Saturday, February 19, 2011

More Stats...February Amazon 100

I recently analyzed the top 50 Amazon kindle list (mainly because I didn't have the time to do 100) I spent the last few days looking at the whole 100 and here is what I found...

NOTE: An easier to read version of the data can be found here.

As before, let's first back out shorts, magazines, newspapers, and a few non-fiction which reduces the 100 to 75.

I mentioned in my last post (well a comment actually, that no "small press" made the list - when expanding to 100 there was 1 that crept on - the people who are publishing My Sister's Keeper for the sake of this analysis I'm going to still treat this book as an indie so we only have 2 categories - those published by major NY houses and those that are "independent".

  • 29/75 - Indie (38.7%)
  • 46/75 - Traditional (61.3%)

This is almost identical breakdown as the Top 50 (39.5% to 60.5%). Something to note - It was in December that I saw the FIRST indies breaking into the Top 100 list. Now it is possible that some were doing it before then but it's only been recently that we've seen sustainable inroads by indies.

I'm sorry to say that extending the list did not add any indie in the above $2.99 price point. I'm starting to see a number of indies increases their prices though, so I anticipate by the time I do this again in April I'll see at least one.

  • 7/29 of the indies priced at $2.99 (24.1%)
  • 22/29 of the indies priced at $1.00 or less (75.9%)

Again this mirrors the bottom 50 (something I did not expect btw - I thought I would see a higher % of $0.99 in the 51 - 100 ranking sneaking in).

I was happy to see Killer (which was #20 a few days ago) jump to #13 which makes it the highest ranked non-$0.99 book.

A few surprises in this bunch of data...

  • Two traditionally published authors have moved to self-publishing their books: The Color of Heaven by Julianne MacLean ($0.99) and Second Son of a Duke by Gwen Hayes ($0.99) Since these two authors already have established audiences, my hope is that they will raise their prices and make some real money from their self-published efforts.
  • A total of 3 traditional publishers are offering books at the basement price of $0.99. #1 - Alone (Bantam), #74 - The Summer Son (AmazonEncore), #81 Spontaneous (Harlequin). I believe Bantam's move was to make Alone hit the NYT digital bestseller list. This is the first time I've seen AmazonEncore take an ebook down that low (but they may have) and the Harlequin doesn't surprise me that much as they offer low priced books fairly frequently as the Romance reading audience is pretty voracious so some "loss leaders" is a great strategy for that market segment.

Of the 75 fiction titles the breakdown by price is as follows:

  • 25/75 (33%) Less than $1
  • 7/75 (9%) $1 - $3
  • 9/75 (13%) $3 - $5
  • 18/75 (24%) $5 - $10
  • 16/75 (21%) Over $10

Breaking them into Low ($2.99 or less), Medium ($3.99 - $8.52), High ($9.99 and above)

  • Low - 32/75 = 43%
  • Med - 16/75 = 21%
  • High - 27 /75 = $36%


wannabuy said...

I wonder if the two traditionally published authors at $0.99 are trying to 'let the audience know' they're out there in ebook form. I expect they'll be at a much higher price within 2 weeks.

Not relating to the Amazon 100, I wonder when we'll have the deluge of backlist books on Kindle/Nook/Ibook/etc. One of my favorites, a long 'pulp fiction' series is supposed to be out by summer.

This will only provide more 'pull' to ebooks. :)


Donald Wells said...

Thanks for the stats Robin.
As a math geek and indie publisher, I found them fascinating. I think the one thing we can be sure of in this new age of publishing called the ebook era, is that there will be a swift flow of change for months, and more than likely, years to come. With the amount of uncertainty involved in indie publishing, I think the only ones left standing at the end of the upheaval will be the people that treat this as the business it is, and not as the get rich quick scheme that so many seem to hope for. I don't think there's ever been a better time to be a writer than now, but I also think that the writers of today need a set of skills that earlier writers didn't, such as a good eye for cover art, marketing skills and at least a rudimentary understanding of finance and statistics, as you just demonstrated. Again, thanks for the interesting post, I just found your blog and I'm glad that I did.

Joan Reeves said...

Love the stat work you're doing, Robin.

Usually when you see a trad pub author with an ebook, it's because (a) the book never found a publishing home but the author believes it's good enough to publish so she's doing it herself or (b) the book was published and the author was able to get rights reversion from the publisher and wants the book to live again -- and generate income again or (c) it's a promotional ploy to introduce new readers to the author when the author has a new book coming out. Usually this happens by their publishers offering the ebook for free, but I know of some authors who do have reverted rights who are doing this for the PR benefit (and some earned bucks).

They have come to realize that there simply isn't a down side to publishing an ebook and many see it as a way to accomplish all of the above. Plus, several hope that it's a way to keep their careers going when they've been caught in the death spiral.

Robin Sullivan said...

@SlingWords aka Joan Reeves I think in the past that was true - but I think nowadays these are new works that the author is deciding to self-pub rather than giving to the publisher.

Joan Reeves said...

If there are new works, Robin, it's usually because the publisher has passed on it already.

I'm on a lot of published author lists, and I haven't seen anyone say they're going to take a new ms. and self-pub rather than go through their publisher of record. (The way Joe did.) Now that doesn't mean there aren't some, but I just haven't heard of any.

Of course, with contracts and option clauses, authors are required to offer a ms. first to their publisher unless they write something that doesn't meet the parameters of "next work" as defined in their contract.

Only a turn-down means the author can do something else with their next work.

Most trad pub authors who are publishing ebooks with original, never before published mss., are doing so with mss. that the publisher passed on and the agent tried placing elsewhere, but couldn't.

Unknown said...

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Robin Sullivan said...

@ Slingwords - I think what you are misssing is the "turn down" can come from either side. I think what we are seeings (or will see more of) is that those that get traditionally published will release self-published because they can get 70% of ebook sales rather than 17.5% of ebook sales.

Let's pretend that Michael's books were signed with Orbit six-months ago instead of a few days ago...and today as we sit he has his next book ready...he would show it to them and let's say they like it and offer him the same contract as the last one...we would have to turn it down - as 17.5% of the ebook sales just donsn't make sense. I MIGHT sign if they reversed the ebook royalty - 75% for Michael and 25% for them...but there is no way they'll go for that. So the question is ... who turned down who?

Robin Sullivan said...

@V. Furnas said - thanks SO MUCH!! I'm honored.