Monday, March 12, 2018

How my recent promotion illustrates ebook market share

The Sixth Discipline, the first book of my two-book Haven series is always free, thanks to price-matching. Smashwords lets authors make ebooks available for free, and since that platform can also be used to push the book to iBooks, Nook, and Kobo, as well as smaller vendors (but not Kindle or Google Play), that means self-publishers can make books free on those platforms (and Nook now allows free books to be published on their platform, too). When an ebook is free elsewhere, Amazon will price-match the Kindle version. As you can see by the results below, the Kindle version matters a lot!

The Sixth Discipline was published in 2011, and had its big run in 2013 when I got a BookBub promotion for it and gave away 20,000 copies. Since then, its distrbution numbers (you can't call them sales figures when the book is free) have slowly dwindled. There are a lot of free books, many of them newer, and in a good month, I had been giving away maybe 20-30 Kindle copies, and 10-20 on all other platforms, combined. 

Update:  B&N reporting was very slow and just came in, so I changed the numbers from the original post to reflect those "sales."

The promotion consisted of paying for an entry in The Fussy Librarian daily "free books" email. That email lists links for up to five vendors. The results are in, and for the day of the promotion and the day after, I gave away this many copies:

Kindle =  377
Nook = 8
iBooks = 32
Kobo = 0
Google = 19

A few things jumped out at me. The most obvious is the dominance of the Kindle market. I gave away six times more Kindle copies than all the others combined. The lack of Kobo copies wasn't really surprising since  have never had big numbers on Kobo, but only 8 copies for Nook was telling. I do't think B&N is doing at all well with the Nook.  Also interesting is that Google Books' total was more than double Nook's, while iBooks beat out Google and Nook combined.

And of course, the whole point of paying money to give away a book is that I hope to sell the sequel, No Safe Haven.  Time will tell how that goes.

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