Some numbers that might be of interest to indie booksellers

I pulled together book sales data from Smashwords and Amazon. This data starts in July of 2011 and runs to end of 3rd quarter for this year (2013). I thought I would post it for anyone who is interested in this sort of thing. I know it’s all small potatoes, but it’s my small potatoes and I’m thrilled with it.

Here goes. First, here are the numbers for units downloaded.


As you can see, Amazon and Barnes & Noble are the big channels for me, with Apple a distant third. Interesting note: I only started using B&N through Smashwords in the middle of 2012. It was a wise decision.  Prior to using Smashwords, I had my own account which didn’t allow me to do free giveaways at B&N. Free giveaways are a huge marketing tool.

Here is the same data by title:


The titles that have been around the longest have been downloaded the most.

Keep in mind that not all the venues offer that same details about downloads. For example, Smashwords doesn’t include free downloads from its retail business in these numbers, but it does include free downloads from Apple, Barnes & Noble, and Sony. Kobo hasn’t included free downloads in the numbers it reports up to Smashwords and I’m not sure about Diesel.

Now the financials.


With these numbers you have to keep in mind that Amazon pays the lowest royalty.

And here are the financials by title:


As with downloads, the titles that have been around the longest have made the most with some exceptions. American Girl is a big seller. Dirty Business is pulling its own. The Summer Shorts books are collections of the singles, so you can combine a Summer Shorts volume with the singles its composed of to get a sense for how well the stories sell. I think it makes sense to offer customers a lot of choices. If you just want to buy one story, I want you to be able to do it. If you want to buy a few stories, I want to give you a little discount.

With these totals, I don’t include any of the data from Amazon international. I get that information in currency other than USD and haven’t figured out how to translate it for my charts. If I make money from Amazon international, it comes from the UK. It’s not a lot. Maybe about $30 USD total?

9 thoughts on “Some numbers that might be of interest to indie booksellers

  1. You know, Huck, I’m not surprised in the least by your success. You work hard for it and should feel extremely satisfied. Keep publishing, man.


  2. Very interesting, Huck! I’d want to know more about the titles that sold the best: length, sub-genre – and also whether you see a correlation between the authors’ marketing efforts and these numbers.

    Your comments about B&N are encouraging, too.


    1. It’s interesting data for sure. My stuff is doing pretty good over at B&N and fair at Amazon. My wife’s stuff is much stronger at Apple, a retailer I’d really like to crack open. I’ve had modest success there, but not like my wife.

      I tend to write stories that don’t often have happy endings. I do men well, but a lot of my men don’t come off as likeable characters. I do mostly heterosexual stuff, but occasionally some MM. I have done really well selling my MM stories to anthologies which I just started this year and haven’t added to the chart.

      My stories are mostly story length — 3k to 7k words. I have a few novellas that come in a 10k – 15k. I have found a pretty good market for short work and I have been trying to create a big catalog. At some point, I may focus on longer work, but I’m not sure when. What I’m doing right now seems to be working for me. For longer work, I try to put a few stories together and then sell it as an anthology.


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