MakePlayingCards.com (MPC) and TheGameCrafter.com (TGC) approach pricing differently. MPC covers most of their company-wide costs in the Production Cost, with a small additional fee to pay out designers’ profits. TGC charges a larger feee for offering a game (deck) in their on-line marketplace; with lower costs for designers to buy their own games.

So my cost to buy the new Sister Flirt’s Holographic Cards from MPC (US$39.25) is more than double the cost at TGC (US$19.43). On a single deck the Shipping Charges from MPC appear to be a few dollars less; insignificant compared to the much higher MPC merchandise cost. My cost to purchase The Tarot of Sister Who from MPC is US$51.28 (as of today’s draft version) and US$36.09 from TGC.

The Designer Royalty at TGC works out to 19.6% of the retail price for Sister Flirt and 13.8% for The Tarot of Sister Who. The percentages at MPC are noticeably less, as the royalty amount is very nearly the same, but with a much higher retail price.

These royalty rates are significantly higher than most traditional publishing contracts. However, the expected sales volume for either item is significantly less, and the designer is totally responsible for the funds and time required to market their creation.

Of course pricing is but one consideration for most designers. Not an unimportant one. Quality of the materials & processes used, neatness of the final package, delivery time, and communication with the designer (and for some of us, the end-user) are also factors. See my Sister Flirt case study as I work through publishing, buying, and marketing that new deck through each company’s online marketplace.

MakePlayingCards.com (MPC)

Pricing and Profit at MPC
As your project is designed the MPC site shows you the production cost as you’ve customized it- card stock, custom (or blank) packaging, inserts or other upgrades. Their system automatically generates and displays volume pricing from 1 to 15,000 copies. I’ve screen-capped a few examples (click on image for a larger version).

To add your design to their Marketplace the system prompts you as to what percentage mark-up to add; showing you the resulting sales price. MPC will take 5.0% of the resulting profit as their processing fee, and send via PayPal once you’ve reached a US$100.00 minimum payout.

Sister Flirt’s Holographic Meditations

US$39.25 – MPC Production Cost
+$5.50 – Designer mark-up at 14%
US$44.75 – Retail Selling Price.

MPC processing fee, 5% of $5.50= $0.28
Designer Net proceeds US$5.22
This design is available now at MPC.

The Tarot of Sister Who

Custom Printed 2 Piece Hard Box:
US$51.28 – MPC Production Cost
+$6.67 – Designer mark-up at 13%
US$57.95 – Retail Selling Price.

MPC processing fee, 5% of $6.67= $0.34
Designer Net proceeds US$6.33

Blank Tuck Box:
US$33.05 – MPC Production Cost
+$5.95 – Designer mark-up at 18%
US$39.00 – Retail Selling Price.

MPC processing fee, 5% of $5.95= $0.30
Designer Net proceeds US$5.65
As Sister Who requested this item be affordable for as many folks as possible, it was decided to offer the plain tuck box version at US$19.00 less than the hard box.

TheGameCrafter.com (TGC)

Pricing and Profit at TGC
The GameCrafter has all their production costs per item displayed on their website; anyone can, if they wish, calculate the standard production cost for a game, or deck. Note that TGC does offer designers a discount for ordering multiple copies at once, and incremental discounts based on annual volumes (calculated weekly).

A designer sets their selling price as part of creating a more robust sales page in TGC’s marketplace. Payout is the Monday after an order is 30 days old (or after it has shipped if later).

Sister Flirt Meditations

Deck Production Cost:
US$3.99 Custom tuck box (1 sheet)
$11.98 Poker-size Holo cards (2 sheets)
$0.75 UV Coating (3 sheets)
$1.82 Folio insert
$0.89 Base Fee
US$19.43 Production Cost

US$27.00 Retail Selling Price
$19.43 Less Production Cost
$7.57 Initial Designer Markup

TGC marketing fee, 30% of $7.39= $2.27
Designer Net proceeds US$5.30
This design is now available at the TGC website.

The Tarot of Sister Who

Deck Production Cost:
US$7.95 Small Stout Box
$22.40 Jumbo cards (14 sheets)
$3.50 UV Coating (14 sheets)
$1.35 Document insert
$0.89 Base Fee
US$36.09 Production Cost

US$44.99 Retail Selling Price
$36.09 Less Production Cost
$8.90 Initial Designer Markup

TGC marketing fee, 30% of $8.90= $2.67
Designer Net proceeds US$6.23
Both the complete Jumbo Size deck and the Majors+ Standard Size deck are available in the TGC Marketplace.