Sunday, December 14, 2014

Pondering Amazon's Bestsellers Lists

This week, Amazon released the year’s bestselling titles in a couple of different categories. With the rise of the indie author and the growing number who are make a living from their work, I thought I’d see more of these authors make Amazon’s top twenty, overall bestsellers list. Instead, I found a significant percentage of traditionally published names who were top selling authors before the indie revolution. Names like John Grisham, David Baldacci, Diana Gabaldon, Lee Child, James Patterson, Ken Follett, Stephen King, and Rick Riordan, for example.

I took a look at the top twenty list in Kindle sales and found some of the same names plus Janet Evanovich, Michael Connelly, and Nora Roberts. As Amazon notes in its media release, some of these names made the 2013 list and Grisham is on the list for the fourth year in a row. A quick look at the prices revealed that most of the titles were between $6.99 and $9.99. Very few were in the $3.99 price range.

So, what does this mean? I guess it depends on how you look at these things, but it does seem clear that fans of these writers are sticking with them. Despite the growing prestige and sales of indie writers, they aren’t yet reaching the top rung of the ladder. I suspect that some are undoubtedly close, and it’s highly possible that E.L. James, author of Fifty Shades of Grey, made that list last year. I haven’t checked. I’m wondering if, in a few short years from now, indie authors will dominate Amazon’s bestseller’s list. Now that would be quite a feat.

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