Self-publish your creative work with Off the Common!

We are always willing to discuss any printing project, big or small, near or far, and to work with you to meet your requirements, timeframe and budget.

What’s the difference between publishing and self-publishing?

When we publish a book, it’s a joint venture between Levellers Press and the author. We take on the financial responsibility of the project and have some say in design and content considerations. We will host a book launch, list the book on our website as well as on, and often sponsor or assist the author with other readings and events. We process and track all sales of the title and issue royalty payment 1-2 times per year. Most of our Levellers authors live in Western Massachusetts which is our core market area.

Off the Commons Books is a form of assisted self-publishing. In order to provide an ISBN to an author, we must have some relationship with the title and we do this by acting as a limited distributor. The books must be available in our stores and/or on our webstore on a consignment basis. The author still retains all financial responsibility as well as all control over the title.

In self-publishing, we follow all of the same production steps as with publishing, but the author is wholly financially responsible for the production and pays for the books upon completion. The books belong to the author to do with as he or she wishes.

How much does it cost?

There are many factors that influence the price of a book: color print, stock choice, dimensions, cover options, etc. and we’d be happy to work up an estimate for you at any time. The best thing to do is to bring in or email your materials and a book you like the look of and we can get you an idea of a price. A very, very rough estimate for a simple 6 x 9” book is 3¢/page +$5 each.

We charge $100/hour for design and layout work which roughly works out to be about $3 – $5 per page. This is in addition to production costs for printing the completed book.

My book is already formatted for printing, do I have to pay you to do it again?

Not necessarily. If you like the way it looks and it conforms to printing requirements, we’ll go with it. However, if this is a title we are publishing, we may have some input. We do recommend that you and/or your designer check in with us at some point in the design process so we can check for any pitfalls.

Do you do any text editing?

Currently, we don’t offer any copyediting services for self-publishing projects. We work with Levellers’ authors to establish what editorial needs the manuscript might have. Cost are often rolled into the “startup” or shared with the author if the editorial needs are extensive. We are happy to refer you to a copyeditor. Your manuscript should be well-edited and checked for grammar and spelling before the layout process begins.

Can I have an index?

Indexing is a process that has not yet been well automated and is very laborious. We have sources for indexing and some customers have chosen to create their own indexes. In either of these cases an index can be included. Indexing should not be done until the proofing stage is complete.

Can I include photos/color/graphs/charts, etc.?

Yes, you can include just about anything you want as long as the material is either copyright-free or you have documented permission to reproduce it. Color does increase the price.

What are the standard sizes?

6” x 9” is a popular size but we can do just about any size up to 12” (bind edge) x about 9.”

Do you offer hard cover binding?

Hard cover binding is substantially more expensive than perfect binding. We are currently exploring various options in order to be able to offer this service. Feel free to ask about our current status.

If you are going to bring us files:

raw text files – word processing files that we are going to reformat, should be in the .rtf format, although .txt and .doc are also acceptable. Do try to combine all of your text files into one document.

image files should be in the .jpg format at 300 dpi at the size at which they will be printed. If the images are currently inserted into a word file, they should also be included as standalone .jpg files.

files from a designer should be in .pdf format with font and images embedded and the cover design should also be provided in the native application and/or an unflattened .pdf.

Can I get an ebook?

We can create an ebook for you whether or not we do the layout or the printing. The layout rate for ebooks is also $75/hour and we can provide Kindle, ibook, Nook or Google Play formats.

Collective Copies