Looking at the Bookseller Top 50 with an ebook eye

Last week, I looked at the UK Kindle Top 50 chart, and saw some evidence that unless you’re willing to cut your price to just about free, then you’re unlikely at present to get your ebook into the UK Kindle Top 50.

So if the Kindle chart is little more than a vanity metric, what can we learn from the more mainstream bestseller charts in the UK?

I decided to look at the Bookseller Top 50. Out of these, I’ve chosen to ignore the Annuals since these are mostly unavailable in ebook format. So the 50 becomes 39.

There seems to me to be very little correlation between this chart and the Kindle one.

For example, the Bookseller No. 1 is the “Diary of a Wimpy Kind: The Third Wheel”. This doesn’t even make it into the Kindle Top 100, languishing instead at #1150 (although the hardback is #2 in Amazon’s standard book chart).

Similar story for Nigel Slater’s “Kitchen Diaries II”: #39 in the Bookseller Top 50, #2283 in Kindle Store, but the hardback’s #6 at Amazon.

I wonder how Amazon calculate their Kindle chart; is it just units shifted which affects the rank? or does price get taken into account in some way.

It seems that today’s publishers need completely different strategies for targetting the top of the physical and ebook bestseller lists.

Now, let’s look at availability and price. Could you buy all these Bookseller bestsellers for your ereader, if you wanted to?

Availability of ebooks

Amazon have a reasonable coverage, with 33 out of the 39 books available. At the other end of the spectrum is Sony, who only manage 22.

And how much would it cost to buy all the available ebooks from each store?

Average price of ebooks

Amazon again come top, with an average ebook price of £7.17 for the books they have available from the Bookseller Top 50 list. Most of the others also come in with an average price of £7.38-£7.90. But then there’s Waterstones. Oh dear! Buy their set of books and it would cost you an average of £9.37 per book.

Why does Waterstones think it makes sense to sell “Nigellisima” (£12 hardback from Amazon, £8.99 Kindle) but a whopping £21.70 for the ebook from Waterstones (they’d only want £13 for the hardback!).

Bemused… Rachel