E-revolution hits the bestseller list
Amazon has told us that they sell more e-books than p-books (paperbook). Yet, in the overall market, e-book sales aren’t at 20% (in the USA).
However, one key reason for that is that there are so many more p-books available. The “long tail” is mostly p-books.
What about people who are buying current, popular books? Are they embracing e-books?
The USA Today does a list (online) of the 150 bestsellers:
Fortunately for analysis, they not only count e-books (the New York Times has said they will start doing that), they tell you in which format the book sold the most “copies”. While you don’t know how many of a given title sold in which format, you can tell if more people (according to the reporting to the USA Today) bought the hardback, paperback, e-book, and so on.
I took a look at this week’s list, and there is some very interesting information there that suggests e-books are becoming the most popular format.
First, 43 of the top 150 sold more in e-book format. That’s about 29%. That’s a big chunk, but doesn’t say they are more popular, right?
Well, I ran the average position, based on rank. A lower number is better…the number one bestseller sold more than the number two. If the average position for e-books was at 75, it would be an even split.
The number for e-books? About 64.
Looking at the top ten? Average position is 4.4 for e-books.
So, that show a relatively higher popularity.
As I started to run the numbers, I thought I would also look at how the Agency Model might be affecting things. That was fascinating!
Twenty-eight out of the forty-three e-books on the bestseller list were not Agency Model…about 65% (close to two-thirds).
Are two-thirds of the e-books likely to get on the bestseller list Agency Model books? That seems very unlikely to be the case…five out of the six biggest US trade publishers are using the Agency Model. While the non-Agency Model publisher (Random House) is definitely a big dog, it probably isn’t bigger than the other five put together!
The average rank of a non-Agency Model e-book on the list? 58.
The average rank of an Agency Model e-book on the list? 75.
It appears that being an Agency Model e-book hurts your sales for popular books.
There was another very important point.
Six of the e-books on the list were independently published!
Due to a largely closed system in providing paperbooks to brick-and-mortar stores (I’m a former bookstore manager), it would be very, very hard to get an independently published p-book on the bestseller list.
Okay, they are all by Amanda Hocking. Regardless, that’s amazing. The highest ranked one, Switched (the first book in the Trylle Trilogy), is #16!
Hocking is on the tweeting edge of the literary revolution, showing that she doesn’t need a traditional publisher to reach a wide and dedicated audience. She is the face of publishing’s evolution.
That’s not to say that all future authors will have to love Red Bull and play guitar (although Hocking does both).
Jane Austen is a bestseller in e-book. Stephen King’s current bestseller on the list is selling more in e-book than in p-book.
Still, Hocking represents a model for the future…one that doesn’t involve a traditional publisher…or an agency, for that matter.
Here’s the list of books for which the e-book was the most popular format on the USA Today bestseller list for this week:
|62||2/10/2011||Simon & Schuster||Yes|
|145||1/20/2011||Simon & Schuster||Yes|
|147||11/18/2010||Simon & Schuster||Yes|
I rolled the imprints into the publisher, to make looking at it easier.
Thanks to USA Today for providing this information!
What do you think? Am I placing too much emphasis on the average ranking? Is Amanda Hocking a fluke? Does this portend the end of the Agency Model in April? Feel free to leave a comment…
This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.