DBW E-Book Bestsellers: What Makes an E-Book Successful?

    by Jeremy Greenfield
    August 7, 2014
    Photo by ActuaLitté on Flickr and used here with Creative Commons license.

    if-i-stay-book-cover-versus-movie-poster-300x229What makes an e-book successful?

    In a lot of ways, it’s the same stuff that makes print books successful: great writing and storytelling; attractive packaging; and smart and timely marketing. Current events and events in other media can also have an impact, most notably movie tie-ins.

    "In a lot of ways, [what makes e-books successful is] the same stuff that makes print books successful: great writing and storytelling; attractive packaging; and smart and timely marketing."

    But for e-books, unlike print books, a movie release doesn’t mean a publisher needs to print new copies, decide how many and where to distribute them. Back-list e-books are simple: They’re there and maybe need a metadata update.


    Hence, welcome “If I Stay,” the 2009 hit novel from Gayle Forman (Penguin Random House), to the No. 1 spot on the Digital Book World E-book Bestseller List.

    Aside from aggressive promotion of the film adaptation, which hits theaters on August 22, “If I Stay” only benefited additionally from price promotions at Apple’s iBooks and Barnes & Noble’s Nook (Amazon already had it at $4.99).

    The Kindle version of the e-book doesn’t even have a movie-related cover image featuring star Chloë Grace Moretz, and it’s doing quite well.


    Related: E-books — Marketing the Infinite Back-List


    Meanwhile, the average price of a bestselling e-book swooned this week to $7.48 after spiking last week to $8.45 following the removal of Kindle Unlimited titles.

    E-book bestsellers from the week ending 8/2:

    1. “If I Stay”, Gayle Forman, Penguin Random House, $4.99

    2. “The Fault in Our Stars”, John Green, Penguin Random House, $4.99

    3. “The Goldfinch: A Novel”, Donna Tartt, Hachette, $6.99

    4. “Gone Girl: A Novel”, Gillian Flynn, Penguin Random House, $8.52

    5. “Big Little Lies”, Liane Moriarty, Penguin Random House, $10.99

    6. “Not a Drill: A Jack Reacher Short Story (Kindle Single)”, Lee Child, Penguin Random House, $1.99

    7. “Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption”, Laura Hillenbrand, Penguin Random House, $4.99

    8. “Act of War: A Thriller”, Brad Thor, Simon & Schuster, $12.74

    9. “Outlander: A Novel”, Diana Gabaldon, Penguin Random House, $4.99

    10. “Invisible”, James Patterson; David Ellis, Hachette, $8.99

    See the complete list of this week’s top 25 e-book bestsellers at Digital Book World.

    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.

    Tagged: amazon digital book world digital books e-book series e-books hachette harpercollins kindle un penguin random house self-publishers simon & schuster

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