Best-seller lists expand to encompass electronic titles; romance popular
One thinks big name authors live and die by the best-seller list rankings. Those of us toiling in the lower levels of the literary landscape admire the sales figures and scour the lists looking for our next book to read. E-book publishing, once the techy stepchild of the publishing business, is the fastest growing market segment and the subject of dedicated best-seller lists. E-books also contribute significantly to sales in a new list for self-published books.
Publisher’s Weekly (PW) the trade journal for the book publishing/distributing business, has started a new list, recording the best-selling books self-published through the Smashwords platform. The top-25 list is dominated by romance titles with three authors appearing three times each. Each of those authors, Katie Ashely, Abbi Glines, and Shayne Parkinson, publish in e-book and paperback formats, as do many if not all in the top 25.
A list of the most popular e-books in 2012 was also published by PW and it’s comprehensive. The list includes hundreds of e-books in graduated categories from 15 million in sales to 50,000. Makes interesting reading. There’s no indication as to which publishers PW queried, but it probably omitted very small houses and self publishers. The first comment the online PW article generated was by someone suggesting they publish a list of the top selling self-published e-books. A good suggestion, though the list might be quite similar to the above-mentioned self-publishing list. With Amazon’s Create Space program, it’s simple for an author to create a paper book and e-book simultaneously; often the e-book is priced lower.
Other e-book best-seller lists are, if not plentiful, easily accessible. In the latest Digital Book World list, for the week ending Aug. 18, an e-book from a small publisher beat out the big New York names. As noted in the listing, the top selling e-book, The Boy in the Suitcase, was priced significantly below the e-books from larger publishers. Price has an effect on e-book sales, as discussed in this blog before, and the best-seller lists are good places for book buyers, authors and others to keep up with market trends.
The venerable New York Times also has e-book best seller lists for fiction and nonfiction and Amazon lists the top-selling Kindle books this year to date.
Also worth reading is Jeremy Greenfield’s article on top selling e-books from Forbes last month. Hachette, one of the Big Five US publishers, has recorded 153 e-book best-sellers this year, Greenfield reports.