It looks like the 'Sunshine Deals' program has created a very 'interesting' trend in the Kindle Bestseller list if you are a large publisher or author. We can quantify the impact on the list in a few different ways.
For one, we track the books in various bestseller lists by four 'price-bands' as follows:
Band 1 - Super-discount: $0-$2.99
Band 2 - Discount: $3-$7.99
Band 3 - Value: $8-$9.99
Band 4 - Premium: $10+
Normally, the number of titles in these bands (of the top 100) rarely fluctuates much from day to day as there has not been much churn on the eBook lists. Well something has changed in June.
In the first four days of June, 2011, the following numbers of titles have occured in each band:
date band1 band2 band3 band4
2011-06-01 31 18 15 35
2011-06-02 38 16 12 33
2011-06-03 43 14 11 31
2011-06-04 47 14 10 28
Clearly, the number of titles in the super-discount band (below $3) has increased dramatically, suggesting that something has changed dramatically this week in what consumers are buying. This trend is mirrored in the drop in the average price of all titles in the Kindle bestsellers list, from $7.75 to $6.43 in just 3 days, an unprecedented drop in the six months we have been observing closely.
To give you an idea of how dramatic this trend is, look at the average price chart for the Kindle Bestseller List over the past seven months:
So as to the cause, we have to suspect this may be almost entirely influenced by the new 'Sunshine Deals' program that Amazon is running over this same time frame. By promoting discoverability of cheaper titles, they have likely created a surge in sales in that price band, driving many of these titles onto the bestseller list for the first time. Ranking doesn't tell the whole story, but we have to wonder if this program has had a significant downward effect on sales volume of higher priced titles. It certainly speaks to the tremendous promotional power Amazon has to influence what people are buying.
We will continue to follow this and look to see how quickly the list reverts back to form after the program ends in two weeks.
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