Amazon E-book Bestseller List Dominated by Amazon Titles

The biggest surprise in our annual roundup of bestsellers for the January-June came on the Amazon Kindle e-book bestsellers list. The sheer number of bestsellers that were published by the e-tailer’s own in-house publishing imprints—fiction and popular nonfiction imprint Lake Union, mystery imprint Thomas & Mercer, literary fiction imprint Little A, and Montlake Romance—was remarkable. Amazon had 12 of its own titles on its e-book list, a stark contrast not only from the BookScan print list but from Amazon’s list for the first half of last year, which saw only a single Lake Union title make the cut, and that in its final slot. (Beneath a Scarlet Sky, a Lake Union title, was #2 this year.)

In response to inquiry, a representative from Amazon denied that anything has changed. “Nothing has changed in the way we count sales,” she wrote in an email. “We haven’t changed how titles are promoted. These titles are priced competitively and participate in new and growing reading programs like Prime Reading and Kindle Unlimited.”

As is tradition, Dr. Seuss’s Oh, the Places You’ll Go! topped the NPD BookScan list of bestselling print books for the January–June period. Much of the rest of the top 20 were topical titles that speak to today’s political climate. Rupi Kaur’s Milk and Honey, a collection of poetry and prose examining such topics as femininity and violent abuse, took the #2 slot; J.D. Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy, a memoir and case study of white poverty in Appalachia, was #4.

Relevant backlist dystopian fiction also had a moment. Both Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale and George Orwell’s 1984 were in the BookScan top 20 and on Amazon’s list of Kindle e-book bestsellers, where the Atwood—which was adapted as a critically acclaimed Hulu original television series starring Elizabeth Moss earlier this year—took the top slot overall. (Vance also found his way onto the Amazon list, at #20.)

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SOURCE: Publishers Weekly
John Maher