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The Kindle Skews Amazon's 2011 Best-Seller List 135

Posted by samzenpus
from the ruining-the-curve dept.
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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The Kindle Skews Amazon's 2011 Best-Seller List

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  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @04:57PM (#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.

    • 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.
      • by Yvan256 (722131) on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @05:07PM (#38376410) Homepage Journal

        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".

        • by 0123456 (636235)

          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?

          • by icebike (68054) on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @06:26PM (#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?).

        • 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
        • by fotbr (855184)

          Do you really think people buy 20+ books per order?

          Yes. I do, two or three times per year, and have for the last 6 years or so, and a 20+ book order is a hell of a lot more than $25.

          I also don't buy ebooks, mostly because the books I want to read aren't available in ebook form.

      • by PopeAlien (164869) on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @05:07PM (#38376416) Homepage Journal

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

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

      • It's like popcorn (Score:5, Insightful)

        by alexander_686 (957440) on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @06:30PM (#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.

    • 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

      • by SomePgmr (2021234) on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @05:28PM (#38376672) Homepage
        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.
      • by tsotha (720379) on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @10:16PM (#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.

      • One issue here in the UK is that ebooks attract a VAT charge of 20% whereas printed books do not, so even if the publisher does set the ebook price lower the compulsory VAT charge pushes it back up again.

        When the prices are very close it's a toss-up as to which format to buy. With a physical book you get all the experience that goes with it plus you are able to easily lend/give or even resell the book once done. With the ebook you get to keep that book forever and it takes up absolutely no space in my alrea

    • by raygundan (16760) on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @05:05PM (#38376390) Homepage

      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.

      • by Trepidity (597)

        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.

        • by raygundan (16760) on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @05:45PM (#38376954) Homepage

          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.

          • by Trepidity (597)

            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?

            • 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)

              • by raygundan (16760)

                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.

            • by RDW (41497)

              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: (Score:3, Funny)

            by Bucky24 (1943328)

            Look at REAMDE, cited in the article.

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

            • by c++0xFF (1758032)

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

          • That's strange: I get,

            Amazon price (physical book): $20.77 (reduced from a list price of $35)
            External seller: 45 new, from $14.90; 18 used, form $14.48
            Kindle price: $8.82 (reduced from a list price $11.03)

            Not saying that the kindle price isn't exactly on the expensive side, especially for a bunch of electrons that often haven't been subject to quality control. But it's definitely cheaper buying Kindle books when compared to paper-books, especially when you compare the prices from Amazon alone.

      • by SlickNic (1097097)
        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 prin
        • by HJED (1304957)
          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
        • by tsotha (720379)

          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.

      • by wzzzzrd (886091)

        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?

        • by raygundan (16760)

          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.

      • by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @05:42PM (#38376908) Homepage

        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."

        • by raygundan (16760)

          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.

          • They've been losing sales to the used markets for years, and they're used to it. It's not that bad, either, because lots of people have an emotional aversion to buying anything "used".
    • by Daetrin (576516) on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @05:08PM (#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?
      • by MozeeToby (1163751) on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @05:18PM (#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.

        • by Daetrin (576516)
          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.
          • by HJED (1304957)
            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 e
      • 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.
    • by PRMan (959735) on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @05:20PM (#38376580)
      ...And it's a glorified rental that they can take back from you at any time.
    • by Schlemphfer (556732) on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @07:17PM (#38378228) Homepage

      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.

      • and ultimately get rid of.

        And what? A few days ago, my oldest kid was talking about what it'd be like if animals were human-smart, and I remembered that I had a copy of Sterling's "Our Neural Chernobyl" downstairs in the library. Two minutes later and she was curled up in the recliner and happily reading away. I have books in there dating back to my elementary school days. Tonight, I'm sending my son to fetch Hitchhiker's because I think he'll like it and we already own it.

        Second, the family library scales immensely in that we can e

    • by ILongForDarkness (1134931) on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @07:53PM (#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.
      • by jvin248 (1147821)
        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
        • Yep that is what I read as well. I think it might even been a /. post a couple months ago some guy rant on why he turned down a 6 or 7 figure deal for self publishing. He was complaining that the publisher also wanted the same 90% or so for ebooks even though they literally would be doing no work/materials for those extra electronic sales. He broke it down, 70% of $3 is 2.10 10% of $20 is $2 but they also get you for advertisement, manufacturing, etc etc. By the time you are done you get ~0.50 a book with
          • by elrous0 (869638) *

            It's not just books. Louis C.K. just released his latest comedy special for $5 on his website, bypassing the traditional studio route. Turned out to be a pretty profitable [washingtonpost.com] move.

    • by tricorn (199664) <sep@shout.net> on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @07:57PM (#38378670) Journal

      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.

    • by JanneM (7445)

      Ebooks are usually more expensive than the paperbacks, not cheaper. The only way you'd save money with a Kindle is if you're the kind of person who used to buy the hardcover instead of waiting for the cheaper mass-market editions.

      • by elrous0 (869638) *

        This is my anecdotal experience of course. But almost everything I buy is usually significantly cheaper on the Kindle edition. On the last two books I bought I saved $5 on one and $10 on the other. Not sure if that's related to the genres I prefer or to regional differences in Kindle pricing (something I wasn't aware of until this thread). I almost never see a book that's more expensive for the Kindle edition. I have seen a few where the price is the same.

  • marketing (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @05:05PM (#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 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 st

      • by jvin248 (1147821)
        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.
    • 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".

  • by raygundan (16760) on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @05:09PM (#38376440) Homepage

    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 (Score:5, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @05:34PM (#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.

      • by raygundan (16760)

        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.

        • by HJED (1304957)
          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.
      • by c++0xFF (1758032)

        README: The History of Important Configuration and Installation Information

        I can't wait to read it!

  • 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: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by imthesponge (621107)
      Honestly, nobody cares.
      • by sehlat (180760)

        Honestly, nobody cares.

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

        • by raygundan (16760)

          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

  • Would you read different books if you bought a Kindle?

    • by raygundan (16760)

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

    • by HJED (1304957)
      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.
  • by nani popoki (594111) on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @05:32PM (#38376744) Homepage

    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.

  • 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 ripof

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

    • by wygit (696674)

      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.lou [louisck.net]

  • 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 writ

    • by Bucky24 (1943328)
      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.
      • by Sasayaki (1096761)

        Sure, why wouldn't it be?

        • by Bucky24 (1943328)
          No reason, just never heard of it before.
          • by Sasayaki (1096761)

            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 wa

    • 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, en
      • by Sasayaki (1096761)

        That's a very good way of doing things! I was actually thinking of doing something similar with a short story collection set in the same world as Lacuna, called Tales of the Toralii.

        Good stuff you're writing, too. Keep up the good work... and drop me a line (uhh somehow?) when the short story collection gets released!

  • 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 se
  • 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
    • by jvin248 (1147821)
      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 (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Xebikr (591462) on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @06:14PM (#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.
    • by tgd (2822)

      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.

      • by Xebikr (591462) on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @10:28PM (#38379780)
        Kind of my point. Publishers seem to be terrified of the popularity of ebooks, so they look to make them as unappealing as possible. Price of a product with no shipping, no inventory, and no materials cost is more expensive than the print ones? That stinks of market manipulation and tells me they really don't want ebooks to succeed. Meanwhile, many self-published authors are making bank on an often inferior product because they sell at a reasonable price. Seriously. Publishers need to give customers what they want at a fair price. I think they'd be surprised how much money they'd make.
  • 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?
  • by bryan1945 (301828) on Wednesday December 14, 2011 @07:14PM (#38378196) Journal

    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.)

  • 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).

  • People with kindles are buying ebooks instead of print books? And buying ebooks that are cheaper then their print counterparts (if any?).

    wow, what a weird world we live in.

  • Personally I find it much nicer when people in the audience keep their damned mouths shut..
  • I wonder if the ebook sales indicate more precisely what people actually want to read, as opposed to what the marketing machine of bookstores convinces them to buy. (You didn't really think that piles of "our recommended books" or even "best-seller" lists were fair and/or merely the things that bookstore employees liked, did you?)

    Of course marketing does affect ebook sales as well, but perhaps not as much as the effect of being in a store and seeing a pile of what's clearly the latest hot seller, the book

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