Wednesday, December 30, 2009

BelleBooks Dominates Amazon Kindle Bestseller List

Nope. Not a typo. FOUR of the Top Ten Kindle slots are BelleBooks and Bell Bridge titles.

#2 Crossroads Cafe Deborah Smith
NOW # 1 as of 1-1-10

#3 Murder Takes the Cake Gayle Trent

#5 Mossy Creek Smith, Dixon, Ellis, Ball, Knight, Chastain

#7 Once Bitten Kalayna Price

#21 All God’s Creatures Carolyn McSparren

There has been much made over the last few days of the dominance of free books on Amazon’s Kindle Bestseller List. Some point to it as an indication that readers are demanding cheaper ebooks.

No. They’re just loading their brand new Kindles and who doesn’t like a good free classic like 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea?

But for the commercial publishers (like BelleBooks, Tyndale, Scholastic, and James Patterson’s publisher), who have free books hitting and STAYING in the Top 10 (and more big publishers with books in the Top 100), this is just promotion. We cleverly thought that people with bright shiny new Kindles received as holiday gifts would need content. So BelleBooks arranged for some of our backlist to be free for a limited time. We selected 5 books—either first in series or from an author with other titles published by us.

Boy howdy! Has this paid off. One of the books – ONCE BITTEN – is the # 1 Fantasy book on Amazon. Not Kindle…the full Amazon list. Has been for days.

CROSSROADS CAFE is the # 1 Romance book on Amazon.

MURDER TAKES THE CAKE is the #1 Mystery on Amazon.

Full list, not just Kindle.

The books are getting fabulous reviews. I don’t know about you, but I DO look at reviews when I buy a book. Especially if I don’t know the publisher or the author.

This is the equivalent of “end capping” or co-op advertising. For decades large publishers have paid for book placement in stores, in national chain newsletters, etc.

This is how a small publisher says, “Our books can hold their own. Just try one.”

And head to head, the small publisher’s books are beating out the other free books from large commercial publishers. We’ve always felt, that putting the books in front of readers is the surest way to build a audience for the author.

We don’t know distributed units. But we can say that the print versions of these books have shown some sales increases as well.

Got a Kindle? You might just want to pop over to Amazon.

And can I say it one more time and don’t think badly of me…BelleBooks owns the Amazon Kindle list. We think it’s nothing short of fantastic that so many of our books have risen to the top when there is so much free content on Amazon. And so much free content from large NY publishers who are doing the same thing we are…leveraging back list to promote their front list.


David Smith said...

Fist jabs
Bite me New York, etc.

I've sent PR to many places like PW etc. since yesterday, trying to politely say NOW WILL YOU PAY ATTENTION TO SMALL PRESSES, HUH? Will see if anyone takes the bait. We scored a short interview on Galley Cat (mediabistro) this afternoon.

Deb Smith
sitting in catbird seat, smirking, enjoying the Calgon moment.

Sabrina said...

And may I just say that Belle Books DESERVES to be up there! Y'all publish quality work, and I'm glad to see the books getting the attention they deserve!

Debra Dixon said...

Sabrina-- Thank you. And you hit the nail on the head. This promotion has given these books, and these authors tremendous attention!

Cindy Gerard said...

Congrats, Deb. This is fantastic! I've always wondered how books make the 'free' Kindle list. Now I know.
Like you said, it's great publicity. Like book giveaways at conferences only no one has to pay the conference fee :o)

Debra Dixon said...

Cindy-- Yep. Exactly like a big conference giveaway. And every publisher controls their pricing so it's easy to plan a promotion like this.

D Twomey said...

Congratulations! With so much worry recently on how the Kindle was going to affect you guys, I'm glad something good has come out of it.....

Debra Dixon said...

D-- Yep. This was good publicity. I love the Kindle. It's not so much the Kindle as the greed of the booksellers which is bad. Amazon I like. I like their deal. I think Fictionwise and BN have greedy policies and practices at the moment.

Publishers are in the drivers seat. They control the release of the ebooks. If the booksellers are going to make life difficult then publishers will just withhold the ebooks and put them out at the appropriate time in a book's life cycle. Or put them out at hardcover pricing and drop the price when the book is available as a paperback.

The the consumer has a choice to pay for convenience or wait for savings.

I think it will eventually all work out as long as authors and publishers never blink.

Content is valuable regardless of media.

Keri Ford said...


Major congrats are in order here! Best of luck that those sales keep going up, up and up!

Kathleen Eagle said...

I couldn't be happier, Deb. And Deb! You've worked for that catbird seat, and you should be purrrrrring.

I've been following the news about what a big seller Kindle was this Christmas with much interest. As I do so, I follow my May, Dec and Feb Silhouettes. They're all showing right up there on the Special Ed bestseller list this month, and the Kindle version often tops the print version. It's an eye-opener.

GunDiva said...

Wow! Well done! That's so impressive!

Debra Dixon said...

Thanks, guys!

The rankings went up overnight so I adjusted the numbers in the post.

I'm trying not to be greedy or covet the # 1 spot!

KylieBrant said...

Very cool, Deb! I was shocked by how many people contacted me and mentioned reading my books on their Kindle. Just moseyed by yesterday to make sure the publisher had the text to speech tool disabled. Yep, they do.

It's always great to see the 'lil people' dominate, LOL! Go, you!

Helen Brenna said...

YAY Deb! And YAY BelleBooks!

This is great publicity for you and your authors! Smart move on your parts. Great way to start out a new year!

Debra Dixon said...

Kylie -- I think this Christmas was definitely the tipping point that-can't-be-denied. It's not "gadget happy" people. Tons of real readers are switching their allegiance from paper to e-ink.

Debra Dixon said...

Helen- We're very happy to report that readers are contacting authors to say they are either buying #2 in series or anxiously awaiting the next book, which is February in the fantasy author's case.

Michele Hauf said...

Yay, for BelleBooks! I was just looking at this list yesterday at Amazon because, erm...I'm on there too with Kiss Me Deadly. (Have been for like 213 weeks or something; that's a nice pick-me-up!)

I think the free books (from any publisher) are genius. It gives readers a taste, and I bet they go back for more (and pay) after that. You'll have to report your findings, Deb, after this promotion, to see if BelleBooks notices a rise in sales.

Christie Ridgway said...

Congrats, Deb! Oh, and cool for you too, Michele.

I drool over the concept of an ereader. I would so have one if I didn't spend a lot of my reading time with Advance Copies for my gig as BookPage reviewer. Those are paper, and I don't do a lot of other reading (well, I actually do, but still not quite ready to commit to a device).

Debra Dixon said...

Michele-- Yes! Your book has been out there and pretty high for a long time.

It's still early days, but we're seeing people emailing the authors, getting on the mailing list, great reviews being posted. We saw a pick-up in Amazon order quantity for the print titles.

None of this is thousands of books!! But there is something of a swell. The excerpt for Kalayna's book over at Scribd has been kicked up to a "Hot Item" and downloaded 60 times today. It was just put up last night.

Debra Dixon said...


We're offering all our ARC's in e or paper. When you do get a device, tell those folks to send you electronic files for review. I'm sure they'll love it. We do.

Michele Hauf said...

Deb, I get a LOT of emails from people now that say 'I downloaded that free book of yours, and now I need to find the rest of your books'. So this is only a win/win situation, I think, whenever an author has a free book featured as Amazon.

Harlequin is going to go another year offering free books. Obviously, they know what works. ;-)

Debra Dixon said...

Michele-- I can see Harlequin instituting the first Ebook Club where they email you your files every month in the format you prefer.

Yep. I see it coming.

Regina Hesse said...

The Amazon free download was the first I had heard of any of the Belle book authors. I have now purchased all the Mossy Creek books as well as the Sweet Tea books. I have also purchased some for my parents. Offering the first book of a series free can entice new readers.