Let’s talk about ebook sales today! Specifically, which platforms sold the most books. In today’s post, I will compare my ebook sales in 2014 with 2015’s sales, and see what changed over the last year. (Short answer: a lot!)
To start, I would like to thank everyone who bought a book in 2015. There were a lot of you!
Now to the numbers. I sold almost as many books in 2015 as 2014 – it came to about 1% less. So the following pie charts are comparable to each other. Also, these numbers aren’t “total copies sold”, but “total revenue received”, which seems like a more valuable metric. After all, if you sell 10,000 copies of one book at $0.99, but 1,300 copies of one book at $3.99, you’ll have made more money with the $3.99 book.
Amazon US: 40.71% / Amazon UK: 33.4% / Amazon Germany: 0.09% / Amazon Other Countries: 1.8% / B&N: 12.47% / Apple: 6.8% / Kobo: 1.9% / Google Play: 1.5%
Amazon US: 38.6% / Amazon UK: 26.9% / Amazon Germany. 0.01% / Amazon Australia: 1.7% / Amazon Other Countries: 0.1% / B&N: 9.4% / Apple: 6% / Kobo: 10% / Google Play: 3.7% / Kindle Unlimited: 1.8% / Tradpub Royalties: 0.01% / Affiliate Links/Ads: 0.01%
What conclusions can we draw from this?
-It’s good to diversify. Amazon US, Amazon UK, and B&N all dropped for me, but other sources made up for it.
-Despite all the sturm and drang in the media about Amazon becoming a monopoly, Amazon is definitely not an ebook monopoly. 69% market share does not a monopoly make. It makes for a dominant player, yes, but definitely not a monopoly. My Amazon sales went down by 7% since 2014, which is also not a sign of a monopoly. Monopolies, generally speaking, do not have vigorous competition.
-Amazon UK went down from 33.4% to 26.9%, and the reason for that is quite obviously the European Union’s 20% VAT that went into effect for ebook sales starting in January 2015. As one might expect, the new tax has done nothing to stimulate ebook sales in the EU, to the point where small publishers have been complaining that it is stifling their business. So the VAT on ebooks was a bad decision that benefited no one, but to be perfectly candid the ebook VAT probably wouldn’t even make the Top 50 list of the EU’s bad decisions of 2015, so let’s leave it at that and move on to a different topic.
-Amazon Australia became its own platform this year, and my books have done pretty well on it – FROSTBORN, GHOST EXILE, and CLOAK GAMES have all gotten into the top twenty of their category on Amazon Australia this year.
-Kobo went way up, from 1.9% in 2014 all the way to 10% in 2015. After Amazon UK, it was my second-best seller. The reason for this was Kobo’s new internal email promotion program. Basically, Kobo is running its own internal Bookbub service. They run regular promotions, and in exchange for a percentage (usually 10%) of the book’s sales, they’ll feature it in a promotional email. This has worked out really well, and FROSTBORN OMNIBUS ONE caught a couple of good sales, so the FROSTBORN series is a consistent seller there.
-Barnes & Noble went from 12.47% to 9.4%. I hope B&N turns it around the way Waterstone’s did in the UK, but the prognosis doesn’t look good.
-Google Play went up from 1.5% to 3.7%, almost double. I think that’s partially because I increased the number of books available on GP, and Google has been cracking down hard on ebook pirates, so there’s less competition from people selling pirated books, which is a good thing.
-Kindle Unlimited did pretty well. I think KU’s change from borrows to pages read was a good idea. I don’t want to pull any of my novels off the other platforms, but KU is big enough that I don’t want to neglect it entirely. So it seems my strategy of producing fix-up novels from short stories is a good one for 2016.
-Apple shrank about 0.8%. I dunno why – from everything I heard, Apple was growing while B&N was shrinking, but maybe that was limited to romance writers. Apple sells worldwide, so I suspect the EU’s VAT hit Apple’s European book sales, which likely accounts for the slight drop. I’ll have to dig into the Apple sales more to find out.
That’s it for 2015. Looking forward to seeing what 2016 will bring!