Amazon’s The Best Books of 2015

Amazon’s The Best Books of 2015

It’s here!

The Best Books of 2015 (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

I honestly look forward to these lists each year. As a former manager of a brick-and-mortar bookstore, I like to see what they pick. That’s not because I think they necessarily are the best books, or even are books I am likely to read. It intrigues me. ūüôā

It’s also a place I may discover books to buy for other people, and that’s important.

As part of that, it’s key that this isn’t simply a list of 100. It’s a whole storefront. There is a list of the top 100, but you can also see their “best” in a lot of categories:

  • Arts & Photography
  • Audiobooks
  • Biographies & Memoirs
  • Business & Investing
  • Children’s Books
  • Comics & Graphic Novels
  • Cookbooks, Food & Wine
  • Crafts, Home & Garden
  • Fashion
  • Kindle Singles
  • History
  • Humor & Entertainment
  • Literature & Fiction
  • Mystery, Thriller & Suspense
  • Nonfiction
  • Romance
  • Science
  • Science Fiction & Fantasy
  • Sports & Outdoors
  • Teen & Young Adult

picks from celebrities, Editors’ Holiday Gift Picks, Best Debuts, and more!

They sent me a press release

Amazon Unveils the Best Books of 2015, Heralding Lauren Groff’s Fates and Furies as the Best Book of the Year

with some interesting tidbits in it.

I want to highlight this one:

“Debut authors in the Top 100: 22”

While this list isn’t limited to Kindle e-books, the expansion of independent publishing that e-books enabled has, I’m sure, affected how debut authors are seen. Since authors don’t need to go through the established channels, it allows the unestablished to break out…and then sometimes go tradpub (traditional publisher), sometimes not.

This is specifically

The Top 100 in Kindle Format (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

I have read…exactly zero of them. ūüėČ

That doesn’t meant that I think that some of them might not be the best books of the year. There are some there I would like to read.

It’s more that my pattern of reading isn’t likely to include a book the same year that it is released any more.

What do I read?

  • Books that are gifted to me. Those are usually pretty specialized, and may be my family buying from my Wish List. Those don’t tend to be frontlist, newly published titles
  • Public domain books: generally older
  • Books I get from¬†Kindle Unlimited (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*), Amazon’s subser (subscription service). Again, those don’t tend to be published this year, at least the ones I choose to read

I recently wrote about a jump in books priced $14.99:

Percentage of books priced $14.99 in USA Kindle store leaps up

In that piece, I wrote about us moving more towards a tiered system of readers:

  • Top tier: pay premium prices for new, brand name releases
  • Middle tier: pay for some books, but don’t pay the top prices for new novels…they read independently published books, books that were on sale, books through KU (this would be my tier)
  • Lower tier: read free books

This list is definitely geared toward the top tier reader in that system. Only two of the books are under $5 at time of writing:

  • Smoke by Catherine McKenzie (which is also available through KU…the only one on the list, I believe)
  • The Wonder Garden by Laura Acampara

Most of the books, by far, are over $9.99.

Here are the top 10:

  • Fates and Furies by¬†Lauren Groff
  • Between the World and Me by¬†Ta-Nehisi Coates
  • Becoming Nicole by¬†Amy Ellis Nutt
  • An Ember in the Ashes by¬†Sabaa Tahir
  • The Nightingale by¬†Kristin Hannah
  • The Wright Brothers by¬†David McCullough
  • H Is for Hawk by¬†Helen Macdonald
  • Purity: A Novel by¬†Jonathan Franzen
  • Hold Still: A Memoir with Photographs by¬†Sally Mann
  • The Girl on the Train¬†by¬†Paula Hawkins

The average price at time of writing of those top ten? $14.24

Amazon doesn’t appear to have favored books it has published, with the exception of the category for Kindle Singles noted above.

I know I’m interested in the analysis, but I also know you may be more interested in the actual books. ūüôā

Please let me know what you think of the choices, and especially, if there were others you would have listed. You can let me and my readers know by commenting on this post.

Special note: the person who recently arranged

An ILMK interview with Adrian Liang, Amazon Books Editor

has also offered to reach out for me to someone involved with creating this list.

If you have particular questions you would like me to ask them, if I get that opportunity, also let me know that in the comments.

I’m curious, so I’m going to include a couple of polls:

Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

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.


6 Responses to “Amazon’s The Best Books of 2015”

  1. Lady Galaxy Says:

    I haven’t read any of them either, and only 3 are on my “waiting for the price to drop” list. One book on my list, “The Art of Memoir,” is a pricing puzzlement. The hardcover edition is currently priced lower than the Kindle price. It’s only a 25 cent difference, but why?

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Lady!

      I’m sure it’s because of the Agency Model.

      If you take a look at the Kindle book’s product page, you’ll see that familiar “This price was set by the publisher”. While Amazon is able to discount some books under the new Agency Model, they can’t discount them all. It’s possible that Amazon deliberately discounted the hardback just under the e-book to try to prompt the publisher, HarperCollins, to discount the e-book.

  2. Lady Galaxy Says:

    I see that Amazon has released the reader’s picks for 100 Science Fiction & Fantasy books to read in a lifetime. I haven’t done a point by point comparison between the reader’s list and the editor’s list, but I do know I’ve 15 more books from the second list than the first. But then, it includes all the Harry Potter books while the editors listed the first only.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Lady!

      It’s a very different list…and one that I would be more likely to recommend to people. ūüôā

      With a quick glance, it looks like I’ve read 68 of these…a lot more than the other list.

  3. Peter C. Says:

    I think i will wait for the prices to go down as well. I haven’t read any of them too. I really want Humans of New York stories but the price is still high. Hope they put better discount on it sometimes.

  4. Man in the Middle Says:

    What I find VASTLY more interesting than such lists of best books are the books Amazon specifically recommends to me, based on my ratings of books I’ve already read.

    Sadly, that feature has just been somewhat weakened. Previously, in addition to saying I already owned it or wasn’t interested, I could rate a recommended book as anywhere from 1-5 stars. That allowed me to give 1 star to categories of books I never read and quickly get them out of my recommendations. Now I’m limited to only saying I own it or am not interested, and keep getting recommendations from categories I REALLY dislike, no matter how matter I report as not of interest. Long term, that is likely to result in my reading less, as I no longer check their recommendations nearly as often as I used to.

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