Amazon has been trying to attract new ebook users, and make them loyal customers with: dedicated Kindle devices and apps, a distinctive file format, and an aggressive low-price policy.
However, the content is the king, and in the end the exclusive content seems to be the strongest king of them all.
Kindle Ebook Exclusives, a catalog of digital books that are only available on Amazon, contains over 850,000 items. This makes around 25% of the Kindle Store, which now holds almost 3.5 million titles.
Other ebookstores, like Barnes & Noble Nook, Kobo, or iBook Store, offer much less books. They hadn’t utilized a huge potential of self-publishing to such an extent as Amazon. Adding 850,000 books would considerably increase the size of the ebookstores. This won’t happen, and this is a clear win of Amazon.
One may say, Kindle ebook exclusives are the low-end part of the digital publishing landscape. They don’t come from Big 5 publishers, or most famous and valued authors.
80% of products are bought by 20% of customers. Heavy users. Avid readers. This rule is applying particularly well to digital content, the content that can be bought and consumed instantly.
It’s not enough to have on offer the Divergent series by Veronica Roth. The three books can be read in a month. What about the remaining eleven months?
The point is that if you are hungry for books in a specific category (YA, in this case), you may end up in the ebookstore that is not yours, trying to decide whether it’s worth to register in order to buy the book you haven’t found anywhere else.
In this post you will learn:
- how to make the most of Kindle ebook exclusives,
- how much you may lose, if you are not a Kindle user.
Kindle ebook exclusives – facts and tips
Kindle ebook exclusives by the numbers
To start with, here are some facts about Kindle ebook exclusives.
There are 852,914 Kindle ebook exclusives, out of the total number of 3,503,463 items in the Kindle Store. A quarter of Amazon’s ebookstore is powered by the books that can’t be found anywhere else.
Kindle exclusive content is not only ebooks. Shorter reads come here as well, including Amazon’s special projects: Kindle Singles (369), Kindle Worlds (92), and finally a huge number of Kindle Short Reads (305,392). In total, there are almost 1.2 million digital publications that are offered only by Amazon.
A substantial part of the Kindle Ebook Exclusives catalog are ebooks that are available at the same time via Amazon ebook subscription service – Kindle Unlimited. Out of 893,604 Kindle Unlimited books, as much as 850,111 are exclusive to Kindle Store.
Amazon is famous for their continuous efforts to reduce prices of ebooks. However, Kindle ebook exclusives are not the perfect example, having in mind how much control Amazon has over this section. The highest price for a Kindle exclusive is $246, and there are over 4,000 exclusives that cost over $100 each.
The most populated category is nonfiction (374,032), followed by literature & fiction (320,502) and foreign languages (135,825).
Only 5,839 Kindle exclusives offer Whispersync for Voice, a feature that lets instantly switch from reading to listening. It’s one-tenth of the total number of 57,007 such books in the Kindle Store. This is surprising. Kindle-specific technology should be easier to apply to Kindle-specific books.
Most popular Kindle ebook exclusives gain the same popularity as book classics. Maude by Donna Foley Mabry, published in October 2014, collected well over 5,000 reviews, enjoying on average 4.4 stars out of 5.
For comparison, To Kill a Mockingbird, an ebook edition of the classic book by Harper Lee, released in July 2014, collected a comparable number of reviews, around 5,000, with the average rating of 4.7 stars.
To whom are Kindle ebook exclusives addressed?
If you read books occasionally, and if you are looking for bestsellers from most popular categories, you won’t find Kindle exclusives extremely attractive.
As I already said, the books from the Big 5 are not exclusive to Kindle Store by any means, and you can buy them in any other ebookstore.
If you, however, read a lot of books, and have a favorite book genre, Kindle Exclusives are definitely worth exploring.
For instance, if you are interested in post-apocalyptic fiction, you can find Margaret Atwood’s MaddAddam trilogy in every ebookstore. But if you are hungry for more and more of the genre, there are 4,5 thousand post-apocalyptic books available in the Kindle Store. Exclusively.
In short, avid book readers should find Kindle ebook exclusives more than satisfying.
If not Big 5, who is publishing Kindle exclusives?
There are three major sources of the exclusive Kindle content:
- Amazon’s self-publishing platform,
- Amazon’s book submission system,
- Amazon’s own publishing imprints.
First of all, it’s worth highlighting that Amazon offers the most advanced and the largest digital self-publishing platform – Kindle Direct Publishing.
When the author publishes a book via KDP, it doesn’t mean she can’t publish the same title on Smashwords (and via Smashwords distribute it to Kobo, Nook or iBooks). By the way, many authors decide not to deal with other ebookstores, as this brings much lower results.
The book self-published via KDP becomes exclusive to Kindle Store when the author enrolls it in KDP Select.
KDP Select is a special program that lets maximize sales potential within Kindle Store, and gives a share in global monthly fund, if only Kindle Unlimited or Kindle Owners’ Lending Library readers get interested in the book.
The global monthly fund for March 2015 was $3 million. It’s not surprising that many KDP authors, with a click of a button make their books exclusive to Kindle Store.
In recent years, Amazon has not only strengthened its position as a leading ebook distributor, but has also become a powerful publisher operating on several levels.
One of the ways of luring authors to Kindle ecosystem are special categories curated by Amazon editors. Authors can submit their works to:
- Kindle Singles – valuable short reads (usually between 5,000 and 30,000 words),
- Kindle Worlds – fan fiction stories, inspired by licensed books, shows, movies, and games.
Once the books is accepted, it is being published by Amazon, as the Kindle exclusive content.
Did you know that so far Amazon has launched as much as fourteen separate publishing imprints?
Amazon Crossing is focusing on translated works; science-fiction and fantasy are the domain of 47North; Skyscape offers teen and YA books.
Currently, unlike Kindle Singles and Kindle Worlds, none of the Amazon Publishing imprints accepts submissions.
For an ebook retailer, it’s a natural move to step into publishing business. An online store can spot the promising book earlier than a traditional publisher, because it can make use of the sales figures.
Amazon lets writers self-publish their books. Every author learns about the performance of the book – how many times is was downloaded within a certain time, or how it changed after the price increase. Well, Amazon knows these stats as well… and much more.
Among thousands of other midlist titles, Amazon editors (undoubtedly supported by smart algorithms) can find the book, which has not yet jumped into the Kindle bestsellers list, but enjoys a steady sales growth, good reviews, and a high ratio of conversions from a free sample to a full book.
Amazon’s imprints can offer the author a contract with Thomas & Mercer or 47North before the author gets to The New York Times bestseller list with her self-published book, and becomes a 1-million-dollar baby.
More and more authors switch from KDP self-publishing platform to Amazon Publishing imprints. This is a hidden trend (both for outside publishers and readers), as many of the books from the imprints are only a bit more expensive than before.
Why have I written so much on how Amazon gets into publishing? Because this is a clear example that not every book published outside Big 5 is of a lower quality – just the opposite.
The giant online store has better technology for spotting good books, and a huge marketing channel for making these books true bestsellers.
How can I find Kindle ebook exclusives on Amazon?
It’s now time to share a couple of tips.
Unlike ebook subscription, Kindle Unlimited, the Kindle exclusives are not that easy to find in the giant online store.
The best way is to head straight to Kindle Store homepage, and:
1. Find the Kindle Exclusive Content in the top navigation bar, below the search box.
2. Sometimes (and it depends on your location), you won’t see the first option. In this case, scroll down the page to see on the left the section called More to Explore. Kindle Exclusives should open the list.
You can always go to Kindle Ebook Exclusives home page directly from this link.
How can I find the most noteworthy Kindle ebook exclusives?
If you are still not sure whether Kindle exclusives are worth getting the free sample, you can quickly scan the most popular titles.
There are two simple ways to do this.
Check out Top 100 Kindle Ebook Exclusives
With 850,000 items, it’s obvious this section of Amazon store has its own bestseller list.
Go to Kindle Ebook Exclusives landing page, and on the right side find the Top 10 bestsellers widget (as seen on the screenshot below).
Click on the widget and you will be presented with a list of 100 most popular books in the Kindle Ebook Exclusive department.
Please, keep in mind that this list includes books that are enjoying big sales at present. The list is refreshed a couple of times a day and it may happen that when you visit it in the evening, you’ll see different books than in the morning.
Sometimes, the Top 10 widget is not visible on the landing page. In that case, you can go to Amazon Bestsellers. From here, in the left-hand sidebar, find Kindle Store, and then Kindle Exclusive Content.
Browse the entire catalog of Kindle Ebook Exclusives
One of the most efficient ways to find interesting stuff on Amazon is to enter the entire list of items in a particular category.
To do so, go to Kindle Ebook Exclusives landing page. In the Categories list on the left, click on See All link.
You will be presented with a paged list of all items included in the Kindle Ebook Exclusives department.
By default, the list is sorted by New and Popular (see the screenshot below).
This means that on top you’ll see the books enjoying biggest sales and good reviews.
Unlike Top 100, the performance of books is counted in a longer time, usually weeks or even months.
If you rely on reviews rather than sales, from the drop-down menu select Avg. Customer Review, to show on top the books that collected the best ratings.
For me, the best way to find valuable titles is to sort the list by New and Popular, and in a left-hand sidebar filter the results to books that have an average rating of at least four stars.
How can I find free Kindle ebook exclusives?
There are lots of interesting Kindle ebook exclusives that are free to download for a short period of time.
It’s because self-publishers who enrolled their books in KDP Select can run free book promotions. For 5 days every three months the book can be offered free of charge.
Many authors use this opportunity, as the free promotion is a great tool to bring a book to bestseller lists, as well as receive new ratings and reviews.
So far, Top 100 free books are not a part of the Kindle Ebook Exclusives bestseller list, but I think it’s just a matter of time to see that happen.
For the time being, to find free Kindle exclusives, you can browse the entire catalog, as described above, but from a drop-down sort menu choose Price: Low to High instead of New and Popular.
Can I buy the Kindle exclusive from my country?
Yes, you can. Just go to the Kindle Ebook Exclusive section as described above.
It doesn’t matter whether you live in Europe or Asia. You should be able to buy the book, as long as the author or publisher has decided to sell it in your country.
The source of confusion regarding geographic restrictions refers to Kindle Unlimited.
Kindle Unlimited, the ebook subscription service, is indeed available only to US citizens. As most Kindle Unlimited books are a part of Kindle Ebook Exclusives catalog, some users might get the impression that the restrictions apply to all 850,000 titles.
That’s not true. You can’t subscribe to Kindle Unlimited from Sweden, but you can buy a specific book, even if it’s also available via Kindle Unlimited.
How can I get updated with what’s new in Kindle Ebook Exclusives?
There are two ways to do that.
Sign up to Kindle Exclusives Email
You should be able to see the sign-up widget in the Kindle Ebook Exclusives home page. If not, go to this page (works only if you are signed in to Amazon).
You’ll receive emails every week. If you’d want to stop the subscription, head to your email subscriptions settings page and remove the page.
Get Top 10 Kindle exclusives via RSS feed
You can also get the top books to your news reading app that supports RSS feeds. Grab the RSS feed of Kindle exclusive content.
RSS feeds from Amazon are not rich with information. You will be able to see only the title, author, and average rating.
• • •
Not so long ago many readers complained that there were too few ebooks, compared to print books. These times are over.
With a majority of Kindle exclusives published only in electronic format, we should be rather assuming that if the certain book on certain topic can’t be found on Amazon, it doesn’t exist at all.
• • •
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