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Cheapest Way to Publish a Book (7 Options)

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  • December 20, 2023
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  • 8 min read


Publishing a book is a dream for many, but the perceived costs often act as a deterrent. However, with the rise of self-publishing and many budget-friendly options, turning your manuscript into a published work is more achievable than ever. This guide will explore affordable publishing, covering everything from editing to marketing.

Affordable Publishing Book (7 Options)

If you want your book to have a good shot at getting published and you’re okay with waiting (it might take up to a year and a half after a publisher says yes), then traditional publishing is the route for you. But here’s the thing: only about 1% of submitted books get accepted, so there’s a high chance your book might be turned down.

With traditional publishing, if your book cuts, publishers will give you an advance payment before your book starts selling. They’ll also assist with promoting and getting your book out to readers. Some of the biggest publishing companies in the world are Penguin Random House, HarperCollins, and Book Writing Founders.

Several self-publishing options are available if you would rather publish your book yourself. The best choices for affordable publishing are:

1. Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP):

Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) is an affordable publishing service that lets writers publish and sell their books on the Kindle platform. There are two ways to publish: you can make your book available for anyone to buy, or you can make it exclusive to Kindle device users. With KDP, you can decide how much your book costs and change the price whenever you want. Plus, you earn money (royalties) every time someone buys your book.

KDP also gives you tools to help promote your book, like using Amazon’s search engine and sharing on social media like Twitter and Facebook. They even offer free services to help format your ebook and design the cover.

2. Apple Books:

Apple Books is a good choice if you want affordable publishing and to reach a wide audience of Apple device users. Like KDP, Apple Books offers a 70% royalty rate. However, there are a couple of things to note. Your book must be correctly formatted, and Apple provides a guide. Also, your book must go through an approval process before publication, which can take days to weeks.

There are different ways to publish with Apple Books. You can release it as a standalone ebook or include it in an iBooks bundle with print and audiobooks. You can decide if you want your book to be available for purchase or rent.

3. Barnes & Noble Press:

Barnes & Noble Press is a good option to sell your book in physical stores. They have two options: Publish and Distribute for $99, where Barnes & Noble handles printing and distribution, and Publish and Sell for $299, where they also handle marketing and sales. Remember that Barnes & Noble only accepts books between 80-300 pages long; if your manuscript is longer, you’ll need to split it into multiple volumes.

4. Kobo Writing Life:

Kobo Writing Life is a platform for self-publishing that lets you release your book in different formats like ePUB, PDF, and MOBI. You can set the book price and receive 70% of the royalties from sales. Kobo provides editorial and design services to help you make a high-quality ebook, and you can monitor your sales and royalties using their Writing Life dashboard.

5. StreetLib:

StreetLib operates on a commission basis, charging ten percent of the cover price (excluding VAT) for each sale. This commission covers the expenses of publishing and distributing your book, and there are no upfront costs or subscription fees. You can keep more of your book sales earnings than traditional publishing models.

6. XinXi:

XinXii is a prominent European platform for self-publishing and distributing eBooks independently. Like Amazon KDP, they charge a 70% fee on net sales.

When publishing with XinXii, a couple of considerations are important. Firstly, your book must be correctly formatted to be accepted into the store. Fortunately, they offer a comprehensive guide to help you with formatting. Secondly, your book will be approved before publication, which may take a few days to weeks. It’s essential to plan accordingly.

7. PublishDrive:

PublishDrive is a relatively new publishing service that facilitates getting your book into various stores, including Amazon, Google, and many others, for an annual fee of $100. They provide global distribution for unlimited titles within just two days and, notably, do not take any commission on your sales.

7 Tips to Affordable Publishing a Book

Minimizing the cost of publishing a book is important. Here are a couple of tips to help you do just that:

Tip #01: Plan Ahead

Take the time to plan before you start. Create a budget and timeline for your project. Identify the services you need and research their costs. The more detailed your planning, the better you can control expenses.

Tip #02: Self-Edit Before Employing an Editor

Edit your work carefully before hiring a book editing service. While a developmental editor can enhance your book, doing some self-editing can save you money. Rewrite and refine your manuscript as much as possible to minimize the need for extensive editorial services. This applies to both developmental editing and copy editing. By putting in the effort yourself, you can reduce the costs of professional editing services.

Remember, a well-edited manuscript saves you money and makes the publishing process smoother for everyone involved.

Tip #03: Make Use of Beta Readers

Before sending your manuscript to editors or agents, leverage beta readers. They provide valuable feedback on what works and doesn’t, helping you refine your work. This step can optimize your editing expenses by focusing on areas needing improvement.

Tip #04: Outsource Cover Design to Freelancers

Investing in a professionally designed cover is crucial for book visibility and sales. While book cover design services can be expensive, you can save money by outsourcing this task to freelancers on platforms like Fiverr or Upwork. Many talented designers offer cost-effective services that can give your book a polished and attractive look.

Tip #05: Use Print-On-Demand Services

Avoid the costs associated with printing large quantities of books by opting for print-on-demand (POD) services. POD allows you to print only the necessary copies, eliminating inventory expenses and reducing storage costs. Additionally, POD enables you to offer your book in various formats, such as paperback and hardcover, without requiring upfront investments.

Tip #06: Crowdfund Your Publishing Efforts

Consider crowdfunding to finance your publishing project without resorting to loans or maxing out credit cards. Platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo enable you to create campaigns, seeking donations from friends, family, and even strangers who believe in your book.

Tip #07: Self-Publish to Minimize Costs

Opt for self-publishing to have control over your expenses. With self-publishing, you cover costs like printing and marketing (unless you have marketing expertise). You won’t incur additional expenses such as agent commissions or author advances, resulting in more profits for yourself.

The key advantage is the absence of upfront costs, making it appealing, especially when finances are tight. However, weigh the commitment of time, money, energy, and expertise required for self-publishing and consider if these resources might be better utilized elsewhere in your business.

Overview of Hybrid Publishing

Hybrid publishing is a mix of two good things: traditional and self-publishing. Let me explain:

Imagine having a helper to make the cake. You still have control, but you get some support too. With hybrid publishing, authors can keep some independence and get professional help with editing, design, and other important stuff.

Balancing Cost and Benefits in Hybrid Models:

Now, let’s talk about money. Writing a book can cost a lot, and sometimes authors don’t have a big budget. Hybrid publishing tries to find a balance.

Explore the Cost Implications:

Authors need to think about how much money they can spend. Traditional publishing can be expensive, like buying a fancy cake. Self-publishing can be cheaper, but you do all the work, like baking a cake at home. Hybrid publishing is in the middle. It’s like buying a cake mix – not too pricey, and you still get something good.


How Can I Market My Book Without Spending a Fortune?

There are numerous cost-effective book marketing strategies, such as leveraging social media, reaching out to book bloggers for reviews, and participating in online forums. Building a strong author platform can enhance your book’s visibility over time.

How Can I Effectively Promote My Self-Published Book?

Self-publishing promotion is based on different factors, such as leveraging social media platforms, engaging with book bloggers, participating in virtual book tours, and considering running targeted online advertising campaigns. Building an author website and email list can also enhance your promotional efforts.

Are There Affordable Book Publishing Services That Include Promotion?

Yes, some book publishing services offer promotion packages as part of their comprehensive offerings. Look for services that include marketing and promotional support, editing, formatting, and distribution.


In this helpful guide, we’ve explored affordable publishing, covering everything from improving your writing to promoting your book. Remember, if you stay determined and make smart choices, you can publish your book without breaking the bank. It’s not only doable but also can make you happy. So, take the chance and make your manuscript a real book that people can read.

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