Kindle Unlimited Effect Not Yet Felt on DBW Ebook Best-Seller List, ‘Fault’ Still No. 1

kindle unlimitedThe launch of Kindle Unlimited last week put renewed focus on the Amazon Kindle best-seller list and, therefore, on the Digital Book World Ebook Best-Seller list.

According to Publishers Lunch:

But now it seems quite clear observationally that KU “reads” or “checkouts” are counted by Amazon towards the “paid” bestseller list, as if they were real sales — at least on the site’s “hourly” bestseller list. We won’t know how this affects their weekly lists for a little, but anyone compiling bestseller lists based on Amazon data (e.g. USA Today and should consider this very carefully.

We have been. In the wake of revelations that the Kindle First program free and cheap reads were being counted toward the Amazon Kindle best-seller list, we worked with Amazon in finding a way to continue to count the direct sales of these titles toward the list. We were unable to find a way and so removed them from the list.

We have contacted Amazon about Kindle Unlimited and will attempt to work with the retailer to continue to deliver to you the most accurate picture of what ebook buyers across retailers are buying when it come to ebooks and how much they’re paying for them.

This week, only one title that is also included in Kindle Unlimited made the best-seller list: Pines (The Wayward Pines Trilogy 1) by Blake Crouch from Amazon Publishing. It is ranked No. 22 and was not in the list last week.

UPDATE: There are two other titles on our list from Kindle Unlimited — Business Adventures: Twelve Classic Tales from the World of Wall Street by John Brooks (No. 17, Open Road Media) and Rhett by J.S. Cooper (No. 20, self-published). We regret the error of missing these two titles.


The Fault in Our Stars

The John Green hit The Fault in Our Stars is still No. 1 on this week’s ebook best-seller list, despite strong debut showings from The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness (No. 2, Penguin Random House) and The Heist by Daniel Silva (No. 3, HarperCollins). It’s the eleventh straight week the book has been No. 1 on the list.


Best-Seller Prices

The average price of a top-25 best-selling ebook remained steady at $7.57 this week, up just $0.05 from last week.


Top 25 Ebook Best-Sellers
Week Ending 7/19/14
Rank* Title Author Publisher  Price**  Change
1 (1) The Fault in Our Stars John Green Penguin Random House  $    4.99
2 (n/a) The Book of Life: A Novel (All Souls Trilogy) Deborah Harkness Penguin Random House  $   11.99 New
3 (n/a) The Heist: A Novel (Gabriel Allon Book 14) Daniel Silva HarperCollins  $   13.99 New
4 (4) Invisible James Patterson; David Ellis Hachette  $    8.99
5 (2) Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption Laura Hillenbrand Penguin Random House  $    4.99 -3
6 (6) Gone Girl: A Novel Gillian Flynn Penguin Random House  $    8.52
7 (5) The Goldfinch: A Novel (Pulitzer Prize for Fiction) Donna Tartt Hachette  $    6.99 -2
8 (3) Act of War: A Thriller Brad Thor Simon & Schuster  $   12.99 -5
9 (7) Top Secret Twenty-One: A Stephanie Plum Novel Janet Evanovich Penguin Random House  $   10.99 -2
10 (9) Chill Factor: A Novel Sandra Brown Simon & Schuster  $    1.99 -1
11 (10) Orphan Train: A Novel Christina Baker Kline HarperCollins  $    6.99 -1
12 (12) Insurgent (Divergent Book 2) Veronica Roth HarperCollins  $    6.99
13 (11) Power Play (An FBI Thriller Book 18) Catherine Coulter Penguin Random House  $   10.99 -2
14 (13) Allegiant (Divergent Series) Veronica Roth HarperCollins  $    6.99 -1
15 (8) The Silkworm (Cormoran Strike Series #2) Robert Galbraith Hachette  $    8.99 -7
16 (15) The Husband’s Secret Liane Moriarty Penguin Random House  $    9.99 -1
17 (n/a) Business Adventures: Twelve Classic Tales from the World of Wall Street John Brooks Open Road Media  $    9.99 New
18 (n/a) Plain Truth: A Novel Jodi Picoult Simon & Schuster  $    1.99 New
19 (14) Divergent Veronica Roth HarperCollins  $    4.99 -5
20 (22) Rhett J. S. Cooper Self-published  $    3.99 +2
21 (18) If I Stay Gayle Forman Penguin Random House  $    4.99 -3
22 (n/a) Pines (The Wayward Pines Trilogy 1) Blake Crouch Amazon  $    1.99 New
23 (n/a) Me Before You: A Novel Jojo Moyes Penguin Random House  $    6.99 New
24 (17) All Fall Down: A Novel Jennifer Weiner Simon & Schuster  $   10.99 -7
25 (20) Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison Piper Kerman Penguin Random House  $    5.99 -5

* Previous week’s list rank in parentheses.

** Price reflects minimum price across all retailers throughout the week. Price may vary between retailers and may change throughout the week. Contact Iobyte Solutions for more information on ebook pricing. Methodology available here.

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5 thoughts on “Kindle Unlimited Effect Not Yet Felt on DBW Ebook Best-Seller List, ‘Fault’ Still No. 1

  1. Michael J. Sullivan

    I’m going to assume (always a bad idea) that the numbers Amazon gives to regarding “sales” or “download” match the data that self-published writers find in their KDP dashboards. If that is so, then the downloads through KU indicate that the reader has past the 10% mark (or 0% mark for those titles that were put into the program against publisher’s consent) so that will mean money in the publisher’s/author’s pocket – which seems right.

    We have seen that the “rank” changes as soon as the download occurs, but the “credit” occurs once the threshold is reached. I think this will help keep the DBW list well represented.

    For Hugh Howey and “Data Guy” this new system is going to wreck havoc. The sales to rank formula works prettty well in the old system so you can get a good feel for “number of sales” but when a title is in Select (pre KU) then you never know how many are getting full royalty price and how many are getting KOLL share. When it was only one title a month, not such a big deal…but now that it is going to be significantly more downloads…well that is going to make it difficult. Not to mention the rank to sales number changes dramatically when volume goes up – as it is now. People are already reporting that sales levels that used to produce a certain rank are now resulting in a much higher rank.

    I appreciate what you guys are doing to report on bessellers – an already difficult job just got harder.

    1. Jeremy Greenfield Post author

      Thanks, Michael. Appreciated.

      But you assume that Hugh and “data guy” actually think hard about the fidelity of their data. Look closely at it and the methodologies. It’s junk. I’ll be happy to talk with you offline and explain why. But, yes, this is another thing that will make it yet more junky. The sad thing is that it could be improved but they refuse to do so.

  2. Bev

    Question, are you estimating number of sales or do you get real numbers from the various outlets? Just curious.



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