Why do Amazon-published books sell so well…at Amazon?

Why do Amazon-published books sell so well…at Amazon?

This might seem obvious, but that’s not necessarily so. 🙂

Why do books traditionally published by Amazon sell so well at Amazon?

Silly, right? Don’t Ford cars sell well at Ford dealerships?

Well, yes. I think that’s different, though. People go to the Ford dealership to buy a Ford car (unless they are buying one that was traded in). I don’t think people generally go to Amazon to buy an Amazon book…they go to buy a book. 😉

By the way, I need to clarify that I’m only talking e-books here. I’m also only talking about the ones traditionally published by Amazon, not those published using Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing. Traditional publishing means that Amazon chooses the books to be published.

Let me also take a look: out of the top 20

Best-selling paid Kindle books in the USA Kindle store (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

how many are traditionally published by Amazon?











So, exactly half of them. Amazon doesn’t publish anywhere near 1% of the books in the Kindle store, so they are doing disproportionately well, at least at the very top.

Now, I’ll tell you why I don’t think they sell well just because they were published by Amazon. In my experience as a former brick-and-mortar bookstore manager is that people generally don’t care about who the publisher is. That’s not always true: some examples would be Penguin classics, Black Lizard mysteries, Prometheus for skeptical books (they others, too), Little Golden books…but for things like mainstream novels, I wouldn’t guess that 75% of the buyers cared.

Hm…most Amazon published-books, certainly these very popular ones, are genre titles, and people did care the publisher there. Harlequin for romance, for example, and Montlake, Amazon’s romance imprint was well-represented.

Still, Amazon doesn’t even surface an “aisle” for their own publishing.

Are the books simply better?

I’m not giving Amazon that one. 🙂 They can be good, but are they significantly better than the books from the Big Five?

One could assume that Amazon promotes them more on the site, and they do, to some extent. I wouldn’t say it’s obvious though…they aren’t shoving them in your face every time you log on, or even when you go to the storefront.

I suspect that what they do is some things other publishers could do…

That’s my thinking on it: low prices, quality production, including features like TTS. That doesn’t mean your book will sell as well as Amazon’s, but I think those things will tend to increase sales.

What do you think? Do you buy books just because they were published by Amazon? How many Amazon imprints can you name? What factors affect your decision to buy? Feel free to tell me and my readers by commenting on this post.

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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 you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. Shop ’til you help! 🙂 

One Response to “Why do Amazon-published books sell so well…at Amazon?”

  1. Man in the Middle Says:

    You nailed the reasons:
    Obviously fair rather than outrageous asking prices
    All the special Kindle features work
    Who needs a sample when it’s available on KU? (Buy if later if I want it in my permanent library)
    Kindle First definitely gets me to read some very good books I otherwise would not have even noticed.

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