Recipe Books.

Cookbooks or recipe books are fantastic to have on a shelf, and very useful to have as a product to sell for profit or fundraising. Many organisations have made thousands of dollars and lifted their profile by selling their very own cookbook.

We frequently get emails sent asking an innocent question such as “could you tell me about the cost involved with cookbook printing?”. This small question elicits the mother of all emails in response so I have taken the liberty of compiling the best answers into this informative guide to recipe book printing!

I come from a marketing background so that is where I always want to start. If you start here you will build a picture that helps you make all the decisions further down the track:

  • who do you want to buy the book?
  • what book do they want to buy?
  • how much do they want to pay?
  • how many do you think you can sell?

From this information you can work out if you are better off with a cheap and cheerful book, or more of a premium keepsake. ​You could just ask a few people a question something like this:

We are planning to produce a cookbook for fundraising to help pay for ______. There are a few options: one is a stapled $15 book, the second is $30 and could be wire bound or paperback style, or we could go for a hardcover keepsake and it would be $48.

Now that you have an understanding of who you’re selling your book to and what they want it to be like it makes the rest of the process much easier! Instead of getting caught up in theoretical discussions you can constantly go back to the feedback which will serve as a guide.

  1. Market Research.
  2. Content Creation. (collecting recipes, taking photos, collecting artwork for advertisements). Then assembling all recipes into one tidy Word doc, all photos into one folder, all ads into one folder.
  3. Editing.
  4. Design. Cover design, and interior layouts (typesetting and image layouts).
  5. Proofing.
  6. Production. Printing and binding.

I understand cook book production is often organised by committees who want to know upfront prices! Oh the joy. So here are some very rough costs that you can use to start your conversation.

Saddle Stitched

  • Stapled and folded
  • 64 pages
  • 210x280mm portrait
  • CMYK colour throughout
  • Qty of 400
  • Unit cost $7.62 +gst

Perfect Bound/ Spiral Bound

  • A5 Portrait 100 pages
  • 60 pages printed CMYK colour
  • 40 pages printed black only
  • Qty of 400
  • Unit cost $8.50 +gst

Hard Cover (produced offshore so allow a 12-16 week turnaround time)

  • 200mm Square
  • Hardcover: 3mm board, smythe sewn, case wrapped with 150gsm gloss, printed CMYK colour and laminated
  • Text: 120gsm coated matte, CMYK colour, 100 pages.
  • Qty of 600
  • Unit cost $12.60 +gst

How much money could we make? A common question.

Heaps or nothing at all. Ask yourselves those marketing questions and know thy audience.

Other questions to consider:

Who is going to do the design? The design of the book can make or break the whole aesthetic. We can print from supplied PDF files or work with you to design a great looking book – click here to see our page layout services or here for cover design packages.

How are you going to collect the recipes? If they are supplied by email as a word document it will be easy to then copy them into your design programme. Sometimes a competition with a complimentary recipe book as a prize will bring in more contributions.

A hypothetical story…

A school studies their students and families and they realise most can’t afford a lot of extra expenses but would find a recipe book useful and like to support their school so would pay $25 per book.

They have 600 families attend, and estimate 50% of families will buy one, 15% of families will buy 2, 15% will buy 3 and 20% will not buy any – which is a total of 750 books sold.

We work the numbers for them and they choose perfect binding with a 260gsm laminated cover to ensure the book looks great, and 50 pages with colour and 60 pages with just black to keep the cost down. Great, it only costs $5.60 ($6.44 incl GST) per book.

They then allow $3,500 for artwork and design, $520 for unexpected costs like coffee at committee meetings. So in total the costs come to $6,850 all up.

Uh-oh. We only sold 500. Don’t worry you still raised $3,650 of profit. Great job.


Great. We sold 750. That is fantastic. You turned over $18,750 with a net profit of $9,900.

Plus. Any money you raised through sponsorship or advertising revenue.

Binding Types Explained

Perfect Binding. Is great for higher value books where presentation is important. It has a very upmarket look and feel, and stores nicely on shelves.

Saddle Stitch Binding. Can be a great option if you really want to get a cookbook produced for as cheap as possible. Magazine style recipe books, or monthly/periodical health recipe books are often produced like this.

Spiral Binding. The traditional option. It has the benefit of laying flat when open. It is slightly more expensive than perfect binding due to the material costs of the metal wire.

Hardcover Binding. The premium option. When your target market appreciates and wants to pay for the best. With our offshore print partners, we can get you some unbelievably good costs on longer run (600+) hardcover books. Or we can produce artisan books locally.

Get your book on its way.