How do an outlet’s costings work?

If a copy shop signs up with Paperight, they’re able to sell print outs of books to customers as they ask for them. We have many books on our system: you can browse them here. Paperight print outs are usually very basic: A5 or A4 ring bound, black and white. But for many people they’re the cheapest, easiest way to get a printed book.

Here’s a detailed example of how the overall costing might work for a print-on-demand bookseller or copy shop. (This costing is in South African rands.)

General copy shop costs

Let’s say you rent a printer-copier from a company like Xerox, Canon or Konica Minolta.

  • Including all servicing, maintenance and toner, the rental might cost R1000 a month, not including a small ‘per click’ charge per printout.
  • Then, the ‘per click’ charge for a double-sided A4 printout might be 15c, depending on your lease contract.
  • The shop must also buy its own paper. This might cost 5c per sheet, depending where you buy it.

Paperight is not involved in this lease at all. That’s entirely up to the shop. The shop also sets its own profit margin, by deciding what it will charge customers for printing. For instance, many shops charge R1 per double-sided A4 sheet. In this example, that would mean a profit per sheet of 80c, or R80 for a 100-sheet printout. That R80 goes towards the shop’s overheads, including its monthly R1000 copier lease agreement.

So if the shop’s overheads total, say, R8000 a month, they’d need to sell 10 000 double-sided sheets a month to break even. That would likely comprise both general copying/printing services and Paperight book printing. (We’re assuming here that all printing is black and white, no colour.)

The shop may choose to buy a simple ring-binder, too. That might cost R500 once-off, and the materials about R2 per bind. They might then charge customers R10 to ring-bind a document.

Paperight setup costs

It’s free to join Paperight. After you sign up your shop, you choose how much money to put into your pre-paid Paperight account. When you download a book to print out, the publisher’s licence fee for that book is deducted from your pre-paid account.

Licence fees vary per book, usually ranging from about R10 to about R80.

As the copy shop, you’d charge your customer your usual printing charge (e.g. R1 per double-sided sheet) plus the licence fee. The website works that amount out for you.

Selling a book

Let’s say a customer asks for A Life by Mamphela Ramphele. The Paperight print-out of this will fit on 56 double-sided A4 sheets.

  • Publisher licence fee: about R60
  • Printing charges: 56 × R1 = R56
  • Ring binding: R10
  • Total customer price: R126

The traditional edition of that book might cost R190 in a bookstore. So, Paperight reduces the costs of books by:

  • cutting out the need for book distributors, shipping, warehousing and pre-printing
  • replacing the bookseller’s usual retail markup with the profits from printing
  • putting more bookstores close to people’s homes, to reduce the costs of travelling to distant bookstores.

While we focus on copy shops, there’s every reason for a bookshop or any other store with a good copier-printer to join, too, and expand their own offering with on-demand books.

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