I've used CreateSpace one time, to publish a print version of one of my very short reference books. I don't think I've ever sold a single copy of it. Mostly I wanted to see what the process would be like.
Now I'm thinking of using CreateSpace to create print versions of a couple of my bigger and more popularly oriented ebooks. My question is, how many pages is too many, from a pricing perspective? If I have to put too high a price on it in order to cover what CreateSpace would take, plus make some kind of profit, I might simply be pricing myself out of my market.
The books I'm considering doing this with are 250 to 300 pages each, going by the Amazon page estimate that shows on the ebooks' sales pages (which I know could be significantly different from an actual printed book, but it's what I have to go on for now.)
Is there a sweet spot for CreateSpace-published books in terms of size, price, or both?
I understand that. I am not concerned with the maximum number of pages it's physically possible for a CreateSpace book to be. I'm trying to get some idea of the line at which a book would become prohibitively expensive to produce, and therefore no one would be likely to buy it. I realize this is very subjective and hard to predict. But whereas I can see people possibly paying $8, $12, or even $15 for a print version of one of my books, I don't expect anyone would spring for $30 for it (for example).
I was able to price a 370 page book (5.5 x8.5) at 13.95 (including expanded distribution but I don't make much on expanded distribution), so I think you'll be fine at your page counts but there's a tool that will help you figure this out:
Click on royalties and scroll down. There's a chart there where you can plug print options and prices and run all the scenarios you like to see how they come out. (Note that expanded distribution is optional so you don't have to worry about that unless you plan to use it.)
There's no generic "sweet spot" for a book's price, and "too long" only really comes into play when readers feel a book is unnecessarily padded. If your subject is technical (are you the one with genealogical books?) your thoroughness dictates the length. My experience with readers of obscure, technical or specialised subjects is that they are not only willing to pay more, but expect to. For example, I would charge less for an history of the entire Midlands Railway, than I would for a book about a specific branch line of the Midlands Railway covering 1888-1889.
My earlier post was more in answer to the question you listed in your title.
I think 400 pages is too long for a POD book, but there are some who claim to be happy with their (gulp) 700-page CreateSpace paperbacks. The problem is the binding. There aren't "signatures" of 16 or 32 pages which are sewn together, a process that enables a book to lay almost flat. Instead the pages are clamped together, cut off flat, and glue applied to the ends and a cover slapped on.
And yes, a 700-page book costs more than a 400-page one, and 400 pages costs more than 200. My favorite range is somewhere in the 200s. People won't be disappointed that the book is too short, but it won't run up the price to $15. (I do have a $15 book. It's 340 pages.)
There are people on the Kboards Writers Cafe who declare that we all under-price our books, that we should price them to compete with trade paperbacks, even though trade paperbacks are really more valuable. I try to stay within the range of $9.95 to $12.95.
I agree with NJ on this one. I recently converted an 1100 page Kindle book to CS, to see if it was viable (Includes 250 photos varying in size). I found conversion relatively simple, but this one came out at 750 pages in 6x9 format. I purchased a test copy and although all looked OK, I figured it was just too big for various reasons (inc durability as NJ mentioned) Combined with delivery and postal costs I decided to split it into two books (Which fortunately this one can do as it's about the Space Race). With some editing it should come in at about 350 pages each. So I'd recommend keeping within the limits mentioned.