The massive growth of Amazon Publishing imprints is illustrated vividly this week as they took seven of the 10 top spots on the Amazon.com Kindle ebook best-sellers’ list while indie publishers had two entrants and traditional publishing had just a single book on the list.
New release The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchison was No 1, published by Amazon’s very successful mystery/thriller imprint Thomas & Mercer.
Second was We’re All Damaged, by Matthew Norman, from Little A, which is Amazon’s literary imprint.
Trad publishing made its only entry in third place with Penguin’s Me Before You by JoJo Moyes, getting a sales boost from the release of the film of the book.
There was another crimer in fourth, but this time from Amazon translation arm, Amazon Crossing, which publishes Time Heals No Wounds by Hendrik Falkenberg, set on the North German coast.
Fifth is yet another Amazon imprint — science fiction/fantasy specialist 47North — with Enemy by K Eason, while sixth spot was taken by Thomas & Mercer author, Robert Dugoni, with My Sister’s Grave, the first novel in his Tracy Crosswhite series.
Amazon’s Montlake Romance imprint secures seventh with The All-Star Antes Up by Nancy Harkness. Self-published Sabrina Paige is in eighth with the epic-length Killian at 947 print equivalent pages — I bet that does well on Kindle Unlimited.
There’s another indie-published romance in ninth spot with Staci Hart’s Wasted Words from the brilliantly named Promise Socks Publishing, another lengthy ebook at the equivalent of 477 print pages.
The Top 10 is rounded off by another title from Amazon’s Little A — Intrusion by Mary McCluskey, which is on pre-order for a July 1 release.
The rest of the Top 20 continues in the same vein, dominated by more indie and Amazon titles, with trad publishing making only a couple of appearances, perhaps only one if you consider JK Rowling’s Pottermore to be an indie.
What’s really notable when you look down the best-selling list are the ebook prices. Amazon imprints generally publish at $4.99 or thereabouts while self-publishers tend to go somewhere between $0.99 and $2.99 and the few trads stick out a mile at $8.99 or higher.
The next time you read a so-called news article proclaiming ebook sales to be falling, take a closer look and you’ll find the ‘survey’ is based on figures just from trad publishers, who are, as you can see, losing the ebook market to Amazon and indies.
They seem strangely to consider this to be some sort of triumph and proclaim the resurgence of print, which is based largely on the astonishing popularity of coloring books and the massive sales of a black swan like The Girl on The Train by Paula Hawkins.
Amazon’s imprints have now built up a substantial bridgehead in the ebook market, backed, of course, by their massive marketing power. They also provide a large amount of quality content for the ebook subscription service Kindle Unlimited. Amazon Publishing has done this by offering authors a fair deal on ebook royalties, with reported rates of 50% compared with the maximum 25% on offer at trad firms.
Some authors initially self-publish successfully and are then offered an Amazon deal and it speaks volumes that many writers, such as previously trad-published Robert Dugoni, are happy to forsake the extra 20% they could make self-publishing direct and sign up with Amazon.