Amazon is Still King

For years I have said two things about selling books:

  1. Books should be for sale in multiple places to reap the most sales.
  2. Listing a book on Amazon is a must since Amazon is the top book seller (a 60% of all ebooks are purchased on Amazon).


My tune has not changed. As much as I don’t like Amazon’s ebook pricing and selling strategy, I still believe that making your book available for sale on Amazon is a must in today’s bookselling market.

A recent study, focused on ebook subscription services, shows that Amazon continues to be the leader of the pack.

Scribd was the first company to roll out a subscription ebook service, followed by Oyster. Entitle then joined the fray, and last, but certainly not least, Amazon launched its ebook subscription service, Kindle Unlimited.

The Codex Group’s recent survey reveals that although last to join the fray, Amazon is dominating the subscription ebook service market. Even though Amazon doesn’t have any ebooks from major publishers (Scribd and Oyster do carry ebooks from some major publishers), Amazon’s ebook subscription service has more subscribers than any of its competitors.

According to the survey, conducted in April 2015, 80% of the people polled knew about the Kindle Unlimited subscription service, while only 24% knew of Scribd and 16% had heard about Oyster. Additionally, 12.4% of those surveyed already had a Kindle Unlimited Subscription. In comparison, only 1.4% of respondents had a Scribd membership, and fewer were paying for Oyster.

The report also showed that Amazon’s subscriber base grew by 10% between November 2014 and April 2015, while the customer base of its smaller competitors fell by an average of 30% over the same period.

Amazon truly dominates the bookselling market, especially for ebooks. Sadly, when it comes to ebook subscription services, if you place your book in Kindle Unlimited, you cannot also have your book available in Scribd and Oyster. Amazon requires that authors be part of the KDP Select program to have their books in Kindle Unlimited. KDP Select requires that you sell your ebook on Amazon exclusively.

I still believe the best strategy is to list your books for sale in multiple places. As the proverb says, “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” Amazon insists you go against conventional wisdom by requiring exclusivity.

There are pros and cons to choosing Amazon’s subscription service over listing your books with the other services. Which route have you chosen?

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2 thoughts on “Amazon is Still King

  1. thanks for this good post!

    What would keep you from publishing one version of your ebook exclusively on Amazon and a different version everywhere else? THat even makes you look like a more prolific author:-)


  2. I believe the answer is ethics. When an author publishes a book exclusively via the Kindle Select program on Amazon, the author is agreeing to the following: “When you choose to enroll your book in KDP Select, you’re committing to make the digital format of that book available exclusively through KDP.” Ethically, one is bound to that agreement. Publishing the ebook version elsewhere would violate that agreement. As to how different the versions of the book should be to publish in two places? Well, I will leave that up to your conscience.


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