The Bookseller is to run a weekly UK e-book chart with data supplied by Bookstat, the sales tracking service that monitors titles on online retailers such as Amazon, Apple and Barnes & Noble. The first chart, for the week ending 4th January shows the extent to which Amazon and its subscription service Kindle Unlimited can dominate e-book sales, with four of its titles in the top five positions.
The number one book was Unspeakable Things by Jess Lourey published by Amazon imprint Thomas & Mercer, with projected sales of 24,256. The top title offered by a traditional publisher Orion's The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides*, in fifth, sold 10,398 generating estimated revenue of £10,294. The Silent Patient was also number one on Amazon's own ranking this week.
The chart also reveals the importance of pre-orders with each of the Amazon-published e-books generating thousands of sales in the run-up to their publication at the beginning of January. (Unlike Amazon's own charts, Bookstat, like Nielsen, stacks up pre-orders until the book's release.) Last week’s number one, Ryan's Christmas by self-published writer L J Ross fell to sixth position on sales of 10,192, having notched up 44,010 over Christmas week.
The chart is distinct from the publisher-supplied e-book charts that have run monthly and weekly in The Bookseller since 2013 and 2015.
Philip Jones, editor of The Bookseller, said: "There is a thriving often low-priced e-book market dominated by Amazon imprints, self-published writers, and digital-only publishers, and through the Bookstat service The Bookseller will be able to begin to reflect the success of these writers and their publishers and assess the impact of these books on the overall books marketplace. The new data will complement the existing listings of physical book sales supplied by Nielsen BookScan that remain at the heart of the industry, as well as the publisher and Audible-supplied digital charts that we already run, providing an exclusive and unrivalled view of what the UK public is reading each week."
Paul Abbassi, the founder of Bookstat, said: "Tracking online book purchases at the retail point of sale provides a fuller picture of the online book market, letting us measure and report on all digital and online sales as seen from a consumer perspective, rather than only tallying books sold by stats-reporting traditional publishers."
Amazon, which has a dominant market share in the UK e-book market, declines to publicly share e-book sales numbers, meaning that sales of digital books from publishers and independent authors remain invisible to the general public and trade. Bookstat tracks sales by measuring the relative movement of titles on publicly available retailer websites, calibrating them against the actual title sales reported by partner publishers.
* Sales of the two Hachette titles The Silent Patient and Blood Orange were under-estimated in the Bookstat e-book chart (29th – 4th January), with both books selling more than double the numbers reported, according to their publisher Hachette. It means both would have been placed higher than reported in the chart. Bookstat estimates sales numbers based on tracking the movement of e-books online, but the variance between the estimates and publisher actuals ought to be within an acceptable range, and we apologise that this was not the case.