From David Gaughran:
The Kindle’s share of the US market is far larger – with most observers pegging it at between 60% and 65% (most of the rest is split between Apple and Barnes & Noble, with Google, Sony, and Kobo combined perhaps getting around 5%). But how much of that have self-publishers grabbed?
Amazon is famously tight-lipped about such matters, so we have to put the pieces together ourselves. As such, the method is necessarily crude, but it’s the best I’ve got.
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In August 2011, Amazon launched the Kindle Indie Store, which showcases hand-picked work in a variety of genres from KDP authors. It also has a Top 100 list, ordered by Sales Rank, just like the regular Kindle Store Top 100.
By comparing the position of self-published work in the Kindle Indie Store Top 100 with it’s overall Sales Rank, we can get a pretty accurate idea of what proportion of the top-selling books are self-published.
When the Kindle Indie Store first launched, I tracked the Indie Top 100 for a few weeks. Invariably, the book that was #100 in the Indie chart was around #400 to #500 in the overall Kindle Store – meaning that, at the time, roughly 20% to 25% of the top-selling items in the Kindle Store were self-published e-books (and those numbers held up throughout the list).
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Today, you’ll see that the book at #100 in the Indie chart is #346 in the overall Kindle Store – meaning that 29% of the top-selling items in the Kindle Store are self-published e-books – and that proportion has been stable enough recently.
The Kindle Store contains more than just e-books, with things like digital subscriptions to the New York Times, magazines, blog subscriptions, and games regularly appearing in the Top 100. If you were to subtract all of those, and try and isolate e-books, that figure (easily) goes north of 30%.
This staggers me. 30% of the top-selling e-books on Amazon are self-published, beating out the biggest authors from the largest publishing houses in the world – as well as titles from Amazon’s own imprints (which aren’t included in the Indie Top 100).
This roughly tallies with the limited data we do have from Amazon, who recently announced the top-selling Kindle Books of 2013 (January to March). Seven of the Top 20 were self-published (and that’s not counting formerly self-published work, or Amazon imprint books).
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Now we can start putting the pieces together. When we factor in the respective market share of Amazon and Barnes & Noble (and Kobo), that leads to the following estimate (which might be conservative): self-publishers have captured 25% of the US e-book market.
Link to the rest at Let’s Get Digital