Sunday, October 30, 2011
... trying to make sense of the amazon bestsellers and pricing for e-books...
ach hour Amazon updates its bestsellers lists. I have taken a daily snapshot of the top 20 bestsellers in the e-book fiction list for the past week. See here.
What can be learnt from these data?
1. 4 out 5 of the bestsellers are from print or traditional authors. Most are brand-named authors who dominate the print bestsellers.
2. Almost all of the authors have multiple titles to their credit. The author of The Help is a notable exception.
3. The e-book prices of indie authors are substantially lower than print authors. For the most part, their titles are priced at $0.99.
4. The books on the list fall into four categories: (i) pre-release from brand-named authors, (ii) new or recently released titles (iii) long-term bestsellers (greater than one year), (iv) backlist titles. Indie authors fall into (ii) and (iv).
5. The indie authors includes authors who previously had publishing deals with print publishers, but who are now releasing their backlist titles and new titles as e-books.
6. Pre-releases titles have the highest average price followed by new releases and the long-term bestsellers—the later being priced to reflect an inelastic demand. Backlist titles and indie authors have the lowest.
7. Print publishers are releasing e-books at the same time as the hardcover. The paperback versions are scheduled for release some 6 to 8 months later. The e-books are priced at about the same price as the paperback list price or the discounted HC price.
8. The price of e-books for backlist titles tends to be substantially lower than new release pricing.
9. For books with print versions, the average e-book price is 53% of the list price of the print version.
10. Several new releases entered the top-20 and fell out within a few days.
11. Factors affecting the purchasing decision: (i) affinity with a known author (e.g. people were hot to read the latest title from Lee Child or Nicholas Sparks), (ii) pricing, and (iii) perceived quality of the text.