Novelist Joe Konrath has an excellent post today explaining the financial reasons why paying to have your book "published" by POD vanity press is a really, really bad idea.
Let’s do the math. You’ve got to give the bookstore a 40% discount.
So you’ll sell them the books for $11.40 each. That leaves you with a
$5.70 profit per book. Not bad. But out of that comes the Happy Press
Package fee, the printing cost, shipping the book to bookstores, and
the effort to just get the bookstores to carry you (an effort that
traditionally published authors don’t have to make.)
Also figure in a 50% return rate.
you get 1000 books into stores, and sell 500, you’ll make $2850.
Subtract the $5700 (the cost of printing 1000 books at the 70%
discount) and subtract the package cost ($5000 for all the set up fees.)
You’ve only lost $4900, selling 500 books.
If you sell 2000 (which means you’ll have to ship 4000) your total cost would be:
$5000 set-up package
$22800 book printing costs
minus $11400 profit
Which means you’re losing $16400.
What a deal!