Sunday, March 6, 2011

Amazon 100 - March 06, 2011

Things are changing quickly on the Amazon Top 100 Kindle Books so while I just recently did an analysis I did another one today. For an easier to read list see this post on kindle boards.

After removing magazines, newspapers and games there are 89 books on the list which breakdown as follows:

  • 10 Non Fiction (11%)
  • 2 Shorts (2%)
  • 77 Fiction (87%)

Some items of note:

  • For the first time an indie hit the #1 Spot - John Locke's Saving Rachel
  • For the first time an indie hit the top 100 at a price higher than $2.99 (Seth Godin's Poke the Box at $4.99 - considering Seth's status in the industry (multiple NYT bestsellers) and extensive marketing and existing platform I'm not counting him as a true "indie" so I'm still waiting for this barrier to be broken (Note: J.R. Rain did do this for a short time with a $3.99 book but it was not sustainable so I'm also not counting that.- I saw it for only one hour)
  • 25 new titles to the list (28% less than $2, 28% $5-$6, 12% $8-$10, 32% Over $10)
  • There were 15 indie authors 5 of which had multiple titles
  • 45% of the Indie books came from 2 authors (13/29) - John Locke (6), Amanda Hocking (7)
  • There were no price drops for books previously on the list to remain on the list
  • There were MANY (13) price hikes (most in traditional (12) and only 1 in indie)
  • Color of Heaven from a former traditionally published author stayed on the list even though the price was raised from $0.99 to $2.99.
  • D.B. Henson's Deed to Death dropped from the list (not due to sales but because she removed the book in preparation for a big-six release of the book)
  • The three "bargain basement" $0.99 offerings from traditional publishers are now all gone - two fell off the list - one remains on the list but is now price at $7.99

MANY Traditional offerings stopped their $5.00 or $0.99 promotions or raised their prices

  • Alone $7.99 (Up from $0.99)
  • Unbroken n $12.99 (Up from $9.99)
  • Water for Elephants $6.39 (Up from $5.00)
  • Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest $11.99 (Up from $9.99)
  • Girl Who Played with Fire $7.99 (Up from $5.00)
  • Girl With the Dragon Tattoo $7.99 (Up from $5.00)
  • Cutting for Stone $9.99 (Up from $5.00)
  • Left Neglected $11.99 (Up from $9.99)
  • Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks $12.99 (Up from $9.99)
  • Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet $9.99 (Up from $5.00)
  • Major Petigrew's Last Stand $9.99 (Up from $8.10)
  • Strategic Moves $12.99 (Up from $11.99)

9 - Many new books to the list were in the high range of $10 or more including:

  • Treachery in Death (J.D. Robb) $12.99
  • The Paris Wife (Paula Mclain) $12.99
  • The Wise Man's Fear (Patrick Rothfuss) $14.99
  • River Marked (Patricia Briggs) $12.99
  • Minding Frankie (Maeve Binchy) $12.99
  • Untied: Memoir (Meredith Baxter) $12.99
  • Pale Demon (Kim Harrison) $12.99
  • Blood, Bones & Butter (Gabrielle Hamilton) $12.99

7 - Debuts were in the "mid-range price" ($5 - $6)

  • Poke the Box (Seth Godin) $4.99
  • Harvest Moon (Robyn Carr) $5.59
  • A Creed in Stone Creek (Linda Lael Miller) $5.49
  • Against the Law (Kat Martin) $5.49
  • No Lesser Plea (Robert Tanenbaum) $4.99
  • You Can't Stop Me (Max Allen Collins) $4.39
  • An Engagement in Seattle (Debbie Macomber) $5.59

3 - Debuts were in the mid-high range ($8 - $10)

  • Beastly (Alex Flinn) $8.99
  • Live Wire (Lora Leigh) $7.99
  • Medical Error (Richard Mabry) $9.99

8 - New entries where in the low-range ($2 or less)

  • My Father's Dream (Erik German) $1.99
  • The List (J. A. Konrath) $0.99
  • Follow the Stone (John Locke) $0.99
  • Least Wanted (Debbie Mack) $0.99
  • Identity Crisis (Debbie Mack)$0.99
  • Live Free or Die (Jessie Crockett) $0.99
  • King James Bible $0.99

The following stats apply just for fiction of which there were 77 books

  • 29/77 Indie (38%) Of those 79% were $0.99 and 21% were $2.99
  • 48/77 Traditional (62%)

The price distributions are as follows:

  • 33% Less than $1
  • 8% $1 - $3
  • 5% $3 - $5
  • 31% $5 - $10
  • 23% Over $10

Breaking them into Low ($2.99 or less), Medium ($3.99 - $8.99), and High ($9.99 and above)
Low - 31/77 = 40%
Med - 19/77 = 25%
High - 27 /77 = $35%


Wendy Tyler Ryan said...

I watch your blog closely. I am close to finishing the last of many edits on a novel I plan to self-publish in the next few months. Still learning a few formatting tricks I haven't got down yet.

I enjoy your site.

Robert Bidinotto said...

Robin, once again you've provided valuable information. Thank you.

Some of my takeaways from your outstanding analysis:

* Lone indie authors CAN compete head-to-head and successfully with the big NY publishers.

* At #35, Joe Konrath's "The List" is moving at the clip of 650 ebook sales PER DAY, according to what he posted yesterday on his blog. There are ten indie books ranked above him on that Kindle chart -- which means that each of those books is selling even MORE copies per day than Joe's.

* To get into the Top 100 and compete effectively against the Big 6 publishers' books and their big-name authors, an unknown or little-known indie author should lower his prices. (79% of the 29 indie titles were priced at $0.99, and 21% of them were $2.99. NO indie titles priced higher than that are in the Top 100.) This makes sense, since readers considering an unknown author are taking a gamble, and they will more likely make an "impulse purchase" only at a low price.

* Traditional publishers can still price their ebooks much higher and remain in the Top 100, but probably only because of (1) the big marketing budgets that they devote to publicizing their big-name authors, and (2) their access to all the bookstores and retail outlets where indie books don't appear.

* The fact that no-name indie authors can not only compete with, but even beat, household names like Patterson, Grisham, J.D. Robb, and Stieg Larson WITHOUT having those big budgets or vast retail store outlets, speaks volumes about where the publishing business is headed.

Thanks again for helping us get a clearer picture of what is happening and why.

--Robert Bidinotto

a said...

Just wanted to mention that Godin did a pre-order/competition thingie, lowered his price all the way to $1. I'd pre-ordered when the price was higher, and when my pre-order went through on publication date, it was at $1 (which he'd guaranteed--no pre-orders would pay more than the lowest price offered).

What I'm wondering: how many of Godin's sales putting him in that Top 100 list were actually at $1, as opposed to the current list price.

Godin's worth watching because he obviously knows what he's doing. However, from a fiction self-pubbing author's POV, less so--as he's doing non-fiction.

CJ West said...


Amanda Hocking is on this list because everyone loves her and her books are amazing.

I'm unfamiliar with John Locke.

Can you comment on what he's doing right to sell so many books


Robin Sullivan said...

I think both Amanda and John share something in commnon in that they have written books that attract repeat buyers. While I've not had time to read either one the data proves that clearly enough as they each have 7 books in the top 100.

Their strategy of low pricing is working to get them on the lists...but...I wish they would use this card to their better advantage by putting some of their later works higher - even more so than $2.99.

Michael has a six-book series and I sell the first 4 at $4.95. When the fifth came out I knew there was a group of people just waiting at the bit to get it so I priced at $6.95. I didn't get a single complaint about the price increase. No one felt "gouged" or that Michael was trying to "squeeze them". The bottom line is $6.95 for the amount of enjoyment they got from the book was well worth it.

I'm really looking forward to the day when there are not 2 classes - indies at $2.99 and less and traditional (read "professional" as that is what most readers will think) that are at $5 and up.

It will take someone who can crack the 100, then raise their prices and stay there cuz of word of mouth. I don't think I have any books in my stable that fit that bill - but I'm hoping some superstar like Amazda or John will do so.

Hal Turner said...

Robin, I just discovered your blog. Thanks for this info.

Here's why I think John Locke is selling so many books: Most of his novels (if not all) are priced at under a dollar, they have attractive covers, and -- most importantly -- he knows how to write. I've only read one of his books but I'll try him again in the future.

Robin Sullivan said...

Welcome THE - actually I think John's covers could be MUCH stronger - he is not reinforcing a brand by using similar typography and title/name placement but there is no question he must be a good writer as he is selling so well. I hope you find good information on this this blog.

PaulMikos said...

Really interesting analysis. Thanks. Have you observed any trends in the six weeks since you wrote this post?

Robin Sullivan said...

Yes, and I continue to audit them weekly, but have been too busy editing to make a post. I'll try to get something out once I'm done with the project I'm on.