E-book Numbers Hint at Amazon Domination

When Amazon made the claim a few months ago that it owned a 70 to 80 percent share of the e-book market, we wouldn’t have blamed you for rolling your eyes. After all, the company has been criticized for its outlandish claims around e-book sales before; believing it owned such a large percentage of the market after the release of the iPad would require a healthy dose of salt for many.

Maybe, but according to one author who’s self-published his books across most of the e-book platforms available, and as I discuss this week at GigaOM Pro, Amazon’s estimates are pretty darn accurate.

In a blog post on Wednesday, mystery and horror author J.A. Konrath — who’s been one of the most proactive authors in self-publishing, taking the reins of his unpublished works by self-publishing in e-book format — revealed, in great detail, exactly how many e-books he’s sold and where.

What did the tally show? Quite simply, that his share of e-book sales through Kindle is exactly what Kindle claims for the entire market: About 75 percent.

The graphic above is a chart showing the distribution of Konrath’s 100,000 in e-book sales. Even after you factor in a bit of an advantage for Amazon compared to others since Konrath started to sell in the Kindle store earlier than other stores, a collective 3 percent of total e-book sales from Apple, Barnes & Noble and Kobo still shows the race isn’t close.

Say he’d been selling in iBooks, Kobo and Barnes & Noble’s storefronts from early 2009 onward, maybe the numbers would be closer to 6 percent. Heck, let’s be generous and say 10 percent.

A pretty small slice of the pie nonetheless.

It’s also interesting to note exactly how well Konrath has done self-publishing through Kindle compared to his own print publishers. According to Konrath, his publishers have sold a total of 21,000 e-books, which accounts for 21 percent of his sales. Compare that, once again, to 75 percent of e-book sales coming through his own self-publishing through Kindle, and it shows the numbers aren’t close.

Sure, some will argue that Konrath can self-publish because he had a big print publisher build his name, but according to Konrath himself, his print publishers insist on keeping prices high and, as a result, sell fewer e-books as a result.

And what about other authors? While no one has released the numbers in such detail, others, like Lee Goldberg, have indicated they’ve had similar success on Amazon.

Read the full post here.