photograph of the indexer


I can offer: My current charges (in December 2009) are:

2.30-2.80       $US 3.80-4.60       or € 2.60-3.20

per page, depending on the complexity of the work. For unpaginated material, subject to inspection, roughly:

7.00       $US 12.00       or € 8.00

per thousand words of indexable text.

I prefer not to quote hourly rates except for periodical indexing. For book work, they are completely unverifiable and so represent an incompletely quantifiable commitment by the customer.


Normally, around 10 pages per hour can be indexed thoroughly without quality suffering.

Even with a steady workflow though, it's wisest not to expect more than 60 pages per working day (especially before checking that an indexer is working only on your commission, which is unusual).

With embedded indexing, the index generated after layout and pagination usually needs more extensive editing for consistency and accuracy.

Regardless fo the technique used, final polishing of the index to an average-sized book, will take about two additional days. These are provided for in the above cost estimates but time should be allowed for this extra stage. (Of course, with embedded indexing, those two days are all that remains at the time conventional indexing would just about be starting!).

How much altogether then?

Very roughly, based on experience, allow a minimum of 6-7 working days for a high-level book with 200 indexable pages; two weeks for a 400 page book and pro rata for longer works. There are few economies of scale in indexing; the larger the book, the more elusive consistency becomes and the greater the need for cross-checking.

All this assumes I'm not doing anything else, or that I've had sufficient advance warning of a particular commission to schedule the necessary time..

Or possibly less... and what are 'indexable pages'?

These estimates relate to full-density technical material. Most books contain matter either not requiring indexing at all, or not in the same degree of detail (self-indexing appendices, bibliographies, code examples, graphical and tabular presentations and case studies for example).

Also, taking into account front matter, chapter dividers and the index itself, the average 450 page book will often only contain around 390 indexable pages.

Finally, my eagerness to accept work will depend on how attractive a particular project seems (an indexer who enjoys reading a book is always likely to produce a better index than one who is bored or bemused by it) and on what else is in the pipeline!


If I am unable to accept a commission becuase of pressure of work or other commitments, other qualified indexers can be contacted via the Indexers Avaiable feature of The Society of Indexers' Website.