karen_w_newton (karen_w_newton) wrote,

Deciphering the ebook code

Well, Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol is getting a lot of press. It reminds me a bit of the joke about Paris Hilton— she got famous for being rich, and now she's getting rich for being famous. Dan Brown is selling books partly because of how much press his book sales are getting.

But another interesting facet of his latest blockbuster is that it's selling really well as an ebook. On Amazon, the Kindle version was outselling the hardcover, at least for a while. So, will this trend persist? And what does the success of the Kindle version tell us?

The obvious answer might be that it's actually easier to sell a 528 page book in digital form (regardless of price, although that was a little more than $7.00 difference on Amazon; I'm sure that helped). Who really wants a book that functions well as a doorstop? This is especially true with a suspense/puzzle-solving story. I know folks who read Dan Brown, but I don't know folks who re-read him. Another reason might be that by making the ebook launch concurrent, Brown was able to capitalize on all that press.

And thirdly, Amazon was smart to make Kindle books available on the iPhone/iTouch platform, as the number of Kindle copies of The Lost Symbol sold quite probably exceeds the number of Kindles sold (hard to say for sure since Jeff Bezos is so shy about giving out numbers).

Maybe this book will be Kindle's Paris Hilton moment? Some of those Dan Brown fans who are poring over 528 pages on their iPhones (must be about 2,000 screens, at least), may just go out and buy Kindles so they can finish the book in comfort.

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Tags: e-books, ebooks, kindle

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