1st author to hit 1 million Kindle books – Stieg Larsson

There is justice in this world – Stieg Larsson beats out James Patterson’s ghost-writers to become the first Author to sell over a million Kindle ebooks.

We know that the Kindle and Kindle Apps have been doing well and that Kindle ebooks are now outselling hardcovers at Amazon.com. However, it’s nice to see it translate into 1 million Kindle book sales for Stieg Larsson.

Stieg Larsson – 1 million Kindle books sold

The three books in Stieg Larsson’s Millenium Trilogy are -

  1. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Available for $7.15 in the Kindle Store.   
  2. The Girl who Played with Fire. This is $8.77.
  3. The Girl who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest. This is $11.92.   

They are currently 1st, 2nd, and 3rd in the Kindle Top 100 and have been for a while. It’s still quite a surprise to find out that they’ve sold over a million copies (in ebook form).

Here are a few details from the Amazon Press Release -

  1. All 3 books in the trilogy are now amongst the top 10 best-selling Kindle books of all time.
  2. The books have sold over a million Kindle books and over 27 million copies worldwide (they are available in 40 languages). 
  3. The books are published by Random House’s Knopf Doubleday imprint. 

Amazon also indicated that only paid Kindle book sales are included – It makes you wonder which of the public domain titles and free book offers have managed to cross a million ebook downloads.

We get some interesting details from The Wrap -

… Daniel Craig officially closed a deal to play journalist Mikael Blomkvist in David Fincher’s English-language adaptation of “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.”

The deal with Sony Pictures includes options for the two other books in the series.

Oscar winner Steve Zaillian (“Schindler’s List”) adapted the first novel.

A movie would be interesting. There’s already a movie in Swedish that’s supposed to be pretty good.  

One of the articles (forget which one it was) mentions a fight over a supposed fourth Stieg Larsson manuscript. It would be quite a surprise if the trilogy turns out to be a quadrilogy.

Update: There are rumors of a 5th and 6th manuscript and there is definitely 75% of a 4th book in the series on his partner’s laptop. Mr. Larsson meant it to be a 10 part series.

A million Stieg Larsson books sold in Kindle format – What does it mean?

Well, it means quite a lot -

  1. It makes us realize that we aren’t talking about tens of thousands of Kindle book sales anymore. If these three books have together sold over a million copies there must be at least a few other authors whose books have sold hundreds of thousands of copies.
  2. Lots of authors are going to start thinking about 70% royalties from the Kindle Store. Consider what 70% of 1 million ebooks sold would look like – If books are at around $7 each that’s $4.9 million. Should a new author sign a book deal that includes ebook rights or should they keep the ebooks separate and lock in that huge revenue stream for themselves?
  3. This is a series that is still at 1st, 2nd, and 3rd. There is a movie in the works and there might be a sequel or more down the line. Stieg Larsson may very well hit 2 million ebooks sold.
  4. We might get a Kindle 3 this year and that would increase the user base. There are also new people downloading Kindle Apps every day (Kindle for iPhone’s high-ranking in the App Store is testament to that). All of this increases the probability that the Millenium Trilogy’s sales hit 1.5 million or 2 million.
  5. Amazon feels the need to highlight that the Kindle Store is in pole position. A few weeks back James Patterson had talked about hitting over 1 million ebook sales of which the Kindle accounted for 76%. Now, by revealing Stieg Larsson’s numbers, Amazon is clearly indicating that the Kindle Store has a substantial part of the ebook market – perhaps even more than 76%.

It’s still a bit puzzling to see a press release just to highlight 1 million ebooks sold.

Things that still aren’t clear

Well, what percentage were sold through the Kindle and what percentage were sold through Kindle Apps? Which channels are the most important?

Notice how the only Kindle related figure in the entire press release is 1 million Kindle books sold. There’s no talk of percentage distribution between channels, distribution over time, or sales numbers for the different books in the series.

At the end of the day 1 million is a very impressive figure and it clearly shows the Kindle Store is a major force now. It would have been nice to have gotten some more details.

8 Responses

  1. It’s actually better than that ( it looks like a 0 was dropped out of the figures above)- the 1 Million copies @ $7 would actually be $4.9 million in revenue to the author…

  2. Impressive…and they’re not even available in Canada to this point.

  3. I went to the beach for my vacation a couple of weeks ago. I bought and read all three of the books. They were very good — great books for the beach — but all three were below $9.99. I’m not sure I’m thrilled about a price rise.

    I watched the swedish movie two weeks ago. I thought it was interesting, although I thought the female lead was a little older than I imagined.

    Given how important the female lead is to the story — far more than the guy — I don’t care who they cast for the guy.

  4. This fills me with the same stir of inspiration as I once received from fantasizing over Rowling fame. Switch11, I daresay your blog has single-handedly brought me to embrace the future of ebooks. If not for the hassles of editing and contract negotiation, it almost makes me want to question the future of agents too.

    And now I wonder if these Millenium books might be worth a read…too bad the guy’s dead.

    • Whoever out of Agents and Publishers embraces the new opportunity (remove blocks from the authors’ path for a 10% to 15% cut) better will probably survive.

      Andrew Wylie has done agents a service by showing them it’s possible.

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