It is claimed that 25.5 million US households bought books in the past month, and fully a quarter of those used Amazon’s Prime Reading, which allows subscribers to borrow 10 items at a time from a vast 1,000 item catalogue.
Kindle Unlimited, a similar program, costs an extra $9.99 and offers a wider selection of millions of titles. Amazon First Reads allows members to download a book a month earlier than the unsubscribed public for no extra cost. Often, First Reads are Amazon Publishing titles, and they rocket up the Amazon best-seller charts as soon as they’re made available. Titles topped the charts in early July despite being due out August 1. (I did not know that First Reads exsted!)
And then there’s Amazon’s 19 brick-and-mortar stores around the country, ( he journalist is talking about America) which sell print copies of Amazon Publishing titles, produced via a sophisticated print-on-demand operation. All told, these services overlap to create an ecosystem with the same aim and model as Prime: to lock customers into a regular subscription that binds them to Amazon. The company’s then pushes its own titles to subscribers to keep them happy with their membership.
Amazon Publishing puts out 1,100 titles a year, compared with the 1,500 to 2,000 a large publishing house such as Simon & Schuster might publish. Estimating sales for those 1,100 titles is difficult because Amazon keeps the info to itself.
Grace Doyle, an Amazon editor, says the subsidiary looks at three things when measuring the success of a title: the book’s sales, the number of people who read it, and whether the company can expect more books from that author. Her goal was to maintain partnerships with authors for as long as possible, which often results in publishing series, especially for the thrillers and mysteries that do so well with ebook readers.
“Amazon readers are voracious readers of genre fiction.” Fans of romances and thrillers race through books quickly.
So it’s perhaps unsurprising that Amazon is taking an interest in courting household names. The chart-topping thriller writer Dean Koontz unveiled a five-book deal with Thomas & Mercer in late July.
If you would like to read the lengthy article for the full picture, go to BLAKE MONTGOMERY He is a journalist and fiction writer living in San Francisco. He reports on technology and Silicon Valley for The Daily Beast.