As the Amazon-Hachette contract negotiations drag on — negotiations that both sides believe will be drawn out — Hachette e-books continue to make an appearance on the Digital Book World E-book Bestseller list, but for how long?
First off, Hachette titles on the list today may be slipping oh-so-slightly. All three on the list this week lost ground, with James Patterson’s “Unlucky 13″ and Donna Tartt’s “The Goldfinch” each dropping a spot to Nos. 3 and 5, respectively, and David Baldacci’s “The Target” falling four spots to No. 11.
A much bigger threat to Hachette’s visibility on the bestseller list is Amazon’s removal of the ability for Amazon customers to pre-order upcoming Hachette titles. Many books debut high on the bestseller list due to pre-orders. On the first day the book is available for sale, all the pre-orders are counted among that week’s sales, even though they may have accrued over months. Usually, that boost is enough to propel books up the list.
To be sure, readers can still pre-order these titles from other retailers, but Amazon represents such a large chunk of the book market in the U.S., particularly the e-book market, that this will undoubtedly affect bestseller rankings markedly.
The exact effect should become measurable later in June when J.K. Rowling’s latest title, “The Silkworm,” comes out. Those who want to pre-order it today need to do their shopping somewhere aside from Amazon.
The average price of a top 25 bestselling e-book is now $7.29, up from $6.22 last week. Over the past several months, e-book prices have fluctuated widely. We’ll be taking a close look at this in the coming week.
E-book bestsellers from the week ending 5/31:
1. “The Fault in Our Stars”, John Green, Penguin Random House, $4.99
2. “City of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments)”, Cassandra Clare, Simon & Schuster, $10.67
3. “Unlucky 13 (Women’s Murder Club)”, James Patterson; Maxine Paetro, Hachette, $8.99
4. “Moving Day: A Thriller”, Jonathan Stone, Amazon, $4.99
5. “The Goldfinch: A Novel”, Donna Tartt, Hachette, $7.50
6. ”Field of Prey”, John Sandford, Penguin Random House, $8.99
7. “Skin Game: A Novel of the Dresden Files”, Jim Butcher, Penguin Random House, $11.99
8. “Allegiant” (Divergent Series), Veronica Roth, HarperCollins, $6.99
9. “Insurgent” (Divergent Series), Veronica Roth, HarperCollins, $6.99
10. “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings”, Maya Angelou, Penguin Random House, $4.01
Jeremy Greenfield is responsible for managing all editorial content on DigitalBookWorld.com, including the DBW Expert Publishing Blog, the Digital Book Wire and editorial email and social media communications. Prior to joining Digital Book World in October 2011, Jeremy spent three years as a careers editor at FINS.com. Jeremy lives and works in New York City and is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania.