★ Is the Kindle Store 1000 Times Better Than Apple’s iBooks and Smashwords?

Probably not.

But the data for sales of my nov­el, Déjà Vu, which I’ve pub­lished on the Kindle, iBooks and Smashwords, point to a sales ratio of about 1000:1.

Kindle Sales

Déjà Vu unit sales per month, begin­ning in March, are: 320, 938, 915, 738, 844, 643 and 581.

Smashwords (this includes Barnes and Noble, and a billion other ebook stores)

For the same peri­od: 4.


For the same peri­od: 1.

Overall, then, the ratio of sales Kindle:other is 4979:5. Call it 1000:1. If Déjà Vu is rep­res­ent­at­ive of more gen­er­al trends (it won’t be; but it’s in the ball­park, I expect), the Kindle store could be around 1000 times more suc­cess­ful than the oth­er stores com­bined. Remember that the blurb, cov­er image and price are identic­al across stores.

What Leads to These Differences?

All of my mar­ket­ing — if you can call it that — has poin­ted people to the Kindle store.

Amazon has a lar­ger cus­tom­er base to begin with, so cross-pro­mo­tion will be more effect­ive. That is, when Déjà Vu is recom­men­ded to people who have a his­tory of buy­ing sim­il­ar titles, there are more of those people around to see the recom­mend­a­tion. It could well be that many people see Déjà Vu on Amazon when they’re not look­ing for it; few see my book on Smashwords or iBooks.

Amazon has a mature chart-based shop­front. I don’t think Smashwords does this very well. And when I (rarely) look at iBooks, the charts seem to be full of odd books, and they are all writ­ten by Jeremy Clarkson. Nothing wrong with that; but it sug­gests a smal­ler num­ber of read­ers.

For the ver­sion of Déjà Vu sold on Amazon, I can con­trol the look and feel of the ebook pre­cisely. The ver­sion sold on Smashwords is pro­duced using a Word tem­plate and, frankly, it looks like a piece of crap. Blockquotes don’t work prop­erly; indent­a­tion is shot to hell. Likewise, the ver­sion for iBooks looks awful. Now, ebooks aren’t meant to look beau­ti­ful — but the cre­at­or should be able to provide a well-designed doc­u­ment whose struc­ture melts away so that the read­er can enjoy the story.

A Caveat

It’s worth not­ing that both iBooks and Smashwords are push­ing huge num­bers of books. Scott Pack recently repor­ted large sales num­bers for Confessions of a GP. And my friend Stephen J Sweeney has been selling his Battle for the Solar System books like gang­busters across many plat­forms. But Amazon has the lion’s share of this mar­ket for now.

Brass Tacks on Déjà Vu and Flashback

Did I men­tion that I’ve been gate-crash­ing Scott Pack’s blog with some stats on my how well my books are selling?

Your friend and mine, Scott, left me a mes­sage at our usu­al dead drop — behind the third cer­vical ver­tebra of the dip­lodoc­us in the foy­er of the Natural History Museum. In some­what breath­less prose, he asked that I fur­nish read­ers with the latest epis­ode in my ebook adven­ture before they actu­ally explode with curi­os­ity.

I didn’t?

Say no more: it’s over here.

A Review of Déjà Vu

It’s over at BigAl’s Books and Pals.

Déjà Vu is a sci­ence fic­tion nov­el set in the fairly near future, and it intro­duces tech­no­logy that I can already see myself using and keep­ing in my pock­et. I found the mech­an­ic­al won­ders a lot of fun, and I think the char­ac­ters are well-drawn, as one might expect from a psy­cho­lo­gist who writes nov­els. There were twists and turns, sur­prises and char­ac­ter shifts. On the whole, I found this a well-craf­ted, inter­est­ing tale of tech­no­logy and hot pur­suit.