Home > Thoughts > New Update: Steadily increasing Nook sales due to not doing KDP Select?

New Update: Steadily increasing Nook sales due to not doing KDP Select?

February 29, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments

UPDATE AS OF 2/29 – SEE BOTTOM OF POST

I took a peek at my months sales figures for Barnes & Noble Nook ebooks this morning, and something caught my eye. I looked back at January’s numbers, and figured out what it was. As of February 17th, my Barnes & Noble sales exceeded January’s entire monthly total. January was my best month to date for Nook, so I peeked back at December…and saw a trend. Where this trend comes from I have no way of telling*, but I’m liking the trend.

* As a marketer at heart and by trade (my degree is in marketing, and I’ve been doing marketing essentially my entire adult life – from putting flyers under windshield wipers for an ice cream parlor to putting together a complete social media program for my company), not knowing where a sale came from, not being able to track what methods work and don’t work based on measurable end results, absolutely kills me.

November of 2011 was a decent month for Nook sales. December was 40% better than November (nice, I can pay the wine bill!). January was even better, a 50% increase over December (hey, more wine!). And now February has exceeded January by the 17th of the month. Why? I can’t be sure, but I have a guess.

I think there’s a strong possibility that my steadily increasing BN sales may be due to me NOT choosing to go KDP Select.

A lot of my blog visitors are readers, not authors, so very briefly on KDP Select: Amazon launched an exclusive program called Select in early December that authors sign up with for a 90 day period during which time they are NOT allowed to sell/distribute/list excerpts/give away their ebooks through any other method. Not sample chapters or excerpts on a blog, not Nook, not Kobo, not Sony, not iPad. In exchange Amazon allows authors to give away their book for free up to five days during that 90 day period (among other ‘benefits’, none of which I see as an advantage by any stretch). I’ve come out against KDP Select for many reasons which I won’t get into here (maybe later), but in a nutshell I feel going exclusive through one channel is business suicide (not to mention pissing off owners of Nooks, Kobos, Sony Readers, etc. that would no longer be able to buy my books). However, a boatload of authors have jumped onto the Select bandwagon, which leads me to this hypothesis:

There is now less competition in my genre, meaning my books rank higher and are more visible to potential readers in Barnes & Noble’s systems. All of those authors that latched onto the Amazon bandwagon gave me a better opportunity to provide science fiction/adventure to Nook users looking for books.

Nook sales are still a very small percentage of my overall sales; Kobo, Sony, and iBooks even less, but it’s still a percentage. And it’s a growing number, so far. I have no intention of cutting off that percentage. Barnes & Noble had a 70% increase in Nook e-reader sales this past holiday season over the previous season. The iPad is still by far the most popular tablet (over 60% market share), and the iPad 3 is set to be announced March 7th. Kobo is a massive player in Canada, having 36% of the market compared to Kindle’s 25%. Why would I want to ignore those markets, small percentage or otherwise?

And readers – would I have pissed you off by going Amazon only with the Gabriel books?

UPDATE: As of Feb 29 (so some stragglers may still show up after month’s end), my Nook sales have increased by over 70% over January’s totals. To recap – since the kickoff of KDP Select, Nook sales are up 40% from November to December, up 50% from December to January, and now up 70% from January to February (and keep in mind this month is 2 days shorter than January). I’m starting to think there’s something to this theory…

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  1. February 19, 2012 at 11:12 am

    I haven’t joined KDP Select for the same reasons you list above. Amazon is my best bookseller, but I don’t want it to be my only bookseller. And like you, my Nook sales have increased since the holiday season.

  2. Brennon
    February 19, 2012 at 11:18 am

    You wouldn’t have pissed me off, I simply wouldn’t have found and read your books. I live in the US but own a Kobo. I have no interest in Kindles and, in general, avoid any and all DRM and proprietary format books.

    I’m glad you chose not to go with KDP Select as I thoroughly enjoyed your books. I look forward to your next one.

  3. Bruce Keefe
    February 19, 2012 at 12:36 pm

    Hey Steve,
    Great work, love the books. Just a fyi, typo in ‘Gabriel’s Revenge’, chapter 4, second sentence: Lieutenant Harris Brevik looked up from his disassembled Oso-11 heavy PULE rifle at the sound of Takahashi’s voice. I think you wanted ‘pulse’.
    Normally I would not comment on this, but as I read your blog yesterday, it seemed to me that you would want to know, and I could not find your email to send this private.
    Live long and prosper,
    Bruce

    • February 19, 2012 at 12:55 pm

      Bruce, you’ve obviously never seen the effects of a properly used pule rifle. It’s absolutely devastating at close range, and is much more energy efficient than those silly pulse rifles.

      (OK, you got me…but that’s actually a typo that got caught in the post-publication edit. Yes, I know all edits should be made pre-publication, and they were, but some gremlins made their way through, and I had 3 separate people grab me on the pule one. Corrected.)

      -Steve

      • Steve
        March 22, 2012 at 5:26 pm

        Having read and enjoyed both Gabriel’s Redemption and Gabriel’s Return I am now half way through Gabriel’s Revenge. I think I might have found three more typos that you might like to know about (sorry):

        (1) In Chapter 12 there is a sentence which starts “It was obvious to Rafael that hen was using El Patron’s…” assuming there are not many chickens on Mars I image it should read “It was obvious to Rafael that he was using El Patron’s…”

        (2) In Chapter 2 one section starts “Rafael Molina leaned back in his chair and set the Irish whiskey down on the table…” later on in the section the glass of Irish Whiskey has been transformed into Scotch Whisky “The coolness of the cube was a stark contrast to the warmth the scotch gave him…”.

        (3) Finally in Chapter 20 there is a sentence which reads “The image showed the mining igniting starting their main engines.”

        I know I’m being fussy but I am a typesetter by training and still work for a printers so I have a habit of noticing these things.

        Keep up the good work
        Steve

  4. February 19, 2012 at 1:19 pm

    As a wanna-be-published writer…your percentagy Math-Speak frightens me in ways I cannot explain. (shudders)…
    I hope they have programs to help track these things. I am a complete noob with marketing. (I did create a book trailer after e-mailing with you, but I haven’t posted it anywhere yet as I do not have a book published e- or otherwise…but I am poised and ready.) (And subscribing to your blog to glean markety tips!)

  5. February 19, 2012 at 8:07 pm

    Well, since I just read this post on my new nook color, I may be a bit biased. I think that you made the right choice.

    • February 19, 2012 at 9:52 pm

      Love my Nook Color…

  6. February 19, 2012 at 8:21 pm

    Hi Steve,
    I met some KDP-using writers who made good money with e-books that were lent from Prime customers. They received for each lent book $ 1.70 / 1.60 – no matter what the retail price of their book is. Not bad for a 0.99 or 2.99 book …
    Another benefit is the ranking and also the increase in book reviews.

    Not all black or white …

    Good luck for your books,
    Doris

  7. February 20, 2012 at 12:09 am

    Great post, Steve. I think you’ll admit that most of your sells are from Amazon– right? Doing the KDP for you book only limits you for the period you use it. 90 days at the least. It gives you a chance to give one of your books away– more readers-. Get’s a new book a kick in the pants or and older book new life. And it’s done through a professional outlet.

    I hope it doesn’t sound like I’m against what you are doing– I’m not. It’s smart to use all your options when you’ve written more than one book– which you’ve done. But 90 days in the life of a book– a good book– is a short time and getting 2 or 3 thousand more people reading your stuff is always a good thing.

    Thank you for the real data and making me think– not an easy thing to do, lol.

  8. February 20, 2012 at 12:51 am

    As a non-US reader, THANK YOU! My preferred place to shop is Smashwords (where I just bought all your books) because they take PayPal and have a shopping cart. Books from Amazon cost me more money because I have to pay by cc (international fees by cc, not Amazon’s fault) but because Amazon makes me pay per book, I can’t group books together and have to pay the fee for every single one of them.

  9. February 20, 2012 at 6:05 am

    Steve, while it’s hard to say if you are right, I can say I think KDP Select is a waste. I put Fram Gage in the program, thinking it would be beneficial. Instead, my sales dropped off dramatically in January and February for what was my fastest selling book. All my future releases will not be put into KDP Select, and fortunately, Fram Gage will be outta there on March 8.
    Sorry, that means I’ll add a little competition back to the Nook platform. 😉

  10. February 20, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    danniehill :
    Great post, Steve. I think you’ll admit that most of your sells are from Amazon– right? Doing the KDP for you book only limits you for the period you use it. 90 days at the least. It gives you a chance to give one of your books away– more readers-. Get’s a new book a kick in the pants or and older book new life. And it’s done through a professional outlet.
    I hope it doesn’t sound like I’m against what you are doing– I’m not. It’s smart to use all your options when you’ve written more than one book– which you’ve done. But 90 days in the life of a book– a good book– is a short time and getting 2 or 3 thousand more people reading your stuff is always a good thing.
    Thank you for the real data and making me think– not an easy thing to do, lol.

    Totally agree with this. I’ve had unbelievable success with KDP Select, and even if I hadn’t, I was only committed for 90 days. I think the risk in trying a new way to reach readers was more than worth whatever readers on other platforms I may have lost in that 90-day window (whom, if the previous 90 days of sales were any indication, I’d have been able to count on one hand).

  11. February 23, 2012 at 1:22 pm

    I’m against the KDP as both a reader and writer. For one, I like finding new authors, and I don’t mind buying books off of Smashwords or iTunes because it’s not in the Kobo store and I’m impatient for it to get there. When I find out an author is Amazon only, it kind of leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
    To top it off, I’m Canadian, and while we have access to Kindles and the Kindle store here, Amazon doesn’t always make it easy for us to access all the titles/products we would like.
    Truth be told, I never really considered that the KDP may spark more visibility in other stores. Thanks for bringing up that excellent point.

  12. February 29, 2012 at 7:19 am

    Reblogged this on Steve Umstead: Writer, I think.

  13. February 29, 2012 at 10:42 am

    With everyone jumping on the KDP Select experiment, I’d like to say that you’re quite brave to see how it goes without it. Even better that you’re sharing your experiences!

    Thanks a lot, Steve. I’ve subscribed to your blog and look forward to your future posts. 😀

  14. February 29, 2012 at 10:45 am

    P.S. Which plugin are you using for your blog comments? I’d like to give it a whirl.

    • February 29, 2012 at 12:08 pm

      Actually I’m still on WordPress.com freebie hosting; have yet to sit down and migrate to my own host and use wordpress.org. So it’s the built in stuff you see.

  15. March 1, 2012 at 10:17 pm

    Hmmm… I certainly think you are right in the assumption that books moving away from NOOK becasue of the exclusive Kindle arrangement required by the SELECT program must be responsible for a thinning of the herd at Barnes and Noble, resulting in less competition and arguably more sales there.

    In my experience, in two months of selling on both B&N and Amazon (Kindle), my sales were 139 Kindle vs. 3 Nook. A 75% increase in sales for me would result in another sale or two of NOOK books. I signed up for SELECT, ran a three0day free promo, and since then my Kindle Paid-In ranking increased from 131,238 to 112, and my sales of Kindle books over four days was over 2,100 at three-times my earlier price. Sales are still proceeding briskly. So it’s hard for me to complain about the SELECT program at this point — the numbers tell the story.

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