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Clive Pyne Book Indexing Services
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Book Indexing: How Much Will It Cost To Index A Book?

The cost of indexing is directly related to time spent indexing the book, and the hourly rate that the indexer charges for indexing.

There are a number of factors that the indexer must consider when estimating the time it will take to index a book; and there are basically four (4) methods of calculating the indexing fee. Let me explain.

Time Spent Indexing A Book

The time spent indexing a book can be broken down into 3 components:
1.    The time spend reading a hard copy of the book and marking up the text for index entries, and notes in preparation for indexing entries; and
2.    The time spent entering and structuring key words and phrases in the indexing database (i.e. Cindex); and
3.    The time spent editing the index file, spell checking, doing quality control checks, and proofreading the index.

What Criteria Are Used to Determine the Indexing Fee?

The book indexer needs to estimate how long it will take to write the index; how difficult the text is to index; and the “average” number of index entries per page. The more indexable entries per page, the longer it will take to index the book. Generally speaking, scholarly book will be more expensive to index than trade books.

A. There are other factors that may increase the time required to index a book:
1.    The number of pictures, illustrations or tables in the book that need to be indexed.
2.    Complex, technical text usually requires the indexer to spend extra time both in reading, researching, and determining how to index the concepts.
3.    If the book has not been properly proofread and spell-checked, this can cause all sorts of problems for the indexer.
4.    Using a non-Adobe PDF-creator can cause all sorts of technical problems for the indexer: text does not copy correctly; it impossible to do PDF searches; and imported text can corrupt the indexer’s database.
5.    The Chicago Manual of Style is standard used by most indexers, but if the indexer is required to work with a publisher’s non-standard house style, it may require more time.
6.    Foreign language text frequently requires the indexer to insert special letters and characters, if the text was not properly coded.
7.    If the indexer has to consult various reference sources, this takes extra time.

B. Some other factors that may increase the indexing fee are:
1.    Short deadlines for the writing the index, usually means an extra charge (Rush-Rate) for working under pressure and during non-work hours.
2.    Last minute changes or revisions to the text means re-doing work, or re-indexing sections of the index that has been written.
3.    If a publisher or author makes revisions to the text after the index has been written, then there is usually a reflow of text across pages. The result is that the page entries for the index are no long correct. The index needs to be re-indexed. Re-indexing fees need to be avoided if at all possible ($60-75 per hour.)

How is the Indexing Fee Calculated?

There are basically four (4) methods of calculating the indexing fee.

1.    The “per indexable page method” calculates the price based on a fixed amount (ranging from $2.75 to $6.00 per indexable page.

2.    The “per entry method” calculates the price based on a fixed amount for each index entry (ranging from $0.60 to $1.50 per entry). 

3.    The “per hour method” calculates the price based on a fixed amount per hour (ranging from $30.00 to $75.00 per hour).

4.    The “per project method” sets a straight fee to be charged for the completed index (although the fee is usually derived from one or a combination of the other three methods listed above).

My preference is the "per indexable page" method.

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