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Amazon Launches Kindle Bestseller Archive

For those who like to keep their finger on the pulse of Kindle book sales, Amazon has just announced the launch of several bestseller archives including a comprehensive archive of Kindle Store bestsellers on a year-by-year, month-by-month, and week-by-week basis going back to the very first day of the Kindle era, November 19, 2007. Here are links to the three full-year bestseller lists, where you will also find pull-down menus that make it easy to focus on any week or month during the 25 months since we have had Kindle books to download.

I found it to be great fun to peruse these lists, and as is usually the case when I check out end-of-the-year lists for just about any year, I found a few titles that I really wanted to read, but somehow missed the first time around.

No doubt there will be far more interesting analyses of these archives by others, but there are a few things that jump right out at me about the 2009 Kindle Store bestseller list:

  • Over 20 of the 100 bestselling books for the entire year are public domain classics. Others can grouse about the devaluing of the book, but I frankly do not see it that way. What I do see is that the Kindle is playing a serious role in keeping significant numbers of readers in touch with great literature. 
  • Other data that is available to me strongly suggests that, although Amazon did not make a dime on the Kindle editions of the 23 public domain titles that I count among the top 100 Kindle Store “sellers” for 2009, these titles accounted for well over a million downloads to Kindle owners. 
  • Another 21 of the top 100 bestselling Kindle books for 2009 are “promotional” titles that are currently free in the Kindle Store, which among other things suggests that timing can be everything for books that have just become free. What I’m getting at there is that there has been an absolute tsunami of Kindle activity beginning at dawn on Christmas Day, such that the number of fresh downloads for a new freebie like Noel Hynd’s Midnight in Madrid could help to push it into the top 10 for the year, something that might not have been true if it had been free for a week in July.
  • I also noted that at least another 20 of the 100 bestselling titles in the Kindle Store for 2009 are books that, while not free any more, were free at some earlier point in the year and owe their precedence at least in part to that circumstance. As a result, that leaves about one-third of the top 100 Kindle titles whose 2009 sales chiefly involved actual payment transactions between Kindle owners and Amazon.

No doubt some wag will look at these numbers and conclude that the Kindle is cheapening the book, but that wag will be dead wrong, just as he would be dead wrong if he concluded from other data that libraries are cheapening the book.

Instead, here’s how it works:

  • Kindle books that are free or otherwise less expensive than the $14 to $35 that mainstream publishers try to get for trade hardcovers and paperbacks encourage people to buy Kindles, as about three million readers have done so far.
  • When someone buys a Kindle they buy, in the vast majority of cases, more books than they used to buy, at prices ranging from free to $9.99 and above.
  • There is ample room in the Kindle pricing market for significant margin and royalties for all concerned including Amazon, the author, and — where necessary — the publisher.

It really isn’t rocket science.

Price Breakdown on Kindle Store’s 300,000 Books as of June 11

Kindle Books Priced at $0.00 – 7,409 Titles

Kindle Books Price from $0.01 to $0.98 – 7.956 Titles

Kindle Books Priced at $0.99 – 21,159 Titles

Kindle Titles Priced from $1.00 to $2.99 – 37,202 Titles

Kindle Titles Priced from $3.00 to $4.99 – 47,217 Titles

Kindle Titles Priced from $5.00 to $7.49 – 27,729 Titles

Kindle Titles Priced from $7.50 to $9.98 – 25,039 Titles

Kindle Titles Priced at $9.99 – 44,230 Titles

Kindle Titles Priced from $10.00 to $14.99 – 6,919 Titles

Kindle Titles Priced from $15.00 to $19.99 – 10,120 Titles

Kindle Titles Priced from $20.00 to $29.99 – 3,681 Titles

Kindle Titles Priced from $30.00 to $39.99 – 12,545 Titles

Kindle Titles Priced from $40.00 to $49.99 – 7,078 Titles

Kindle Titles Priced from $50.00 to $99.99 – 22,272 Titles

Kindle Titles Priced from $100.00 to $199.99 – 17,797 Titles

Kindle Titles Priced from $200.00 to $999.99 – 2,032 Titles

Kindle Titles Priced from $1000.00 to $6431.20 – 32 Titles

Free Books in the Kindle Store

“Big Deals” on Kindle web page

Free Direct eBook Downloads to Your Kindle: Get Over 23,900 Free Books For Your Kindle at ManyBooks

Want to enjoy great, well-formatted reading on your Kindle, but beginning to feel like you are contributing a little too much to keeping the wolf from Amazon’s door?

Don’t want to fool around with transferring ebooks to and from your computer via USB connection? You may be amazed at how easy it can be to download free books directly to your Kindle over the Whispernet, without any need for a computer!

Try ManyBooks, one of the favorite websites used by Kindle owners to find and transfer free books for their Kindles. As you can see with the image above at the right, ManyBooks and its current catalog of 23,905 free books is also nicely optimized for viewing on your Kindle or on any other mobile device.

Just follow these steps to make ManyBooks a regular part of your Kindle browsing, all at absolutely no cost:

  • Use your Kindle keyboard to type mnybks.net from your home screen or from within any content you are reading on your Kindle. This is the ManyBook mobile URL. If you are reading this piece as a Kindle Nation daily blog article directly on your Kindle, you can go to the ManyBooks mobile site directly just by clicking here.
  • Push your 5-way (Kindle 2 or DX) or scrollwheel (Kindle 1) to the right to select “go to” or “google” to enable the Kindle’s web browser to bring you to the ManyBooks website or a Google listing of ManyBooks links.
  • No need to type a prefix such as http:// – the Kindle will take care of that.
  • Use the category links or keyword search feature at the ManyBooks mobile website to find a book, and click on it to begin downloading it directly to your Kindle via Whispernet.
  • Click on the “Mobipocket/Kindle” download option from the next screen, and you will see the screen prompt above, at right. Click OK to continue, give the book a moment to download, and you should find the title on your Home screen when you check for it.

Following a Successful Author’s Experience with New Publishing Technologies

Sunday afternoon

He calls it “A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing“, but don’t think for a moment that Joe Konrath hasn’t been to Night School. As I have already discussed in the Kindle Nation newsletter, Joe is my eye idea of an author who is working hard at connecting with his base of readers. As a direct consequence, that base is expanding by leaps and bounds.

Most recently, due in part to some nice symbiosis between Joe and Kindle Nation, “his” novel Serial has soared to the #1 bestseller position, among 290,000 Kindle books, in the Kindle Store. (Why the quotation marks around the word “his”? Because Joe’s the human behind the Jack Kilborn pen name.)

Joe is also the successful author of the Jack Daniels suspense-with-an-edge series, hold the garnish and the little umbrella, that began with the 2004 publication of Whiskey Sour.

If you are an author or independent publisher who wants to learn how to work the new technologies to find your readers, here are two suggestions:

The Genius of Instapaper: for ParisLemon, a reason to buy the Kindle

Ordinarily when I find something like the usefulness of Instapaper with the Kindle, I worry that Amazon may be moved to take steps to block the feature based on the reasonable notion that it could cannibalize K-content revenues. But here’s a guy who was already using Instapaper, had been anti-Kindle, but when he learned that the Kindle and Instapaper played nice together it was the tipping point in persuading him to buy a Kindle 2. I agree with him that Instapaper rocks, with or without a Kindle.

Here’s my March 30 Kindle Nation post about the genius of Instapaper for Kindle owners.

Order these free books for your Kindle 2 before they disappear

Here’s a money-saving tip for new Kindlers who are awaiting for the arrival of their Kindle 2. Amazon, publishers, and authors often get together to offer temporary “zero-price promotions” on popular books in the Kindle Store, in addition to the thousands of free public-domain titles that are now available.

Naturally, these books do not remain free forever, but you do not have to wait for the arrival of your Kindle 2 to place your order. You can order these free books today and they will be delivered wirelessly to your Kindle 2 when you power it up for the first time. Just make sure that you place the order through the Amazon account that will be linked to your Kindle.

Eight of these books are being offered free by Random House through the end of February, and many are by authors who are publishing new work in 2009.

The ninth is a real treat, a major new Kindle exclusive cookbook from Cook’s Illustrated, and it alone may help you to expand the ways you have considered using your Kindle. The promotion allows Amazon to show off how the Kindle 2’s new, crisper display, zoom feature, and better hands-free functionality are more cookbook-compatible than its predecessor.

Finally, the tenth link here isn’t free, but it’s for an accessory that I highly recommend, especially if you think you might use the Kindle 2 either as cookbook repository or as a read-aloud companion while you are in the kitchen. M-Edge, which has emerged as a leading supplier of attractive Kindle covers for the original Kindle, has come out with a great selection of Kindle 2 covers that double as stand-up hands-free Kindle platforms. They range in price from faux-leather models at the same $29.99 price that Amazon is now charging for its branded cover to $54.99 (currently discounted to $44.99) for very attractive genuine leather models in several colors. Just visit the Kindle 2 Accessories page and scroll down (if you can!) past those dreamy three-figure designer covers from Cole-Haan.

Murder List by Julie Garwood

The Idiot Girl and the Flaming Tantrum of Death by Laurie Notaro

Prague by Arthur Phillips
Caught Stealing by Charlie Huston
Six Bad Things by Charlie Huston
Free-Range Chickens by Simon Rich