Saturday, September 17, 2011

Amazon seems to be testing changes

A couple of Amazon changes have been noticed by Kindleboard posters that may have an adverse effect on indie sales if they're implemented permanently. First of all, on Amazon UK, they seem to be trying out paid advertising. If you go to one of my books, or many other romance books, you'll get the usual page, but with a prominently located ad just below the buying information: Tempted to try a new author of romantic fiction? Why not check out the paperback edition of Cecelia Ahern's debut novel, Where Rainbows End, for just £1.99? Learn more. There's a link, and a thumbnail of the cover. Unlike the "also boughts," this feels like an effort to divert traffic to specific, targeted books (especially considering its prominent placement on the page). So far, it hasn't shown up on, but if it becomes a regular thing there, it may affect sales.

And speaking of "also boughts," some people on KB are reporting that rather than the "also bought" list on a book's listing (which often includes indies, or other books by the same author), they're seeing a list of the top 100 books in the same category. This is not being seen by everyone, so it's presumably a test, rather than a permanent change. It may make perfect sense for Amazon to try to send readers to their more popular books, but if they implement this change, it will almost certainly have a powerfully adverse effect on indies. Lots of our sales come from the "also bought" lists-- it's one of the best ways for readers to find us. If they change this permanently, it will likely be tougher for readers to find us.


  1. Lots interesting things happening. I mentioned on another author's website that I feel The Kindle Daily Deal, influx of *many* freebies, and the 100 under $3.99 are really the main factors. Not to mention the summer Kindle ebook sales - Sunshine and Big Deal.... oh and the crappy economy.

    I used to buy three indie books a month. Recently I borrowed a couple via loan sites because I'm broke. :-( I have alos be gifted many review copies from author friends. My Kindle is stuffed and my TBR pile is stacked until Christmas.

    ~ Jenna

  2. Well, what looks scary may actually turn out to benefit you in the long run. The only thing I've ever predicted is change. Good luck!

  3. It may wind up benefiting us, Scott. Who knows? Since these changes haven't been firmly implemented yet, I'm not stressing about it, but I think it's something people might want to be aware of.

    Jenna, my sales have actually held steady across the summer, which is good. I just wish they'd plateaued at February levels:-). But Christmas is coming, and with it new Kindles, so let's hope for improved sales for everyone!

  4. I got the "top 100" instead of the also-boughts when I checked out one of the top 100 free ebooks the other day. Dunno if it would show up anywhere else, but I agree that would NOT be a move that would help anyone unlucky enough to not be in the top 100. Which is nearly everybody. The also-boughts were not always top 100 books. So it would keep the top 100 in the top 100 and not help anyone else.

  5. I agree, Jody. But I imagine Amazon will do what benefits them most. The question is probably whether it benefits them long-term to send readers toward a relatively narrow slice of books, or if it benefits them more to direct readers toward a broader swath of what they have on their "shelves."

  6. I'm sure your post is very interesting - it's just I keep getting distracted by your fab covers on the right hand side!! OK, concentrating now. Have to say it seems a cheek to have another author's book advertised on your book's page. I shall watch out for this.