweetly Seeking to life! I’m so over the moon with the design and whole feel of the book! You guys are the ‘Dream Team Designers!’ Looking forward to the next project with you!”

    — Sarah Dickey

By The Numbers

  • 15
    Years in Business
  • 381
    Trade publishers served
  • 1163
    Indie publishers served
  • 16