Ebook Publisher Power Rankings: Top Publishers of 2014…So Far

The DBW Ebook Best-Seller Power Rankings is a list of publishers whose ebooks have appeared on the weekly DBW Ebook Best-Seller list. The publishers are listed in order depending on how many appearances their titles made on the ebook best-seller list on a week-to-week basis. 

The two largest trade publishers in the world controlled nearly two-thirds of all ebook best-sellers in the first half of 2014.

Penguin Random House and HarperCollins combined to appear on the Digital Book World Ebook Best-Seller list a combined 406 times out of a total of 650 possible, about 65%. Penguin Random House led the way with 250 best-sellers (40% of the total) and HarperCollins had 156 (nearly 25%). The two companies also combined for 19 No. 1 best-sellers out of 25 total. HarperCollins had 12, driven by the success of Veronica Roth’s Divergent in the first quarter, and Penguin Random House had seven.

Hachette, Amazon and Simon & Schuster rounded out the rest of the top five, combining for about 26% of the rest of the best-sellers. Self-published authors, if taken as a group, clocked in at No. 6, publishing 4% of the best-sellers, including a No. 1 best-seller.

The standings remained basically unchanged from the first quarter (see second chart below).

Related: First Quarter 2014 Publisher Power Rankings | 2013 Full-Year Power Rankings


Self-Published Authors

In the second half of the year, we will witness a drop-off in self-published best-sellers due to the effects of Kindle Unlimited and the methodology of the DBW Ebook Best-Seller List.

That said, it cannot be understated what an amazing accomplishment it is for even one self-published title to make the best-seller list. They are often priced far below traditionally published ebooks but that should not diminish the accomplishment of attracting hordes of readers over the course of a week (check the DBW list methodology; it’s not easy to make it).

There are publishers with hundreds of employees all pulling in the same direction — to publish hit books — that have not seen the same success in the first half of the year. Even after the methodology of the list changed, self-published authors continue to generate best-sellers, too.

Top Ebook Publishers | First Half 2014
Rank Publisher Appearances No. 1 Best-Sellers
1 Penguin Random House 250 7
2 HarperCollins 156 12
3 Hachette 78 3
4 Amazon 60 2
5 Simon & Schuster 28 0
6 Self-published 25 1
7 Scholastic 8 0
8 (tie) Harlequin 4 0
8 (tie) Macmillan 4 0
10 (tie) W.W. Norton 2 0
10 (tie) Harvard University Press 2 0
10 (tie) Fire Flower Publishing 2 0
10 (tie) Perseus Books 2 0
14 (tie) RosettaBooks 1 0
14 (tie) B&H Books 1 0
14 (tie) Kensington Books 1 0
14 (tie) Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 1 0


Second quarter ebook publisher power rankings:


Top Ebook Publishers | Second Quarter 2014
Rank Publisher Appearances No. 1 Best-Sellers
1 Penguin Random House 128 7
2 HarperCollins 89 2
3 Hachette 36 2
4 Amazon 30 1
5 Simon & Schuster 16 0
6 Self-published 13 1
7 (tie) W.W. Norton 2 0
7 (tie) Harvard University Press 2 0
7 (tie) Fire Flower Publishing 2 0
7 (tie) Perseus Books 2 0
7 (tie) Harlequin 2 0
12 (tie) Scholastic 1 0
12 (tie) RosettaBooks 1 0
12 (tie) B&H Books 1 0

* Data provided by Iobyte Solutions. Contact Iobyte for more information on ebook pricing.

4 thoughts on “Ebook Publisher Power Rankings: Top Publishers of 2014…So Far

  1. AJR

    Big publishing houses still have control but I see them going the way of the Camera shops and record stores. People want good entertainment and how can that be encouraged if the author has to spend not only their time, energy, and talents but worse their own money out of pocket because these big houses won’t even take the financial risk. They only want the rewards. Support the Indy’s and encourage the “artists” to do their job even better by paying them their fair share. Music artists demanded a revamp of their system in the 80’s and it’s time for the book world to do the same.

  2. Bill Gleason

    Fascinating information. Is it possible to break it down even further with two additional categories? One category might be named “# of Titles” and the second “# Titles In Print”.

    For example, Penguin Random House had 250 appearances. How many books made those appearances? And, most importantly, how many of the ebooks were also published in print versions.

    With so many of the largest book publishers also dominating the ebook best seller scene – this raises huge and salient questions about book discoverability…

    Do bookstores drive the sale of ebook best sellers – or do online outreach/discoverability efforts? And to what extent…

    I believe it is bookstores (and other traditional media like book reviews, movies, etc.) But the devil is in the details and percentages. Love to hear what others think…


  3. Angela Badgett

    I was considering using a company called Smashwords to self publish since I could do it at little or no cost. I don’t see them on this list. Does anyone have any information on this company? I have a finished book and here at the last minute, I see they are no where near even a moderate success level in e-publishing.

  4. James Antonio

    Don’t waste your time with this if you are a struggling author trying to get published. Unless your book is published FIRST in conventional form, hard cover or paperback, and gets a GOOD review in the NY Times or another major paper and makes the best seller list–your book will linger unknown and unrecognized somewhere with all the others out there in the digital jungle.



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