Top 10 Kindle USA bestsellers jump almost $3
The last time I did an analysis of the USA Kindle store top ten bestsellers (on January 9th of this year), they averaged $4.10.
Today, that’s jumped almost $3 to $7.09.
That’s an increase of about 72%…in under three months.
There may be a seasonal impact there…prices are often low in January, I think, because there is a lot of competition for gift card/returns money.
However, I think there may be another contributing factor here.
Here’s my analysis:
|The Girl on the Train||$6.99||Penguin||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||4.1||9,685|
|The Six Wives of Henry VIII||$1.59||Grove||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||No||4.7||377|
|All the Light We Cannot See||$12.99||S&S||No||No||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||4.6||9,873|
|NYPD Red 3||$9.99||Hachette||No||Yes||Yes||No||No||No||4.7||107|
|The Longest Ride||$5.39||Hachette||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||4.6||4,658|
|Ready Player One||$2.99||Random||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||4.6||5,085|
Last time, fewer than half of the books were from the Big 5 largest USA trade publishers (trade books are the kind you buy in bookstores, as opposed to textbooks and such).
This time, it’s seven of them (Grove isn’t one of the Big 5, although it is a traditional publisher which has been around for a long time).
may have something to do with that.
None of the Big 5 are participating in Amazon’s subser (subscription service), where you pay $9.99 a month and you can read as many books as you want…well, perhaps that should be “as you can”. ;) You are limited to having ten books out at a time, but hey, if you can read three and a half books a day (that’s my personal best for novels), you can read your roughly 108 books that month at no additional cost.
Many of the non-Big 5 books are in KU.
That may mean that non-Big 5 books are not being purchased as much, since so many of them (including books like Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, and The Life of Pi) can be borrowed.
In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me if the actual number of sales of e–books at Amazon is going down…if the bestselling books aren’t selling as many as they used to do.
That rise in price is due partly to tradpubs (traditional publishers) tending to price their books higher than indies (independent publishers). More tradpub representation typically means higher prices (although that’s a great price for Ready Player One…we just found out that Steven Spielberg is going to direct the movie adaptation for Warner Brothers).
We may also start to see a rise in tradpub prices…if buying a book (as opposed to having access to it) is seen as a luxury, people may be willing to pay more for it.
We may head back to the pre-paperback days, when books were largely owned by the better off, and seen as a sign of status.
That would be owned by, in the future situation: not read by.
Certainly, KU has been around for a while now, and the economics of publishing may (at to some degree) start to shift because of it.
The only KU book in the bunch, Maude, was also a bestseller back in January.
It’s now been designated with a new badge at Amazon: it’s one of the
That’s an interesting new feature!
Amazon describes it this way:
“Kindle Unlimited All-Stars are the most popular titles and authors in KDP Select. Each month we determine the most popular by adding up the number of books sold, borrows from the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library, and the number of books read in Kindle Unlimited.”
That’s a fascinating set of parameters. Presumably, the bestseller list only counts sales, not borrows. I can understand that…but it intrigues me that they also count books which were read (a KU author doesn’t get paid until you’ve read 10% of the book).
What if someone borrows a book in January, but doesn’t read it until February? I’ve waited that long.
Does it count twice…once for the borrow, once for the read?
Does reading it count more?
If this is a KU thing, why are sales included at all?
Looking at their lists (they do it be different genres), I’m not seeing the well-known books which are part of KU.
I’ve tried to tell you about those from time to time…former New York Times bestsellers in KU, for example.
For me, that’s definitely part of the selling point. I’m always thrilled to see a book or an author I have in paper in KU…I’m excited that other people can read those books as part of KU.
My guess is that people who have become KU members are, for the most part, staying KU members.
At this point, it seems to get better every month…so if it was worth it the first month, why isn’t it worth the second month, and so on?
I also don’t think KU members tend to stop buying books…they probably do both (again, the majority of people is my guess), but they might buy fewer books.
I expect to hear some very laudatory things said about KU in a future Amazon financials report…perhaps without giving numbers, though. ;)
What do you think? Is KU making it so that fewer indies are top sellers at Amazon? Is that a bad thing? Do you think the publishers might be compensated more by KU (we’ve heard reports both ways)? Will we develop two tiers: people who buy tradpubs, and people who use subsers? Will any of the Big 5 join KU this year (in my look ahead to 2015, I thought that was a possibility)? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.
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This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.