Publish to Market

Kindle Market Research for Book Publishers - January 2020

Data makes the difference between riding the wave and being swallowed by it.

Book publishers are no exception. We expect that publishers will have no choice but to embrace data-driven strategies in the next ten years. Those who don’t, will either fall behind or drown.

Data can help steer business decisions at every level of the publishing process. One of the most important ways data can help, is to identify market opportunities, i.e. market research.

Think of a business opportunity as market segment that has high and/or growing demand, and low supply or competition.

To identify such opportunities, we must first establish a market structure. We could, for example, identify keyword opportunities and thereby establish a keyword-based structure. In this article, however, we will use the category structure used by the Amazon Kindle store.

Our goal is to invest in those sub-markets and niches that have the highest expected return on investment. One way to achieve that is by focusing on high demand and low competition book categories.

Analysis

We have analyzed 4,471 Amazon Kindle Store categories and over 120,000 books, to identify market opportunities. In this article, we summarize our findings on the top-level Kindle Store categories.

This article will not draw any conclusions from the charts (they are rather self-revealing), but instead, it will focus on explaining how to read the charts.

Permissions

Please feel free to share the charts below in your website, book or presentation, as long as you provide credit to Fiveabook and link back to https://www.fiveabook.com

CC BY-ND License

Monthly Sales divided by Number of Titles

The idea is that high monthly sales indicate high demand, and a low title count indicate low supply or competition. Therefore, the ratio of the two is a good proxy for market opportunity.

We have borrowed this idea from K-Lytics, a company that specializes in Kindle market research. However, we have chosen to sample to the top 50 books of each category instead of the top 20 books.

Number of Top-50 Titles Published in the Last 90 days

This is the count of recently published books that are found in the top 50 bestsellers. A book is considered recently published If it was published in the last three months.

This number indicates how fast the market is consuming new titles. The higher the number, the easier it is for a new title to ramp up sales and become a best-seller. However, a high number here may also mean a shorter shelf-life.

Average Age of Top-50 Titles

This is similar to the previous chart; however, here you can get a better idea of the shelf-life of a title. High numbers mean that the category is heavy on classics or ever-green content, where it might be harder to break-in, but you could enjoy long-term sales if you did. Lower numbers indicate the presence of voracious readers that are hungry for new content.

Average Review Rating of Top-50 Titles

The lower the rating, the easier it might be to rank higher in Amazon SERPs if you manage to surpass it. Typically, in top level categories (like the ones included in this article) this number is more indicative of the qualities of the readers (how harsh they are in their reviews) rather than the actual quality of the books. Therefore, we recommend only paying attention to this value for sub-categories where we can adjust to exclude reader-bias.

Average Print Length of Top-50 Titles

If you are outsourcing your books and you are paying based on word-count, then less pages means less costs.

Keep in mind that

* some categories may be heavy on graphics

* some require high expertise and expensive talent

* nonfiction and fiction word-count rates differ substantially

Number of Reviews divided by Monthly Sales

Readers of some categories are more likely to leave reviews than readers of other categories. Getting reviews is especially hard for new titles. The higher this ratio, the easier it is to get reviews in that category.

You will still be up against books of the same category that face the same difficulty in getting reviews. However, you may find it easier to launch a book and get those first reviews.

Note that the number of reviews is over the entire life of the book, whereas the sales are over the last month. Nevertheless, the ratio is still a good proxy for how easy it is to get reviews.

One last thing

Finally, we assume you will want to drill down to specific sub-categories to get finer grained insights.

If you need a specific chart for your publication, please feel free to get in touch. We will be happy to help at no cost. You can find our contact info here.

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