Size matters. If your book is under 100 pages, it will not command the price you must get for your work. But do not pad your work.
Today many of the high-speed web presses print signatures of 48 pages. The most economical page counts are in even signatures. One signature (48 pages) or two (96 pages) will not command the price you want for your book. A good minimum page count is three signatures or 144 pages. Additionally, since paper is the most expensive component of a book, 288 pages (six signatures) is a good upper limit.
If you need to lengthen your book, add resources in an appendix. List relevant books, videos, courses, mailing lists, associations, suppliers, etc., that will make your book a valuable reference.
Other ways to lengthen the book while making it more valuable and more interesting include adding quotations, stories, illustrations, and/or chapter summaries, as well as designing the pages with plenty of white space.
Leigh Cohn took three 30-page pamphlets by his wife, Lindsey Hall, on bulimia and combined them into a single book. Then they added resources–a two-week program to stop binging and a guide for support groups. With 160 pages, Bulimia: A Guide to Recovery has been through five editions and has more than 100,000 copies in print.
Also, it led Cohn and Hall to establish their own publishing company, which now offers more than 20 titles, and to launch an eating disorder resource catalog and a clinical newsletter (see http://www.gurze.com to learn more).
Dan Poynter is the author of “The Self-Publishing Manual” and a past Vice-President of PMA. For information on his company, Para Publishing, and its guides on book publishing, visit http://parapublishing.com/.