Thursday, April 02, 2009

Ebook Blowout: Amazon Kindle Free Downloads

Anyone who follows my blog knows my feelings about ebooks. Namely, they're the future.

Grand Central, the publisher for Afraid, has taken this concept to heart, and my horror novel is available as downloads for the Amazon Kindle and the Sony Reader, for just $1.99.

Here are my current Amazon Kindle rankings: Sales Rank: #11 in Kindle Store

#1 in Kindle Store > Kindle Books > Fiction > Horror
#3 in Kindle Store > Kindle Books > Mystery & Thrillers > Thrillers > Suspense
#5 in Kindle Store > Kindle Books > Fiction > Genre Fiction

So, I'm pretty happy my publisher made this decision. There are a few hundred thousand books available on Kindle, so to be at #11 means that people are buying it.

But why are they buying it?

Is it because they've heard about it? Doubtful. I haven't had any advertising, done any touring, had a major marketing push.

So what are the ten books currently outselling me?

Four are Stephanie Meyer books--no big surprise there. Two are bibles. And while the bible is a popular book, the reason they're doing so well is they are free.

Also free is Lee Child's book, Persuader, and I'm tickled he's outselling both bibles. Persuader is one of his older titles, and giving it away for free is a smart way to hook new readers on his series.

The other three are the monster bestsellers The Shack, the Steve Harvey book, and the Mark R. Levin book. Like the Stephanie Meyer books, these are full price, between six dollars and ten dollars.

Rounding out the top 25, we find eight more free books, and six more full-priced bestsellers.

It's pretty easy to see why Afraid is on the Kindle bestseller list.

While it is not a print bestseller, and it is not free, the $1.99 price makes it an impulse purchase, like candy in the check-out line at the grocery store. If you just bought a $350 device to read books, naturally you want to fill the device up. But filling it up with $10 books will cost a fortune--very much like filling up an iPod using iTunes.

So Kindle owners are looking for free books, and cheap books. They're looking hard enough for them to spend $1.99 on a debut novel by an unknown author.

This works out perfect for Afraid by Jack Kilborn. I'm getting new readers, and if they like me, perhaps they'll seek out my other books, either in ebook form or in print.

Hyperion, the publisher of my Jack Daniels books, also gets it. They released the first in my series, Whiskey Sour, on Kindle for $3.96. How is that doing? Sales Rank: #757 in Kindle Store

#3 in Kindle Store > Kindle Books > Mystery & Thrillers > Police Procedurals
#14 in Kindle Store > Kindle Books > Mystery & Thrillers > Mystery > Women Sleuths
#36 in Kindle Store > Kindle Books > Mystery & Thrillers > Thrillers > Suspense

Not bad for a book that's been out for five years.

How are my other four regularly-priced Jack Daniels Kindle versions doing?

None of them are on the Kindle bestseller lists.

The Kindle bestseller lists, and the Amazon Shorts bestseller lists, are dominated by free books.

Both Amazon, and publishers, should be paying close attention to this. If they truly want to sell ebooks, cheap or free can get more downloads than full priced mega-bestsellers. For heaven's sake, in what crazy world can Afraid by Jack Kilborn outsell Stephen King, Dean Koontz, James Patterson, Nora Roberts, JK Rowling, Harlan Coben, Clive Cussler, and all the other giants?

Only in the world of lower prices.

Now imagine if all ebooks were cheap or free. Imagine how quickly they'd take over the print industry.

You won't have to imagine it for long. Because it's coming.

And for all of you Kindle and Sony Reader owners who surfed onto my blog on the basis of my header, visit, where I have six free ebooks, compatible with both devices, along with one for 99 cents.

Also something to consider: My free ebooks have been downloaded 17,568 times. My 99 cent book has been download 204 times.

If ebooks take over, like I think they will, freebies, pirated copies, and illegal downloads will decimate the print industry just like file sharing mp3s have decimated the CD industry.

You heard it here first.

More Afraid reviews:

Also, I'm guest posting at Naked Authors, to see if I get a better response than I did at The Outfit: