Self-published author claims Kindle top spot

Self-published author claims Kindle top spot

Self-published crime writer Kerry Wilkinson claimed the top spot in the UK Kindle bestseller chart for the last quarter of 2011, Amazon has revealed, as speculation mounts that the online retailer is planning to open its own physical store to push its exclusive book sales.

Wilkinson, from Lancashire, published his novel Locked In, one of a series featuring detective Jessica Daniel, using Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing tool, and sold “hundred of thousands of copies” of it in the three months before Christmas, according to Amazon. The e-book is currently selling for 98p and the paperback, published by KAW Publishing, for £8.53 on the Amazon site.

A second self-published author, Katie Stephens, saw her novel Candles on the Sand rank as the fifth bestselling Kindle book in the third quarter of 2011, according to the company.

Gordon Willoughby, European director of Kindle, said: “This is a significant milestone for independent publishing in the UK and we’re extremely excited to see authors benefiting from the success of Kindle. Kerry Wilkinson’s series of detective novels have sold hundreds of thousands of copies in the Kindle Store and we look forward to helping many more independently published authors achieve similar levels of success in 2012.”

Wilkinson has also released two other books in the Jessica Daniel series, Vigilant and The Woman in Black, using Amazon’s self-publishing tool, with Think of the Children and Playing with Fire due for release later in 2012.

On his blog, Wilkinson said: “The strangest thing is that I hadn’t even begun writing Locked In this time last year. I started around 10 to 11 months ago – and have sold 250,000 copies in just six months since the first title was released. It’s fair to say that almost all of those have been sold through Amazon’s Kindle Store – although the combined iTunes and Waterstones sales are substantial too.”

Meanwhile, speculation over Amazon’s plans to open a “boutique-style” physical store to push sales of its e-readers and exclusively-published books is growing. The Good E Reader blog has cited “sources close to the situation” as intimating Amazon would create a bricks and mortar store in Seattle, US, where the company was founded, in “the next few months”, concentrating on books and tablets.

Analysts have said the move may be inspired by the success of Apple, which has hundreds of stores which act as showrooms for its gadgets.

Today market share figures from Kantar Worldpanel have also revealed Amazon became the UK’s most-used entertainment retailer in the 12 weeks to 25th December, claiming the spot from HMV. Amazon took 22.4% of the CD, DVD and computer games market, The Independent reports, while struggling HMV took 17.5%.

Fiona Keenan, Kantar’s consumer insight director, said: “Amazon’s strong performance is down to a number of factors: it is typically really competitive on price, has a wide range of products with no restriction on display space, and is known for its very good customer service.”