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The Kindle Skews Amazon's 2011 Best-Seller List

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the ruining-the-curve dept.

Books 135

destinyland writes "Amazon's released their list of 2011's best-selling books, revealing that 40% of the best-selling ebooks didn't even make it onto their list of the best-selling print books. The #1 and #2 best-selling ebooks of the year weren't even available in print editions, while four of the top 10 best-selling print books didn't make it into the top 100 best-selling ebooks. 'It couldn't be more clear that Kindle owners are choosing their material from an entirely different universe of books,' notes one Kindle site, which points out that five of the best-selling ebooks came from two million-selling ebook authors — Amanda Hocking and John Locke — who are still awaiting the release of their books in print. And five of Amazon's best-selling ebooks were Kindle-only 'Singles,' including a Stephen King short story which actually outsold another King novel that he'd released in both ebook and print formats. And Neal Stephenson's 'Reamde' was Amazon's #99 best-selling print book of 2011, though it didn't even make it onto their list of the 100 best-selling ebooks of the year. 'People who own Kindles are just reading different books than the people who buy printed books,' reports the Kindle site, which adds '2011 may be remembered as the year that hundreds of new voices finally found their audiences.'"

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135 comments

Hardly a fair comparison (4, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#38376300)

The eBooks on that list ranged from $1-$3 (no shipping of course), whereas the print books ranged from $8-$15 (plus shipping). All other things being equal, of course the eBooks are going to outsell the print ones at those prices.

Hell, the cheaper prices and not having to pay shipping is why a lot of people buy Kindles in the first place. Not to sound like an ad here, but Kindle versions usually run anywhere from $5-$10 cheaper than their print counterparts, you get them right away, and there is no $4 extra for shipping.

Re:Hardly a fair comparison (2)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 2 years ago | (#38376356)

With Amazon prime or a $25 order, shipping is free, so that's not a factor. And the point is, all other things are not equal since some books that are available in both print and ebook form are best-sellers in one category but not the other.

Re:Hardly a fair comparison (4, Insightful)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 2 years ago | (#38376410)

He's talking about 1-3$ books and you're talking about 25$ orders. Do you really think people buy 20+ books per order?

The shipping cost is a factor, the delay to receive your books is another. FedEx, UPS or DHL, I don't care which carrier you choose, they can't beat "I'll start reading in 60 seconds".

Re:Hardly a fair comparison (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#38376796)

He's talking about 1-3$ books and you're talking about 25$ orders. Do you really think people buy 20+ books per order?

He's talking about print books that cost $8-15. Do you really not think that people buy 2+ print books per order?

Re:Hardly a fair comparison (5, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#38377520)

Three dollars, eight dollars, you guys are both missing the point.

People buy cheaper books on Kindles and Nooks BECAUSE THEY CAN.

Nobody will print a three dollar book for long, and fewer book stores will stock it, and even Amazon does not carry it for long due to the cost of warehouse space. These inexpensive books from new authors or older titles from known authors simply disappear from the market in printed form.

But these books can remain in ebook form forever, taking up on average half of a floppy disk work of computer storage someplace in the Amazon cloud/

Then there is the whole issue of residual value, which has been thrashed about on Slashdot in the past. You can sell your paper books, donate them to libraries, or what ever. But the publishers (with Amazon and Barnes and Noble's reluctant acquiescence) have circumvented the first sale doctrine [wikipedia.org] and essentially limited your ownership rights to digital books.

This is being looked into (a year too late) by the DOJ [bizjournals.com] and the EU [engadget.com] but action is probably far off.

While that percolates, people are less apt to pay full price for a book they can't own. The market is slowly realizing this and placing a value on that residual ownership as people hold off buying this year's best sellers while they read last year's best sellers. The net result is a lower price that people are willing to pay for a damaged title. (see what I did there?).

Re:Hardly a fair comparison (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38378310)

I don't. Certainly not the 6 or 7 times per year required to join amazon prime. Other people don't either or else amazon would not provide the service.

Re:Hardly a fair comparison (1)

ILongForDarkness (1134931) | more than 2 years ago | (#38378576)

It's more impulse buy versus I have to think about it at least from what I learnt in management econ. $5 or so and people just buy. Its the price of a nice beer, it might be good, it might be crap, but it is $5 who cares. To get a mail in order on the other hand you have to log in find the book click on it, pay for it, wait a few days recieve it etc. There is more involved. A kindle type a couple characters, click on the book, click again and it is yours. Bill goes right to your credit card on file pay your credit card bill like you hopefully do anyways and there is near 0 effort involved. You can get close to that experience with "one click checkout" on their website but you still have the hassle of "doing something now for something you'll enjoy later" as the US savings rate can attest: that is no small feat.

Re:Hardly a fair comparison (1)

smart_ass (322852) | more than 2 years ago | (#38379734)

Don't think so much that it is $5 ... so who cares.
Many (all?) books allow you to download the first 1-2 chapters at $0.00 to assess if you think you will like it

This makes it REALLY easy to discover new authors.

Re:Hardly a fair comparison (3, Insightful)

PopeAlien (164869) | more than 2 years ago | (#38376416)

"with Amazon prime or a $25 order, shipping is free"

So you're saying for a little more money I can buy 'free' shipping?

Re:Hardly a fair comparison (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38377156)

I'm on my second year of free amazon prime.

(read the wiki part)

http://slickdeals.net/forums/showthread.php?t=3095870

It's like popcorn (4, Insightful)

alexander_686 (957440) | more than 2 years ago | (#38377594)

It's free to you - but not to Amazon.

Amazon's business model would collapse if they had to physical ship $1 dollar books and absorb the shipping. On the other hand, it can work with electronic delivery.

That being said, a lot of the “books” being suggested are actually short stories. It’s a format I love but few people do it because there small so they can’t make money off of them – or is that changing? In any event, I would pay a dollar or two for popcorn books, but if I pay big bucks (over $5) it had better be a big, luxuries meal that will take some time to savory.

Also, did anybody else notice the self published books?

It’s not that Kindle readers are reading different kind of books, but the e-readers allow readers to buy different types of books.

Re:Hardly a fair comparison (2)

tripleevenfall (1990004) | more than 2 years ago | (#38376386)

I'm not sure that "$5-$10 cheaper" statement is accurate. There's been a lot of consternation among we Kindle users that often the ebook is only 5 or ten *percent* cheaper than the printed book.

Amazon denotes often that "this price is set by the publisher" and they say that the actual cost of printing a book is minimal, whereas the profit taken by the publisher and author are almost all of the rest (which should be the case).

But for me, I haven't found ebooks to deliver any cost savings, except that you can read most anything published before 1923 for free. I'm burning through a lot of classics and buying some full price books too.

Re:Hardly a fair comparison (3)

SomePgmr (2021234) | more than 2 years ago | (#38376672)

It varies. There are cases where I'm aggravated that an ebook costs the same as buying a real book. But sometimes I find myself wanting the real book, but cant justify a big price difference.

What Id really like to see, is Amazon working out something like Hollywood is doing (something I never thought id say) by letting me buy the real book and getting the kindle copy right away. I like both formats for different reasons, but I just cant buy 2 of everything at twice the price.

Re:Hardly a fair comparison (3, Interesting)

tsotha (720379) | more than 2 years ago | (#38379692)

I'm not sure that "$5-$10 cheaper" statement is accurate. There's been a lot of consternation among we Kindle users that often the ebook is only 5 or ten *percent* cheaper than the printed book.

Amazon offers a used copy of almost every book I'm interested in for less than the ebook, shipping included. And I can give a physical book to my siblings when I'm done with it. I love my kindle for the ability to buy a book and get it delivered instantly at 3:00 AM. But it's not saving me any money - far from it.

Re:Hardly a fair comparison (5, Interesting)

raygundan (16760) | more than 2 years ago | (#38376390)

I've been having the exact opposite experience. I don't have a kindle, but I use their app on my phone, and have for quite a while now. But in the last year, every time I go to buy a Kindle book, it's ~$15, and the hardcover version is $3.99 shipped. Or it's not available on the Kindle at all. Most recently, this was the case with three Iain M. Banks novels-- two shipped from the UK, and they were still only a couple dollars apiece, in hardcover.

This isn't Amazon's fault-- the publishers won their fight to set pricing. And they're pricing themselves right out of a sale. When the Kindle was new and ebooks were almost always cheaper than printed books, I bought quite a few. Now I'm buying books used again. The publishers have cut off their nose to spite their face, and in their fear of low-margin ebooks have lost their margin entirely.

Re:Hardly a fair comparison (1)

Trepidity (597) | more than 2 years ago | (#38376544)

That's true for used books (since you can't buy used on Kindle), but tends not to affect best-seller lists, because people have short attention spans, and best-seller lists tend to be dominated by new releases.

Re:Hardly a fair comparison (4, Insightful)

raygundan (16760) | more than 2 years ago | (#38376954)

Look at REAMDE, cited in the article. $14.90 new in hardcover from the amazon marketplace and $14.99 for the Kindle edition. It's a new release, and it's about the same cost new, in hardcover, as it is for the Kindle. And that's before we mention getting some of your money back selling it used.

Re:Hardly a fair comparison (1)

Trepidity (597) | more than 2 years ago | (#38376990)

Weird, it's showing the Kindle edition for me as $12.77, which is cheaper than any used paper copy. Is Amazon pricing differently by customer profile and/or location?

Re:Hardly a fair comparison (2)

goose-incarnated (1145029) | more than 2 years ago | (#38377246)

Weird, it's showing the Kindle edition for me as $12.77, which is cheaper than any used paper copy. Is Amazon pricing differently by customer profile and/or location?

Yes.

(Well, they've been doing it with my android app, so I see no reason why they would stop at doing the same thing for eBooks)

Re:Hardly a fair comparison (1)

raygundan (16760) | more than 2 years ago | (#38377642)

They've been doing that for years. I'm pretty sure I read about it here, like 12 years ago.

Might also be different for Prime customers. Not sure there.

Re:Hardly a fair comparison (2)

RDW (41497) | more than 2 years ago | (#38377698)

Relative pricing also varies in their international stores - the Kindle edition is slightly cheaper in the UK shop right now (and some of the Kindle price is VAT, which isn't levied on the print copy). But for me the keys figures are the weight and thickness - REAMDE is big enough to be unwieldy in hardback, something I'd never bother taking on the train, but fine commuting fodder as an ebook, especially if liberated from its DRM shackles.

Re:Hardly a fair comparison (0, Offtopic)

ynp7 (1786468) | more than 2 years ago | (#38378652)

I know it makes you feel special to use phrases like "DRM shackles" and flaunt your circumvention of it. But how does that have anything to do with the book's qualities as "commuting fodder"? The truth is, it doesn't. A Kindle book can be read on just about any device, regardless of the DRM. The only reason to attempt to bring the "shackles" of DRM into it is to tell the world that you're a smug, self-satisfied douche who is far more concerned with being smug and self-satisfied than with any practical issues with DRM.

Re:Hardly a fair comparison (2, Funny)

Bucky24 (1943328) | more than 2 years ago | (#38377672)

Look at REAMDE, cited in the article.

Heh I read that first as README and wondered why a README was being sold on Amazon.

Re:Hardly a fair comparison (1)

c++0xFF (1758032) | more than 2 years ago | (#38378558)

Same here. At first I thought the article came with a README file that had important information.

Re:Hardly a fair comparison (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38379332)

Not to mention the #bookz version, which might have a couple of OCR errors or weird formatting - but which comes in at $0.00(*)
* Price assumes you already own a broadband connection, broadband connections in your area may be priced variously. Buy today with our permanent sales guarantee of 100% money returned, no questions asked...

Or at least that's what I do when the ebook I want is a $4,95 paperback, and the Kindle store wants $14,99 for it.

Re:Hardly a fair comparison (1)

SlickNic (1097097) | more than 2 years ago | (#38376592)

This is exactly my experience, I'm also using the kindle app on my phone. There are quite a few sales that Amazon or another e-book retailer has lost just in the last few weeks from me because the publishers are trying to sell the e-book for more than the print version. In fact not only did they loose an e-book sale but I was so annoyed I didn't even buy the print edition. I must also note I'm not a huge fan of the fact that I generally can't lend or sell an e-book even if I do pay MORE for it than a print version which I am able to do both.

Re:Hardly a fair comparison (1)

HJED (1304957) | more than 2 years ago | (#38378790)

I find for books published by big name publishers it varies (but they are often cheaper especially when you factor in shipping to Australia and books being more expensive in Australia). I refuse to buy books that are more expensive in ebook format.
However there are a tonne of very good independent books at .99c(US) or even free (I often see independent books where the first in a series is free and the second is .99 or $1.50).

Since getting a kindle I would say about 60% of the books I read are independent (70% of those being free) and that I have at least doubled the amount of money I usually spend on books in a year. (And would spend more if Amazon excepted EFPOS)

Re:Hardly a fair comparison (1)

tsotha (720379) | more than 2 years ago | (#38379740)

In fact not only did they loose an e-book sale but I was so annoyed I didn't even buy the print edition.

Awhile back I wanted to pick up an electronic copy of one of my all-time favorite books, The Diamond Age: Or, A Young Lady's Illustrated Primer by Neal Stephenson. But Amazon wants $11.99 for the ebook and $10.20 for the paperback. I'm not buying a sixteen year old book for twelve bucks. So like you I didn't buy anything.

Re:Hardly a fair comparison (1)

wzzzzrd (886091) | more than 2 years ago | (#38376618)

I've been having the exact opposite experience. I don't have a kindle, but I use their app on my phone, and have for quite a while now. But in the last year, every time I go to buy a Kindle book, it's ~$15, and the hardcover version is $3.99 shipped. Or it's not available on the Kindle at all. Most recently, this was the case with three Iain M. Banks novels-- two shipped from the UK, and they were still only a couple dollars apiece, in hardcover.

While I agree with you, could you tell me where to get Iain Banks hardcovers for a couple of dollars apiece? Amazon?

Re:Hardly a fair comparison (1)

raygundan (16760) | more than 2 years ago | (#38377126)

It was amazon, through their marketplace. Picked up Feersum Endjinn ($4.00 shipped), The Algebraist ($4.22 shipped), and Inversions ($4.95 shipped). To my surprise, two of the three shipped from the UK.

Re:Hardly a fair comparison (5, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | more than 2 years ago | (#38376908)

The publishers have cut off their nose to spite their face, and in their fear of low-margin ebooks have lost their margin entirely.

It's not exactly that they cut off their nose to spite their face. To some extent, what's going on with ebooks is the same thing that's happening in movies/television, which is the same thing that happened in Music a few years ago. Publishers can see that their business may move more and more into digital downloads, and they don't want to miss the boat, so they're getting involved in that arena. However, they prefer to keep their old business model because they understand it, it's predictable, and it's profitable. To some extent, they therefore want their own business ventures in digital streaming/downloads to fail, and they sabotage these ventures.

Now I'm not convinced that they are literally consciously thinking, "I want this venture to fail." However, they aren't approaching it from the standpoint of "This is the future of my business and I must make it succeed," either. It's a little more like, "Ok, well we have to do this, and I don't trust it, so let's just throw this sloppy attempt out there and see what happens. But let's make sure we aren't cannibalizing our other sales."

Re:Hardly a fair comparison (1)

raygundan (16760) | more than 2 years ago | (#38377350)

I think I wasn't clear-- they're cannibalizing their sales all right. Every used book I buy instead of an ebook is a lost sale.

When the Kindle launched, ebook pricing slotted in between used prices and paperback prices. That was pretty reasonable. It's also not the case anymore, and you can see the results in these charts. $2.99 no-traditional-publisher ebooks sell like mad. $15 same-as-hardcover-pricing ebooks sell like crap as ebooks.

Taint necessarily so... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38377758)

There's another factor that people seem loathe to explore... the NY Times 'Best Seller' list isn't a measure of sales at the retail counter, it's a measure of wholesale success, and just because a book is marketed wel by publishers to retail chains and libraries well doesn't mean it's going to be successful in the eyes and minds of readers.

Perhaps all we're experiencing is the loss of control over the PR generated reporting on book sales.

Re:Hardly a fair comparison (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38377046)

The internet treats unreasonably high prices like censorship.

*.irchighway.net #ebooks

Re:Hardly a fair comparison (3, Interesting)

Daetrin (576516) | more than 2 years ago | (#38376422)

Really? I haven't done a lot of comparisons yet since i've only had my Nook Tablet for a couple weeks, but so far on both B&N and Amazon i've found that the ebook version is at most a dollar or two cheaper than the paper version, and often it's the exact same price as the paper version. I could swear i've seen cases where the ebook version was actually more but i can't find any quick examples via spot checking. This of course leaves aside the numerous books for which no ebook version exists at all yet.

There certainly _are_ a lot of things available in ebook format that are significantly cheaper than an averaged price "real" book, but so far ebook versions of current popular titles don't seem to be among them.

In fact that may be part of why there's a discrepancy between the two lists. If the same books as are popular in the paper list were priced much cheaper as ebooks perhaps they would have scored higher (or at all) in that list as well?

Re:Hardly a fair comparison (5, Interesting)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 2 years ago | (#38376548)

I don't think he's saying ebooks are cheaper in a general sense, he's saying that cheap ebooks are outselling the more expensive ebooks, which is what is skewing the results. I know I would never go to the bookstore (or even the library) to get a short story and very rarely a novelette, but I've gotten several on my Kindle because the price was right ( $1 ) and their customer ratings were high. So yeah, the Kindle does change my reading material, but that's because A) I refuse to pay $10+ for the ebook edition of a book B) I also refuse to buy a physical copy of a book (yeah, I know blasphemy, whatever. I significantly prefer the convenience of ebooks over paper). And that leaves me with a very different group of books that are in my acceptable price range.

Re:Hardly a fair comparison (1)

Daetrin (576516) | more than 2 years ago | (#38376650)

That was in fact exactly what he said. To quote: "Not to sound like an ad here, but Kindle versions usually run anywhere from $5-$10 cheaper than their print counterparts, you get them right away, and there is no $4 extra for shipping."

I agree with what _you_ are saying. People are choosing from the cheaper set of ebooks rather than the entirely different set of more expensive print books, not choosing the cheaper ebooks over the (theoretically) more expensive print version of the exact same book.

Re:Hardly a fair comparison (1)

HJED (1304957) | more than 2 years ago | (#38378892)

People are also choosing to buy the .99c and free (although amazon.com doesn't count free books in its sales ranks, I've noticed that amazon.co.uk does have a "top free ebooks" list) independent books which are often quite good (especially if you browse at 4stars+ and read the reviews to check what you're buying)
I would say that people are choosing to buy ebook versions of popular books as well, I live in Australia so I have to wait at least a week for Amazon delivery so I would much rather buy the ebook edition, especially if it is cheaper and all the people I know with kindles do the same.

Re:Hardly a fair comparison (2)

demonlapin (527802) | more than 2 years ago | (#38379710)

If you were on the ebook wagon before iBooks, and Apple's "agency" model, you routinely got $15-20 books for $9.99 on Kindle. It was a great compromise: we got new-release books for less than hardcover and more than paperback. Paperback books were usually $4.99 on Kindle. Then Apple screwed the system up.

Re:Hardly a fair comparison (3, Informative)

PRMan (959735) | more than 2 years ago | (#38376580)

...And it's a glorified rental that they can take back from you at any time.

Re:Hardly a fair comparison (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38377030)

The only way they'll take me ebooks is if they lug me to Davy Jones's courtroom and keelhaul me for copyright infringement!
Yo-Ho-Ho!

Re:Hardly a fair comparison (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38377300)

I refuse to buy e-anything. I like to be able to physically hold the products I pay money for. If I can't resell it later, then I never really owned it in the first place.

Re:Hardly a fair comparison (1)

LynnwoodRooster (966895) | more than 2 years ago | (#38378794)

Does that attitude include the steaks you buy at the grocery store?

Re:Hardly a fair comparison (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38378870)

Bad comparison. Books can be read more than once. Steaks can only be consumed once.

Re:Hardly a fair comparison (4, Insightful)

Schlemphfer (556732) | more than 2 years ago | (#38378228)

To me, the biggest advantage to owning the Kindle edition isn't anything you've written. It's that, when I purchase the Kindle edition, it's one less item I need to keep in my house, tote the next time I move, and ultimately get rid of.

On top of that, it's environmentally the right thing to do—one less book that needs to be manufactured and shipped somewhere.

And don't even get me started on how great the highlighting feature is, where you can underline and automatically collect key passages without defacing your book. It's changed how I read.

I personally refuse to buy books from publishers who price their Kindle books higher than the discounted paperback price. If they don't want to embrace where the publishing world is headed, then screw 'em.

Re:Hardly a fair comparison (3, Insightful)

ILongForDarkness (1134931) | more than 2 years ago | (#38378628)

The authors probably made more per sale on the $1-3 books than the ones that sold the $25 real books through a normal publisher too. So everyone wins but the publishers. Authors get more fans, more money, customers pay less I suspect people read more etc. I realize there is a selection bias towards people that would pay ~$100 for something to read books are likely to be people that read a lot of books but I think it goes both ways. I used to read a lot, slowed down, but bought a kindle a few years ago and now read way more again and more varied things because I don't necessarily have to pay oddles to try something different that wouldn't be popular enough to be in the library. Much less of a hassle. I literally was getting to the point where the libraries in my town didn't have any more books I was interested in reading. Now I can download whatever I want, I'm not limited to what is in the local book store/library can "acquire" just about anything so cost isn't an issue etc.

Re:Hardly a fair comparison (2)

jvin248 (1147821) | more than 2 years ago | (#38379202)

We do make more as an independent author publishing a book at $1-$3 than shackled to the agent/publisher model... at their price points of $10+. The only authors still going to traditional publishing are those with stars in their eyes lusting for 'the brand'. the independents have control over editors and cover design that can be quibbling points in traditional setups. One author turned down a $500,000 advance because he was tired of the old model and knew he would earn more on his own, so far he's happy.

The Black Jewel [youtube.com] The Diamond Coronal [youtube.com]

.

Re:Hardly a fair comparison (3, Insightful)

tricorn (199664) | more than 2 years ago | (#38378670)

The problem is that they're trying to sell the "print" books for only a slight discount as an e-book.

So you end up with two completely separate sets of books: overpriced e-books, so not very many sales in that format compared to print format; and inexpensive e-books that aren't even available in print because they figure it isn't worth printing them. Of course you're going to get completely different titles selling in the two formats.

I'd get Reamde for Nook but it's too expensive. I'd pay maybe $4-5 at most for something that I can't re-sell and is tied to a device that may not be available in a few years, locked to a company that may go out of business some day. In 50 years, will I be able to pull out my copy of it and say "oh yeah, that was a fun read, maybe I'll read it again." ... ? But they want $15 for it. No way.

marketing (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38376398)

Do you really trust a list made by a company that wants everyone to think that the e-version is the way to go. To be fair there should be two lists. One for ebooks and one for hardback. Mixing them together trying to confuse the issue to make it seem like there e-products are better or the way to go is a sham in the sense it that it is bad marketing to not try to sale people on their other products.

Why not? Meaningless lists, anyways... (1)

F69631 (2421974) | more than 2 years ago | (#38376678)

Why should I not trust Amazon? If I were in the book printing business, I'd probably feel the need to thoroughly analyze the claims but let's face it: The best seller lists are pretty useless for us consumers. I'll buy e-books for myself and give hardbacks as presents this year, no matter whether Amazon reports e-book share to be 10% or 50%. I don't need to worry about what impression Amazon is trying to create so I can just enjoy the interesting pieces of statistics.

I'm not saying that the accuracy of statistics doesn't matter (though I might be saying "it doesn't matter much") but I think that in a case like this, we can just discuss the statistics and what they might or might not imply without caring about hidden motivations of the company behind them.

Re:Why not? Meaningless lists, anyways... (1)

jvin248 (1147821) | more than 2 years ago | (#38379236)

A lot of book buyers want the stamp of "#1 NYTimes best seller" before they read it - there is a perception of quality; it was vetted by all those other people so "it must be good". All pure BS but it sells a lot of books that way.

Re:marketing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38376904)

Best selling Kindle books: http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html?ie=UTF8&plgroup=1&docId=1000756251

Best selling Print books: http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html?ie=UTF8&plgroup=2&docId=1000756251

Re: worse than marketing - gibberish (1)

b4dc0d3r (1268512) | more than 2 years ago | (#38378566)

There's a list of top selling e-books and a list of top selling print books. Is someone surprised that they are different? That's the story here?

I read it twice and it still doesn't make sense. Shittiest summary ever on slashdot, and assuming it comes from the link, which I won't click, a hearty "your blog sucks".

It's actually 60%, not 40% (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38376438)

If you read the actual article, it reports that it's 60% of the best-selling ebooks that didn't even make it onto Amazon's list of the best-selling print books. (So the two lists only have 40% of their titles in common!)

REAMDE (2)

raygundan (16760) | more than 2 years ago | (#38376440)

In case anybody's mystified as to why REAMDE is selling better in print, it's because it's cheaper in hardcover, new, than it is on the Kindle. It's that simple.

Re:REAMDE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38376500)

No it isn't?

http://www.amazon.com/Reamde-Novel-Neal-Stephenson/dp/0061977969/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1323900831&sr=8-1 hardcover $20.77

http://www.amazon.com/Reamde-ebook/dp/B005IPRQGS/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1323900831&sr=8-2 kindle $13.92

Plus the medical bills for resetting your spine when you've carried the hardcover around for the day...

Re:REAMDE (3, Informative)

raygundan (16760) | more than 2 years ago | (#38376734)

I think you're reading the chart wrong. Both your links show the same grid:

$20.77 is the "Deckle Hardcover," whatever that is
$14.99 is the Kindle edition
$14.90 is the regular hardcover, new
$13.73 is the audiobook

Re:REAMDE (1)

raygundan (16760) | more than 2 years ago | (#38376846)

I've made a mistake, too. Both hardcovers are Deckle versions. However, the $20.77 is the amazon.com price and the $14.90 is from amazon's marketplace. Shipping charges may apply to the latter.

It's a distinction without a difference, though. Whether it's amazon itself shipping, or somebody amazon directed you to, it's either slightly cheaper or about the same price, and Amazon will happily buy it back for $6, effectively ending any question of which avenue costs the least.

Re:REAMDE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38377616)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deckle

Re:REAMDE (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38376784)

I'm just buying it for the collector value.
See, I know how these things work. First editions with a misprint in the title always end up being worth thousands.

Re:REAMDE (1)

raygundan (16760) | more than 2 years ago | (#38377374)

LOL. And you just know Amazon's going to fix it in their Kindle edition and push it to everybody's device, destroying the value. Hardcover's the only way to go.

Re:REAMDE (1)

HJED (1304957) | more than 2 years ago | (#38378986)

Actually Amazon doesn't push fixes to everyones device, they send you an email telling you there has been a mistake and a link to download the new version to your kindle.

Re:REAMDE (1)

c++0xFF (1758032) | more than 2 years ago | (#38378590)

README: The History of Important Configuration and Installation Information

I can't wait to read it!

Re:REAMDE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38377272)

It came out a few days earlier in print too.
I known that's why I got the hardcover.

What about non-price factors skewing the lists? (2)

sehlat (180760) | more than 2 years ago | (#38376466)

Treeware is (obviously) DRM-free. I'm curious as to how sales would like when controlled not just for price but for DRM-free versus DRM-infested.

I know for a fact that I buy or read a lot more stuff from DRM-free places *cough*Baen*cough* than I do from places that insist on DRM.

Re:What about non-price factors skewing the lists? (2, Insightful)

imthesponge (621107) | more than 2 years ago | (#38376506)

Honestly, nobody cares.

Re:What about non-price factors skewing the lists? (1)

sehlat (180760) | more than 2 years ago | (#38376754)

Honestly, nobody cares.

Oh? I didn't ask the question out of indifference.

Re:What about non-price factors skewing the lists? (2)

raygundan (16760) | more than 2 years ago | (#38377036)

You're right in an absolute sense, since you exist and you care... and there's a few more around as well. But we're a rounding error. Not enough of a market for anybody to give a crap about, and the big publishers get your money via normal books anyway.

You: "I Want DRM-Free books!"
Big Publishers: ".....ok. We call those books."
Tiny Publishers: "sure... it's in 57 formats on my website, there's a youtube video of Cory Doctorow singing it karaoke-style at a tiki bar, and I blogged the entire thing as I was writing it to sell ads anyway."
Amazon-centric Tiny Publishers: "shut up, dude... my book only costs $.99"

Re:What about non-price factors skewing the lists? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38377066)

Honestly, nobody cares.

Speak for yourself. You don't represent those of us who do care. I, for one, certainly do consider whether ebooks, audiobooks, software, etc. include DRM before making a purchase. With almost no exceptions, DRM = lost sale.

Re:What about non-price factors skewing the lists? (2)

jvin248 (1147821) | more than 2 years ago | (#38379298)

That's why I only publish my books in a DRM free format.

Just released book two in this series
The Black Jewel [youtube.com]

.

Price disparity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38376524)

Sounds like publishers are trying to stifle out E-books with discriminatory pricing.

Why aren't publishers being hauled in front of congress to explain how a few megabyte download is more expensive than a hard bound book?

Re:Price disparity (1)

sehlat (180760) | more than 2 years ago | (#38376814)

Sounds like publishers are trying to stifle out E-books with discriminatory pricing.

Why aren't publishers being hauled in front of congress to explain how a few megabyte download is more expensive than a hard bound book?

It's called the "free market." If they want to cut out a market segment, such as those of us who have gone all eBook, all the time, good riddance to them. There's plenty of good reading out there without having to say "Mother May I?" to the greediest.

Re:Price disparity (1)

jvin248 (1147821) | more than 2 years ago | (#38379328)

They are just locked into their distribution channels. Imagine how the regular book stores would scream to the publishers if the ebook price were $1 and paperback was $10? And a consumer has it in five minutes vs driving across town and standing in a checkout line for fifteen minutes. The publishers also have a huge staff and prime real estate in the most expensive city possible.

The real question is (2)

aarongadberry (1232868) | more than 2 years ago | (#38376582)

Would you read different books if you bought a Kindle?

Re:The real question is (1)

raygundan (16760) | more than 2 years ago | (#38376916)

I read different books *on* a Kindle. Just depends on what's cheaper where.

Re:The real question is (1)

HJED (1304957) | more than 2 years ago | (#38379026)

Yes, (although I didn't expect to when I got it) about 60% of the books I read are now .99c or free independent books. I also buy more books then I used to due to it being easier and cheaper.

I find a lot of people are suspicious of independent books, but if they have more than 4 stars they are usually well written and the reviews are usually good enough to tell if you want to read it or not.

I know I'm skewing the results (4, Interesting)

nani popoki (594111) | more than 2 years ago | (#38376744)

I'm a recent Kindle (Keyboard and Fire) owner. I probably spend US$50 a month on books. Over the years, I've accumulate a collection large enough to make me worry about how much floor loading my attic can stand. So having new books reduced to bits seems attractive. And the Kindle is often just easier to work with since I can adjust the print size to suit my vision comfort. Since I got my Kindle Keyboard (in August), I've downloaded and read about 100 titles. Not all of them were novel-length; I'd say on average the "book" was more like novella-length.

Also, I find myself buying eBooks that I'd probably not buy as pBooks (physical books), partly because they're cheaper and partly because they are impulse buys -- it takes me a few seconds to get a book over the internet and about two hours to drive to the nearest bookstore, buy a book and drive home. I found half a dozen authors I now buy regularly that I probably never would be reading if I'd had time to second-guess the "hmm... that looks interesting" reaction.

Re:I know I'm skewing the results (0)

goose-incarnated (1145029) | more than 2 years ago | (#38377326)

Perhaps I can interest you in trying another new author (ME!!!) [smashwords.com] . It's a short story (3 pages), but good enough to determine if you want to read a longer story by the same author.

Re:I know I'm skewing the results (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38377798)

Are you aware that writing idiotic non-words like "pBook" that will never be adopted by anyone and require parenthetical explanation at every use just makes you look like a tool? Just write "print book" and stop being a moron.

Pictures, Drawings? (1)

OFnow (1098151) | more than 2 years ago | (#38376968)

Any kindle owner knows not to buy any book that has pictures or drawings. E-ink simply does not work for those.

iPad (or the like, I would guess) are fine fine for pictures and drawings. And being able to use non-DRM ePub format documents is great in color. Don't tell anyone, but the ads in The New Yorker look much nicer on the iPad than they do in the print magazine!

It is profoundly annoying that publishers set nonsense prices. Except in unusual circumstances I simply ignore books with those ripoff publisher-set prices. That publishers refuse to put some (text only) books into Kindle at all really makes me angry at times.

Look up the Hanvon color eink reader (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 2 years ago | (#38377084)

Works fine. Most of the existing readers are using the old generation of display.

Re:Pictures, Drawings? (1)

wygit (696674) | more than 2 years ago | (#38377828)

J.K. Rowling has STILL refuses to allow the Harry Potter books to be released as e-books (until her own little Potterweb, or whatever the heck she's calling it, is ready) but that sure hasn't prevented her from being one of the most-downloaded authors online. She just doesn't get a penny from it, because she has chosen to go that way.

As compared to Louis C.K. who has taken in half a million dollars in four days by having a DRM-free download of his Beacon Theater performance available for $5.
https://buy.louisck.net/ [louisck.net]

Or, of course, Cory Doctorow, who manages to do quite well on book sales even with having his books available as free CC-licensed downloads.
http://craphound.com/ [craphound.com]

Shameless Self Promotion (1)

Sasayaki (1096761) | more than 2 years ago | (#38376986)

My (finished, in editing and rework stage) Kindle book: http://www.lacunaverse.com/reading/lacuna-demons-of-the-void [lacunaverse.com]

While I happen to think it's a good book, the issue with self-publishing is that so much of the material out there is crap. Maybe my book is crap, too; I made the first three chapters and prologue not only available online for free, but also CC-BY-SA-NC, so anyone who reads it can expand them, write their own fanfiction, etc.

But one of the advantages of reading the works of self-published writers is that that you often have a more direct connection to them, since getting noticed is the hardest part of writing a successful novel. If someone gives me feedback on my book, good bad or indifferent, then I'm much more likely to listen.

And... look. Despite what I said about so much of self-published books being crap, well... there is a lot of good stuff out there, too. For example, Harry Potter got rejected by basically every publisher in England before Bloomsbury took it up and then you know what happened from there. So just because something's not listed by a big publisher, it's still possible to be good.

Re:Shameless Self Promotion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38377214)

Yes, but despite its popularity, there are those that criticise the quality of HP. Especially in the thicker, later volumes. :-)

Re:Shameless Self Promotion (1)

wygit (696674) | more than 2 years ago | (#38377858)

Plus, of course, the amusing bit that ALL Harry Potter ebooks are pirated, because Rowling chooses to have it that way.

Re:Shameless Self Promotion (1)

Bucky24 (1943328) | more than 2 years ago | (#38377744)

Wait, you put only the first three chapters out under CC (Creative Commons)? I didn't know it was possible to split up a book's copyright like that.

Re:Shameless Self Promotion (1)

Sasayaki (1096761) | more than 2 years ago | (#38377790)

Sure, why wouldn't it be?

Re:Shameless Self Promotion (1)

Bucky24 (1943328) | more than 2 years ago | (#38377850)

No reason, just never heard of it before.

Re:Shameless Self Promotion (1)

Sasayaki (1096761) | more than 2 years ago | (#38377952)

The reason why I did this is threefold.

- If the book becomes popular, and I get fat and crazy like George Lucas, I want anyone who reads it and likes it to be protected. I don't want to turn into the next guy suing people for writing "Lightsaber" (or in my case, Toralii or whatever).
- I want people to write fanfiction if they so choose, and I want their ability to write said fan-fiction to be protected by something more than my own word. As indicated above, I think suing your fans is really stupid, and I want to give anyone who did write something the confidence that they're not going to get fucked over later.
- I believe copyright to be fundamentally broken in its current form and the Creative Commons scheme to be a vast improvement. What I'd prefer is something basically like the Creative Commons scheme I've picked, but one that's the opposite of "No Derivatives"; meaning that people can't redistribute perfect copies of the book, but only works based on it. By CCing the beginning, but keeping the end, I think this achieves the spirit of what I'm trying to get at; people can write fanfiction in this universe, but not basically just reprint the book.

Re:Shameless Self Promotion (2)

goose-incarnated (1145029) | more than 2 years ago | (#38377960)

1. I wouldn't be too hard on your book - I'm sure it isn't crap :-) What I've read thus far of it doesn't seem like crap :-)

2. The Harry Potter books didn't get successful via self-publishing (they were never self-published, were they?)

3. I write too, but have committed myself to only a single short story per week. I've got about seven completed now (science-fiction and humour, downloadable for free from smashwords (see my sig). The great thing about short stories is that you get to make your point, entertain your reader and have a sense of completion relatively quickly. For example, one of my short stories is only half a page long! Another is almost a novella at 19 pages (8500 words). Each one took at least a week (and, I do the cover art myself). My hope is that, instead of writing a full-length novel, I can put together a collection of short stories and sell those. For now, each of the stories are free. When I've got enough to make a collection (say ... 10 or more), I'll package it into a single eBook and sell it for money.

Impulse buys (1)

Xian97 (714198) | more than 2 years ago | (#38377152)

I don't see much if any savings on the latest NY Times Bestsellers, but I have discovered a lot of authors that I enjoyed at very reasonable prices. Several of the titles on the Kindle bestseller list were ones I had bought - I just finished one by Michael Prescott. At less than $3 many of the books become impulse buys and I will experiment with authors that I had never heard of before, something I would not do as much if the price were higher. Even then if I am unsure, I can always download a sample and see the book interests me before buying it.

Re:Impulse buys (Shameless plug) (1)

goose-incarnated (1145029) | more than 2 years ago | (#38377680)

Try a few more >a href="https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/lelanthran">impulse buys - the price is $0.00. I try to write mostly science fiction or humour.

Re:Impulse buys (Shameless plug) (1)

goose-incarnated (1145029) | more than 2 years ago | (#38377690)

Damn - it should be this [smashwords.com]

Damn - they only count non-free books. (1)

goose-incarnated (1145029) | more than 2 years ago | (#38377196)

I committed myself to producing one short story per week (and I'm thus far on course) until I start my MEng in January. Unfortunately, after a few experimentations with Amazon, I decided that the best course of action was to give my books away until I had enough for a collection of short stories.

(Warning - yet another shameless plug up ahead!)

Here's a short Zombie novella [smashwords.com] that has many downloads but only two reviews.

So, how does one go about getting fame and fortune (well, enough to live on, at least) just by writing? On Amazon only those established authors tend to get enough purchasers off of their books to continue writing (I, for example, have to stop in January), so where can I, and people like myself, go?

Re:Damn - they only count non-free books. (1)

jvin248 (1147821) | more than 2 years ago | (#38379412)

Having just released my second book in a series (book trailer here: The Black Jewel [youtube.com] ) and following some of the indie discussions. The secrets to big sales:
1. have a lot of books
2. get a lot of reviews via book bloggers
3. price the books right

it seems to be easiest for traditionally published authors to go indie (because they have 1&2 already) and offer books at low prices direct.

Idiotic Publishers (3, Insightful)

Xebikr (591462) | more than 2 years ago | (#38377332)

The reason ebook only books sell better is because they are priced in line with the market for ebooks. The market is clear that the correct price for a bunch of bits that make an ebook is up to ~$4. The traditional publishers are trying to use their monopoly to enforce a dead tree price on a bunch of electrons, and they are being outsold by less rigid authors who want to make money, not maintain control.

Re:Idiotic Publishers (1)

tgd (2822) | more than 2 years ago | (#38379156)

The reason ebook only books sell better is because they are priced in line with the market for ebooks. The market is clear that the correct price for a bunch of bits that make an ebook is up to ~$4. The traditional publishers are trying to use their monopoly to enforce a dead tree price on a bunch of electrons, and they are being outsold by less rigid authors who want to make money, not maintain control.

That would be insightful if it wasn't for the fact that for the books that are both in print and digital, the digital ones tend to be *more* expensive these days (excluding used book sales on the print ones). Apples to apples, print is generally cheaper.

Has anybody else noticed (1)

strangeattraction (1058568) | more than 2 years ago | (#38377826)

Say I go to Amazon and search for "Metal Lathe". Choose a particular item. Then look at "Customers Who Viewed This Item Also Viewed" to see what other items might be of interest. Amazingly Kindles seem to show up in this list for pretty much any item you look for. Coincidence?

Hold long do you think e-books will stay cheap? (2)

bryan1945 (301828) | more than 2 years ago | (#38378196)

Especially DRM'd e-books with lock-in. Physical books are more expensive since you have to print, ship, maybe ship again. As physical books start going away ("Look at the overhead we're saving on going all e-book!"), and e-books become more popular, why wouldn't expect to see price creep?

(This is in response to the discussions on pricing above, in which I didn't see this point brought up.)

Really? Lamest possible example. (1)

mcguirez (524534) | more than 2 years ago | (#38379318)

Let me get this straight, book #99 on the print list (Reamde) didn't make it onto the ebook top 100.

Yeah, that's news. Actually, it *barely* made it onto the top 100 printed book list. At least it wasn't DFL (dead last).

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