From inside and outside the Kindle Store (book offers, that is)

The Kindle, and the convenience of the Kindle Store, have made it easy to forget other stores exist.

Well, here are some offers to tap into other stores, alongside some offers from the Kindle Store -

  1. How to Drink by Victoria Moore. Price: $0. Genre: Health, Spirits, Drinks & Beverages. Rated 5 stars on 1 review. Thanks to Happy Reader Joyce for mentioning this.
  2. Kobo is celebrating its 1 year anniversary by offering a 50% off coupon that can be used on one book out of a long list. Books include Tongues of Serpents by Naomi Novik, Kraken by China Meiville, and lots of other books including all the Stieg Larsson ones. You’ll have to read it on your PC, Android Phone, or iPhone – However, at 50% off, it’s not too bad a compromise. Please Note: The 50% off coupon only works once, and for one book.
  3. University of Chicago Press has a free book, which is conveniently also free in the Kindle Store – A Question of Upbringing: Book One of A Dance to the Music of Time by Anthony Powell. Rated 4 stars on 10 reviews. Genre: Literary Fiction. This has been mentioned before.

Also, if you’re interested in The Boxcar Children series, the first book in the children’s mysteries series has been discounted to $1.99 in the Kindle Store. It has jumped from #6,278 to #171.

Finally, at you can read a book online for no charge – The Shadow Project by Herbie Brennan. Click on the ‘Browse Inside’ button, and then on the tab at the far left, to see the book.

The irony - A post meant to highlight offers outside the Kindle Store, ends up with more links to Amazon than everywhere else combined.

Kindle Store’s domination in book offers

This post was meant to be only offers outside the Kindle Store.

What happened?

Well, it ran into a few problems -

  1. Kindle Store had a new free book, and that had to be mentioned.
  2. It’s much more convenient for Kindle owners to get ‘A Question of Upbringing’ from the Kindle Store, than to go through the Adobe DRM circus show, and read it on an iPhone or Android phone.
  3. Harper Collins’ ‘read it free online’ offers are almost a joke. Why not offer the book for Kindle and Nook?

It’s just a lot easier to get the book on your Kindle or Nook.

Kindle Store has more offers than any other store. It has more book deals than any other store. For most offers outside the Kindle Store, the offer is also available in the Kindle Store.

Consider what Kobo is offering -

50% off on 1 book. 25% off coupon in the future - when you buy $15 worth of books. 45% off coupon in the future – when you buy $35 worth of books.

After doing all of this, it manages to get a bit of attention. Except for the little problem that its books can’t be read on the Kindle (they can be read on Nook and Nook Color). It’s an uphill battle for Kindle Store competitors.

Kindle Store addition, Sudoku disappearance, kindle book deals

First, the kindle book deals -

  1. The Blades of the Rose Bundle: Warrior, Scoundrel, Rebel, & Stranger by Zoe Archer. Price: $9.99. Genre: Romance, Fantasy, Romance Compilation. $10 for 4 romance novels is a pretty good deal. There isn’t really a description.
  2. Seven Pillars of Wisdom by T. E. Lawrence. Price: $1.05. Genre: Literature, Classics, Lawrence of Arabia. Rated 4.5 stars on 2 reviews. You might be able to find this free outside the Kindle Store but not sure it’s worth the hassle. Here’s a description from the physical edition of the book.

    This is the exciting and highly literate story of the real Lawrence of Arabia, as written by Lawrence himself, who helped unify Arab factions against the occupying Turkish army, circa World War I.

    Lawrence has a novelist’s eye for detail, a poet’s command of the language, an adventurer’s heart, a soldier’s great story, and his memory and intellect are at least as good as all those.

  3. A Book of Five Rings by Miyamoto Musashi. Price: $0.95. Genre: War, Strategy, Martial Arts. Rated 4.5 stars on 36 reviews.

    The Book of Five Rings (Go Rin No Sho) is a text on kenjutsu and the martial arts in general, written by the samurai warrior Miyamoto Musashi circa 1645. It is considered a classic treatise on military strategy, much like Sun Tzu’s The Art of War and Chanakya’s Arthashastra.

    There have been various translations made over the years, and it enjoys an audience considerably broader than only that of martial artists.

Next, we have an appearance and a disappearance.

Top Rated Books List added to Kindle Bestseller Lists

The Kindle Store Bestseller Lists now sport a new arrival – the Top Rated Kindle Books List.

It’s a great idea – there are a lot of books on the list that seem really good but haven’t been in the Bestsellers List recently. It’s great to get another 100 slots for deserving books and authors. Plus you can dig into individual categories and find even more gems.

It’s not totally clear to me how freshness, average review rating, and number of reviews have been factored in – that would be an interesting algorithm/formula to figure out.

Sudoku Appears and Disappears

There’s a thread on the official Kindle forum talking about how EA Sudoku appeared and then magically disappeared.

It seems that there really was an EA Sudoku, it was available long enough to garner 6 reviews, and then it became unavailable. The Sudoku product page is still up and most of the reviews are positive. Due to the unexplained disappearance someone gave it a 1 star review and dropped the overall rating to 3.5 stars.

This app, once it’s available again, should be a bestseller. Here’s the description -

EA Sudoku contains thousands of built-in puzzles, as well as the ability to enter and play a puzzle from your favorite newspaper or magazine in “Newspaper” mode.

With five difficulty levels from “Easy” to “Insane,” Sudoku offers plenty of fun for Sudoku players of all skill levels. Built-in game features let you make “Notes,” “Undo” moves, and apply “Error Checking.”

One of the best features is that you can input a newspaper puzzle yourself and then solve it. Quite cool.

It uses the qwerty row as numbers and thus avoids the Kindle 3 madness of having to use the SYM pop-up or Alt+QWERTY to type in numbers.

It’d be interesting to find out why it’s disappeared – Amazon has been featuring Scrabble and Texas Hold’em on the main Kindle Store page so you’d think EA Sudoku would get the royal treatment too.

100 really good kindle book deals

While the Kindle 3 and free book posts usually take centre stage on this blog there are quite a few kindle book deal posts.

Since the 50 free kindle books post is a big hit and there’s no Book Deals section in the Kindle Store thought it would make sense to collect all the good kindle book deals and add them to a single post. Please do add deals you find (not your own books please).

Quick Notes on the Kindle Book Deals

Please keep in mind –  

  1. Last Updated – September 4th, 2010.  
  2. Books are usually between 80 cents and $3.
  3. Reviews are the primary criteria to decide whether to add books.
  4. Sales are a filter since books that don’t make it to the Movers and Shakers list don’t get considered.
  5. Book Prices might change – This post is not updated and it’s just not realistic to expect 100+ book prices to be tracked.  
  6. For authors who want to get on the list – Get on to the Movers and Shakers List or the Top 100 Paid Bestsellers List. There’s no other source used.
  7. Book are categorized by genre. They are often miscategorized so Mystery fans should also check the Adventure section and Science Fiction fans should also check the Mystery & Thrillers section for technothrillers.
  8. If you have suggestions please go ahead and add a comment but please don’t suggest your own books or a friend’s books.

These book deals have all been mentioned on this blog at one time or the other during 2010. If you’ve been a regular reader since beginning 2010 you might not find anything new here.

Kindle Book Deals after the jump …

Continue reading

New split bestseller lists live in the Kindle Store

It’s a beautiful day (or night?) as the Bestsellers List in the Kindle Store has been split into Top 100 Paid and Top 100 Free.

This gives me a disproportionately high amount of joy – even more than the LadyBird that is walking all over my Kindle and bringing good tidings of something yet to arrive.

Top 100 Paid Books List

At #3 we see a great deal – The Surgeon by Tess Gerritsen with bonus content for just $1.99. It’s rated 4.5 stars on 173 reviews.

A serial killer is on the loose in Boston. The victims are killed in a particularly nasty way: cut with a scalpel on the stomach, the intestines and uterus removed, and then the throat slashed.

The killer obviously has medical knowledge and has been dubbed “the Surgeon” by the media.

Detective Thomas Moore and his partner Rizzoli of the Boston Homicide Unit have discovered something that makes this case even more chilling. Years ago in Savannah a serial killer murdered in exactly the same way. He was finally stopped by his last victim, who shot him as he tried to cut her.

The only independent novel in the top 100 at the moment is Containment by Christian Cantrell. Rated 4.5 stars on 25 reviews.

Arik Ockley is part of the first generation to be born and raised off-Earth. After a puzzling accident, Arik wakes up to find that his wife is almost three months pregnant. Since the colony’s environmental systems cannot safely support any increases in population, Arik immediately resumes his work on AP, or artificial photosynthesis, in order to save the life of his unborn child.

Arik’s new and frantic research uncovers startling truths about the planet, and about the distorted reality the founders of the colony have constructed for Arik’s entire generation. Everything Arik has ever known is called into question, and he must figure out the right path for himself, his wife, and his unborn daughter.

Finally, 100 books that fully deserve the ‘bestseller’ title – well, at least in my opinion.

Agency Model doing terribly

It’s interesting to see the break-up of the Top 100 Paid books list -

  1. Books at or below $9.99 - 17 in the Top 25, 32 in the Top 50, 74 in the Top 100.
  2. Books at $12.99 – 7 in the Top 25, 13 in the Top 50, 16 in the Top 100.
  3. Books at $14.99 – 0 in the Top 25, 2 in the Top 50, 5 in the Top 100.

It’s amusing that even in a ‘paid books only’ list there are just 5 books priced at $14.99 in the Top 100 and none in the Top 25. Only 21 out of the top 100 paid books are above $9.99. Things don’t look good for the Agency Model.

Not going to buy the new Robin Hobb because it’s $14.99 – It might not matter in the greater scheme of things but there’s definitely one sale lost from someone who’s bought 5 Robin Hobb books so far.

Note that there are several newspapers and one unavailable book in the Top 100 which accounts for the totals not being 100.

Top 100 Free Books List

The break-up between free book offers and public domain books in the Top 100 Free Books List is interesting -

  1.  Free Book Offers – 19 of the Top 25, 32 of the Top 50, 41 of the Top 100.
  2.  Public Domain Books – 6 of the Top 25, 18 of the Top 50, 59 of the Top 100.

As we step out of the top 50 we simply run out of free book offers and public domain books take over. It’s great because there are lots of amazing public domain books amongst the lower 50 -

The Prince, Dorian Gray, Alice, The Odyssey.

Lots of Sax Rohmer, Common Sense, The Illiad.

H. G. Wells and Charles Dickens, Dostoyevsky and Swift.

In some ways it’s one of the most amazing things in the world – all these classics available for free – including the wireless delivery.

Looking forward to the Benefits of Split Bestseller Lists 

It’ll be good to see all the positives -

  1. More exposure for deserving authors. Now instead of 20-30 paid books we get a full 100.
  2. More exposure for deserving public domain books. The bottom 50 of the Free Books List is full of books that wouldn’t get enough attention earlier.
  3. A chance for indie authors to get more publicity. There’s already one indie author on the list and one book related to finding kindle books.
  4. 100 extra books that can be easily found. It’s much easier for readers.
  5. A clear demarcation between free and paid. People who think free books should be considered bestsellers too are catered to since the lists are on the same page.

Amazon has finally taken this big important step and they’ve come up with a remarkably elegant solution that straddles the fence on what should be considered a bestseller.

Kindle to finally get separate paid and free bestseller lists

Publishers Weekly brings confirmation that Amazon are finally splitting out free books into a separate Bestsellers List -

A representative at the e-tailer has confirmed that the company will be splitting its Kindle bestseller list, creating one list for paid books and another list for free titles.

The date for the switch is vague—the rep would only say it will happen in “a few weeks”—but the switch will certainly be noticed.

That would mean that free books would no longer be stealing spots from deserving paid books.  

What people are saying about it

Publishers Weekly’s Rachel Deahl provides a very Publisher centric view -

 many industry members interviewed said Amazon’s Kindle bestseller list remains the one they examine to get a feel for what e-books are selling

Her concern that free books will not be as valuable a tool to promote authors and books doesn’t make sense. Nearly everyone will check both lists (free and paid) and now Publishers have 100 slots to use for their free book promotions.

The Free Bestsellers list is going to be very popular – perhaps more so than the Paid Top 100.

L. A. Times’ Jacket Copy blog talks about the change too -

All of us were a bit perplexed about the use of “bestseller” to designate book that are not, well, sold. Grammarians, at the very least, will welcome the change.So, too, will major publishers. Amazon is doing the right thing, an executive at HarperCollins told Publishers Weekly, which reports “consumers ‘want to know what books everyone is reading, and buying,’ and that a list which combines free downloads and books for sale doesn’t deliver this information.”

L.A. Times thinks that independent publishers will be hurt by this change – However, it’s underestimating the draw of the Free Bestsellers List.

Here’s Deb Smith, Publisher and Editor of independent publisher BelleBooks, with her thoughts -

The giveaway DOES produce real sales both on the promoted title and the authors’ backlist. More important, it highlights small press titles and gives them a chance to find the readership they deserve. My tiny press can’t begin to compete with the big pubs in terms of advertising, but via Kindle we accomplish a similar level of publicity and results.

There are big financial rewards for getting to the top of the ‘paid’ list and paid independent books are probably not going to make it to the top for the first 6 months or so. However, they have bigger problems than that.

The biggest problem for Independent Publishers and Authors is getting publicity. They can’t even get into stores. A spot on the Kindle Free Bestsellers list would be hugely important.  

Reasons putting free books on a bestseller list doesn’t make sense

Lots of reasons a combined list was unoptimal -

  1. It’s much tougher to get people to pay for a product than to give it away free. 
  2. It’s basically letting some authors/publishers get free marketing at the cost of other more deserving authors/publishers.
  3. Lots of people download free books and never read them.  
  4. There is no ‘selling’ in free books.
  5. Readers were only finding 30-40 paid books in the Top 100 Bestsellers List. There were 60+ other books they wanted to find and had no easy way to.

At the moment there are 38 paid books in Top 100 Bestsellers List. That means there are 62 paid books (that people are paying good money for) losing out to $0 public domain books and to $0 books being used as promotional vehicles for other books.

It’s pretty unfair and it’s good that Amazon are ending it. 

There are also some benefits of having two lists -

  1. You get 100 extra spots. Currently 101 through 200 are virtual unknowns. Now they’re there for everyone to see.
  2. People can go find what they want. The bargain hunters can go to the free books list. The people looking for the best new books can go to the Paid Bestsellers list.  
  3. You don’t have two completely different categories of books competing against each other.  

What would a Top Bestsellers List made of Paid Books look like?  

Currently we have 39 paid books of which - 26 are at $9.99 or less, 9 are at $12.99, and 3 are at $14.99. Scale that up and we’re looking at approximately 68 books at or below $9.99, 24 books at $12.99, and 8 books at $14.99.

We might see more than just 8 new books priced at $14.99 make the list because people who don’t want to wait will buy them when they are initially released. Also preorders all show up on the same day making it likelier that newer books hit the top of the charts. In a way a separate paid bestsellers list helps the Agency Model.

We’ll also get the occasional low-priced independent author’s book sneaking on to the list. In fact, if the boycott of the Agency Model continues we might see 5 or more independent authors on the Top 100 Paid list soon.

Overall, it’s a very good change and it will give a lot more authors exposure and lead to good things for books.


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