USA Kindle Store Bestseller Analysis November 10 2013

USA Kindle Store Bestseller Analysis November 10 2013

Good news!

I do an analysis of the bestsellers in the Kindle store from time to time, and looking at today versus January 7th, the top twenty bestsellers have dropped on average seventy-five cents…from $5.52 to $4.77! That’s about 14%.

Seriously, that’s a lot of money. There were three books in the top twenty over $9.99 in January, and only one right now.

That’s not to say that there aren’t major publishers in the top twenty: there are. Presumably, the end of the Agency Model for e-books for five publishers in the USA (brought about by a legal action by the US Department of Justice) has really lowered those prices by enabling price competition between outlets (and letting Amazon discount, which they do on many things).

Interestingly, if we broaden the comparison to the top fifty, it’s not as big a drop. They were $5.94 in January, $5.52 now. That’s forty-two cents: only about half as much a percentage drop, seven percent.

Here are the current prices for the top fifty:

Rank Publisher Price
1 Random House $6.59
2 Random House $2.90
3 Hachette $6.62
4 Thomas & Mercer $4.99
5 HarperCollins $6.99
6 Penguin $4.79
7 HarperCollins $1.99
8 Macmillan $3.99
9 Penguin $5.99
10 Hachette $7.64
11 Lake Union $4.99
12 Simon & Schuster $6.87
13 Indie $0.99
14 Random House $0.99
15 Indie $0.99
16 Indie $1.49
17 HarperCollins $3.99
18 Hachette $6.62
19 Penguin $11.93
20 Montlake $3.99
21 Simon & Schuster $7.64
22 HMH $7.69
23 Indie $7.47
24 Macmillan $10.91
25 HarperCollins $6.99
26 Scholastic $7.40
27 Indie $0.99
28 Montlake $4.99
29 NYRB $9.99
30 HarperCollins $11.93
31 Hachette $3.63
32 Simon & Schuster $4.74
33 Random House $6.99
34 Penguin $6.59
35 Hyperion $5.99
36 Hachette $7.64
37 Indie $2.99
38 Indie $2.99
39 Grand Harbor $4.99
40 Random House $10.99
41 Penguin $11.99
42 Indie $0.99
43 Random House $2.90
44 Indie $0.99
45 Indie $0.99
46 Scholastic $6.99
47 Penguin $3.99
48 Hachette $7.64
49 Macmillan $5.52
50 Scholastic $5.12

Comparing the features of the books (and I added whether or not they qualify for Kindle Matchbook), I think some of the figures are skewed here. There are a couple of books in the Kindle First program: they are published by Amazon, but have not yet been actually released. They don’t have some features showing (the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library, for example), which I fully expect they will have when they are actually released. That makes the number of books in the top twenty with some of these features artificially low.

Rank Publisher Price TTS X-ray Lending KOLL WSV KMB
1 Random House $6.59 Yes Yes No No Yes No
2 Random House $2.90 No Yes Yes No No No
3 Hachette $6.62 Yes Yes No No No No
4 Thomas & Mercer $4.99 Yes Yes Yes No No No
5 HarperCollins $6.99 Yes Yes No No No No
6 Penguin $4.79 Yes Yes No No No No
7 HarperCollins $1.99 Yes Yes No No No No
8 Macmillan $3.99 Yes Yes No No Yes No
9 Penguin $5.99 Yes Yes No No Yes No
10 Hachette $7.64 Yes Yes No No No No
11 Lake Union $4.99 Yes Yes Yes No No No
12 Simon & Schuster $6.87 No Yes No No No No
13 Indie $0.99 Yes No No No No No
14 Random House $0.99 Yes Yes No No No No
15 Indie $0.99 Yes Yes Yes No No No
16 Indie $1.49 Yes Yes No Yes No No
17 HarperCollins $3.99 Yes Yes No No Yes No
18 Hachette $6.62 Yes Yes No No Yes No
19 Penguin $11.93 Yes Yes No No Yes No
20 Montlake $3.99 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
  • TTS: 85% (January: 85%, November 18 2012: 85%)
  • X-Ray: 95% (January: 95%, November: 90%)
  • Lending: 25% (January: 55%, November: 45%)
  • KOLL: 10% (January: 35%, November 25%…if the two Kindle First books have it after being released, this would jump up to 20%)
  • WSV: 35% (January: 50%, November: 45%…it’s also possible the two Kindle First books will get this. If so, that brings the percentage to 45%)
  • Kindle Matchbook: 5%

In January, I was suggesting that Amazon was making progress in not needing the tradpubs (traditional publishers) as much. I may not have properly counted the impact of the Agency Model in that: with the Agency Model ending, Amazon can discount the tradpubs’ books more now, which may drive them up in the ranking. Lower prices are likely to mean more sales, especially in a case when that makes them more like their independently published competitors.

Five of the top fifty are published by Amazon…that’s down from six in January.

Ten of them are indies: the same as January.

So, the tradpubs have a somewhat better position now than they did in January. I didn’t count the New York Review of Books as an indie…if I did that, it would be the same.

Summing up, I’d say prices having dropped on tradpubs lowered the average price…that’s the biggest message to me in this.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

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