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Top self-published books in Kindle Store – December 2011

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This is the last monthly report on self-published bestsellers in Kindle Store in 2011. It will be a part of a huge report on self-publishing, coming in the next two weeks, so make sure to get free updates of new posts by RSS or email. Check also the summary of a first half of the year.


December is the worst month for self-published books in Kindle Store in 2011. Only 13 titles entered Top 100. The number is the same as in January – the month before the explosion of self-publishing – but there are less titles in Top 50 (4 vs. 8), and an average price is much lower ($1.34 vs. $1.99).

$0.99 price tag and unknown names didn’t work this Christmas.

At first, it may come as a surprise. Self-published titles were not hit by Kindle Daily Deal books – the direct price competition. Books from Darcie Chan, Chris Culver and Rick Murcer are Top 10 Kindle bestsellers of 2011. Everything seemed to go very well so far.

The simple explanation is that in December many new owners of Kindle devices started to shop in Kindle Store. What they were looking for were well-known titles and authors. What’s more, some of the users were given e-gifts for Christmas and there is a good chance they decided to redeem them for more expensive titles.

Wife by Wednesday from Catherine Bybee is the best selling self-published book in December

I wonder what is a level of awareness of self-publishing among millions of new Kindle owners. It may very much affect the way self-publishing will evolve in 2012.

The “sales proof” doesn’t work for self-published books, again. Darcie Chan’s The Mill River Recluse is the #1 bestseller in Kindle Store, but it didn’t help the book to keep on top of the list. Same thing happened to John Locke in June. His books were out of Top 100 despite the news that he entered the Kindle Million Club.

I think that readers buying self-published titles are bookworms. They read lots and lots of books in their favorite genres. They are price sensitive and they are very effective in searching for book bargains. It’s them to generate the sales of books from Darcie Chan, Rick Murcer or Catherine Bybee.

What comes next is “who is going to buy a bestseller from Darcie Chan?”. This is a huge question. Are occasional readers eager to spend more time on book search and are they brave enough to buy books from unknown authors? Or will they just feel good about buying Steve Jobs bio?

The mind of an occasional reader – it’s what authors and publishers will be fighting about in the next stage of digital publishing (this year?).

Self-published books in Kindle Top 100: December 2011

Data collected on January 3rd, 2012, from Kindle Store’s December Bestsellers Archive.
# – position in Top 100.
Title and Author # Price
Wife by Wednesday – Catherine Bybee 6 $0.99
The Mill River Recluse – Darcie Chan 27 $0.99
Big Lake – Nick Russell 34 $0.99
Call Me! – John Locke, Dani Ripper 46 $0.99
Dakota Christmas (Kindle Single) – Joseph Bottum 52 $0.99
All She Ever Wanted – Barbara Freethy 58 $3.49
Brainrush, a Thriller (Book One) – Richard Bard 66 $0.99
Last Breath – Michael Prescott 69 $0.99
Alice in Deadland – Mainak Dhar 73 $0.99
The List – J.A. Konrath 80 $2.99
The White Angel Murder – Victor Methos 84 $0.99
The Castaway Bride – Kandy Shepherd 92 $0.99
Perfectly Satisfied (Satisfaction) – Tori Scott 94 $0.99

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