What’s better than getting the latest update on the current publishing market trends? Learning about new categories to exploit on Amazon.
But wait, there’s more…
Alex Newton drops knowledge on what’s going on in Romance, Science Fiction, and Mystery, Thriller, Suspense.
If you’re serious about understanding how publishing works and the forces of supply and demand, then take the time to watch Alex present the most up-to-date intelligence on the KDP publishing market.
His report includes ranking results, estimates of the Kindle payout pool, and so much more.
[00:00:00] Joe: Hey everybody. It’s Joe Solari, and this is the business of writing. I help authors build great businesses. And today we have Alex Newton from K Linux. If you’re not familiar with Caitlin X and it’s the preeminent analytics. Service that’s out there for authors. We’ve had Alex on the show at least two times, I think maybe three.
And we’re going to do another one of those quarterly updates. So welcome to the show, Alex.[00:00:26] Alex: Hey Joe. Thanks for having me and hi everybody. [00:00:29] Joe: We’ve been catching up prior to turning on the record button, but it’s really good to see you again and to hear what you have to say about what’s been going on in the market.
Last time, I think it was the, just before the summer and you were sharing about how the initial wave of COVID was really. For authors and the Amazon Kindle store. So I’m really interested to just get into the data and you share with us what’s going on and what authors should be thinking about in Q3 and Q4.[00:01:02] Alex: Happy to do yeah. Brought a little bit of data, as you say, we’re now looking back at basically this, whatever whole pandemic time and the Amazon global select funds or the fund as a w, which you can do take as a bit of a market approximation for at least the K U part of Amazon, which however, if you look at the best settled list, At least indicative of whether things are going up or down.
We can have a look at the development of those numbers and already saying, lots of good news, but what’s also interesting is that we do see now really what impact that thing had on certain genres versus others. And there are now certain jars as he will see in a minute where. The trend has been literally off for an 18 months while before it was down.
So the pandemic turned around the whole thing. Now I’m always cautious with causality versus, okay. There is a correlation like this famous example where people, I think one’s made a correlation between. The length of skirts, right? Wasn’t it. And stock market, that famous story. So just because the skirts get longer or shorter does not mean that causes the stock market to go into a certain direction.
So I’m always cautious about this, but it’s some of the things are intuitive where you’re like, yeah, you can explain it this way. Let’s dive into it, have a bit of a look at the number two, a bit of a Q and a, you can chime in when you have questions on behalf of your audience. Sure.[00:02:32] Joe: Yeah, let’s [00:02:32] Alex: do it all.
You guys know. For those of you listening to this on the podcast, I will be talking a bit about grasp, but I’ll try to describe them so you can visually see them in front of your eyes. And if you don’t, you can always go, I think, to Joe’s YouTube video or whatever, you’re going to be hosting the video.[00:02:50] Joe: We’ll have a page where we’ll have a link to the show notes and the graphs, your slides, so that people can look at that if they want to, while they’re listening to. [00:02:58] Alex: There we go now, whichever way, this whole thing, effected you. I hope everybody have used doing fine and great, and that we’re more than just surviving throughout this spirit.
Let me try to share some good news with you during these days. So just turning on here the screen share there, Right there. So what I’d like to do as an update, let’s talk a little bit about the overall market update. Now. There’ve also been a couple of subtle changes on the Amazon categories. We’re not going to go through all of them, but I’m just going to allude to some of them and you can also look them up.
And then I thought let’s talk a little bit about, specific jars. What has been happening in romance? What do we see in scifi and fantasy? Mystery thriller suspend some news on Aljaz and non-fiction as well. And let’s dive right into it. Now, first of all, the overall. Obviously you can look at the industry associations now, print and trade has been doing.
Today. I want to look at the first project. It’s not the first projection I showed this graph when we met earlier with. Towards the beginning or after the first quarter of the year, when the data, wasn’t, what you see here in front of us is the Kindle select global fund in us dollars. How it’s grown from, 32 million in its first year in 2014, when Kindle unlimited started it’s been going through.
300 millions fresh hold in 2019, then COVID hit. And 2020, the whole thing grew by 25%, which I always thought, Hey, tell me one industry that shows such solid double digit numbers, and everybody thought, okay, with the pandemic, then the whole thing, going back to normal, that’s going to slow. We’ve done the first projection after the first quarter.
Of this year, 2021. And there, the prediction was, I think even more than 20% because around Christmas time in January, the monthly payout to Kindle unlimited authors had actually grown 30%, 30% over the last year. Then during this summer, the growth rates slowed a little bit. Comparing the month with a similar same month, the year before, down to 15% or which is still like an outrageous growth number.
Now we have the first three quarters. Of actual data. And we currently see that the the September year to date data is $313 million. Having been paid out to king long limited authors. And the, by this time of the year, the projection using those three months and comparing what started the three quarters and what they represented in all the three prior years, it’s very, it’s going to be.
Stable. So I’m very confident to say we’re going to have anything between 18 and 20% and another year of growth this year in 2021. Now obviously KTP or K U is not the whole market on Amazon, but it is like a great indicator. And I think it’s just good news that we see such a tremendous growth here in the second year in a row.
And I think it’s.[00:06:07] Joe: Yeah, it is. It’s crazy. We’re probably what we’re going to be five years from now. This could be a billion dollar industry just [00:06:14] Alex: in case. And that’s the other thing, if it just, obviously the performance of the what’s, the disclaimer in stock market bulletins and elements of the past is never a reliable [00:06:23] Joe: past performance is not an indication of [00:06:25] Alex: future performance of your, whatever of your fund bought.
As we’ve seen, Amazon is going to stay on the gas pedal on this. And we see obviously in that whole equation, also audio is going to be a increasing deal. You name it, but I think it’s just good news. Obviously. Reading is increasing and 90%. So the, what is gained there and market share is lost somewhere else.
But net, I think during COVID basically people being at home, people read more, listen more to books, and I think that’s good news for authors and publishers. Yeah. All in this good market environment Amazon, we all know they’re probably don’t have the Kindle store at the top priority of Amazon’s investment list.
We all know that they very much harvest what they have there when it comes to technical infrastructure. And do you know all the frustrations with your dashboards and categories and the clumsiness of the of everything from advertising down to the. Oh process, but here and there, Amazon does make up updates and sometimes they do it to.
To the category structure, and now I’m not gonna bore you with but just as an example, just on the sub category level. So once you leave romance and you go into whatever romance, paranormal romance history, so there, they made some updates on the subcategory level, across the board and also for the down.
Now, many of these were say very In important categories. For you, this audience, it’s not important to know that you now have a category for comfort food and cookbooks, food and wine, and these sort of things to some people it’s very interesting, but there were a couple of interesting ones just to name one here, which I found interesting that enrollments, they now finally introduced something called Romans later in life.
So we now have a dedicated Amazon category for those few. If you go into the Amazon website and you start typing romance into the search bar, you very often, once you add the letter F to it Amazon will prompt like romance. Teens romance for women, Romans for man, but pretty high up there. It’s romance for seniors romance for women 50 plus.
So it seems they’re a while on Google search interest, by the way, it’s not reflected as it’s a very Amazon, a very book specific thing where where probably. Yeah. People are basically looking for at least like me there this phenomenon of midlife fiction, especially in an urban fantasy cozy mystery paranormal women’s fiction.
We saw a lot, we saw a huge increase in women’s fiction, per se, which is usually targeted. If you look at the protagonist in the book, Like starting over the kids are out of school. There’s the duke forest and the woman buys this little beach house and refurbishes it. And there’s this guy and, so on and so forth.
Now we also have this later in life category, we will keep monitoring it. And then that, and that Amazon does these changes on that level is at least they still care somewhat for how the store looks like. Even if. If they were to introduce categories that finally reflect some of the big markets such as billionaire romance on the Kindle store, or my fair Romans, or there isn’t even a lead RPG or a game led category.
And so sometimes you don’t know how they come to these decisions, but they at least, they do things on on on these bestseller lists. All right. With this, let’s dive into some of these genres for those of you just to recap it. But as long as you stay on the top level, the picture across the board has not changed in.
In relative terms. So you have, if you, if we neglect the big umbrella categories, literature, and fiction, and non-fiction romance, number one, then mystery, thriller suspense, then scifi and fantasy. Now that’s the Kindle picture. If you put this up for audio, it’s going to look a bit, the other way around.
You will have more scifi and fantasy. I think number one, a lot of non-fiction and then romance has gotta be further down in the audio format, but here with the big lead market here, Kindle unlimited. Across formats. I’m still the number one. So we’re going to take it in this sequence of it. We’re going to be looking at romance, but at mystery throws suspends, I think I have scifi second in this presentation, then a bit of non-fiction and teen young adults.
Let’s have a look what’s happening over there in these markets. Romance so full the Romance authors amongst you. And by the way, if you are a mystery thriller suspense or Saifai, you should watch this tube because some of the trends I see actually happening across the board, just by the way, for the performance of this later in life category, that’s an interesting.
Just interesting detail to mention for those of you who are new to this, I’m in front of what we call the K strategy map, which is a fancy term for putting a lot of snowflakes on one diagram. And each snowflake is a category. The, or the.as a category and the higher up the category is the better is the Amazon average sales rank that is achieved on average in that category.
And the further the category is to the right of the graph, the higher, the level of competition. Now, Romans later, It’s like an interesting one, because you can imagine often more than 10 years of Kindle, many of the Romans categories are extremely crowded and you’re looking at book portfolios in paranormal, Roman of lot more than 60,000 titles for us.
So quality it’s like a library of Congress because Amazon doesn’t purchase the things in a measure of competition would become in due course, probably a. Also just the number of titles added per month. So what is the supply growth rate? And I can share an example, interesting analysis, a new analysis, and a second for for another sub genre in Romans, but here, just look at it, the category size of English speaking, titles of that fledgling.
Later in life, Romans it’s just 776 titles, and the sales rank is already up there in the tub 1002 hundreds, which is very high already. So it’s almost off the chart and the green zone. And it was funny because. I saw some of the more experienced offers immediately jumping at putting their book into the category.
So the first ones to hijack it were, by the way, all the women’s fiction authors, frankly only have a dash of romance in many of their, like beach house romance, novels, or women’s fiction novels. They all put it in there, but. But w if you go into the best seller list, now you find actually a couple of Romans authors who like specifically targeting, they S true relater in life romance segment without much competition at this point in time.
Romance overall here’s the good news. Romans was like one of the beneficiaries of the whole pandemic. What you see here is actually the graph at the start of the pandemic all the way up to present time. So this is the average severing across the overall romance cup 100. And while the average of those 100 titles was down, when the pandemic hit in 2020, it dropped down to 170 on average Amazon Kindle store, which is like super sky high in the store, but relatively speaking, it dropped and then it researched what’s Christmas.
And Evanston’s, there’s a slide positive friend and the whole Romans jaw was like raised to another, say plot toe, never before with, did we have that performance? So whatever the pandemic did, people did read Romans. Which I found counter-intuitive because, if everybody’s staying at home, you should have should have more romance.
I don’t, but perhaps people had too much disappointment than at home. And I turned to the Romance
or[00:13:54] Joe: nobody to romance with at home. [00:13:56] Alex: Exactly. Exactly. So that’s the overall situation? Interestingly that increase in relative market share did not come at the expense of price drops. In fact, what’s been happening is that the romance Romans ebook prices over the last 18 months were also with, neglected all the monthly ups and downs.
If you put a trend line through it, we have a very solid. Increase in price levels as well. From an average, around $4, 10 at the start of the pandemic, where now here at $4 83 and this picture, I thought let’s have another look because I remember when I started tracking the market five, six years ago, I remember times where we suddenly say, oh my God, the average price of the top 100.
Relevance titles has dropped below $3. And that is where he also had like traditional publisher is up there and I said, wow, what’s happening there? So what did I did for this show? I just pulled the last seven years of beta of price data for the Romans Jara. And you find that. It’s really astonishing.
So for those of you listening, we have here a seven year monthly price evolution of the romance genre. And if you were to cut a line through it, we saw pro from 2014, all the way to almost mid 2017, we had an ever. Decreasing price level from a trend perspective in Romans for the low point in May, 2017, top 100 Romans novels.
The average across them all was as low as $2 37. And ever since then we have a steady growth in prices. Now leading up, actually this month was the highest price we had in seven years with a $4 eighty-three and it could well be that we go through this magical $5 threshold in due course.[00:15:49] Joe: Yeah. I would think that for folks that are looking at this and romance, this doesn’t surprise me.
That they can get more money for their book. It surprises me that people are committing to a price increase. But when you think about it, the different markets, right? So if you think about a typical romance author, probably 70% of their earnings come from K U right. Where they don’t get a say in the.
Komisar Bezos tells us what the price will be. And then you have this other market where you do have the opportunity to ask for more money into their they’re. They’re very, they’re different customer segments. And I know, again, I haven’t seen any hard data on it, but the anecdotal thing is as well. I raised my price in my COO sales.[00:16:34] Alex: I, I didn’t catch that. My key failed and up. [00:16:38] Joe: Yeah. So like you see it where people raise their price. Now they’re getting more per book. So they’re seeing their regular sales go up. But then at the same time, they’ll see their page reads go up. So [00:16:49] Alex: because the subscription becomes even more valuable, the merchandise becomes more valuable.
So I totally. Interesting. Yeah. I don’t have the K U share versus the non K you share it with what we did see across all our genre reports, where we track, what is the sheriff K U titles versus non K U titles in the bestsellers in almost any report with diet and done doing in 2021. We saw an increase in the share of K U as we’ve already seen in the year before.
So the best seller list share of U is constantly growing. It seems, and people jump at it right away and say, so Amazon is favoring KGU well, we know they treat in the sales rank algorithm for the best sellers, right? Treat the straight sale. Exactly the same as the borrow, the download. So from that perspective, you could argue.
Yes, they are giving some preferential treatment to K you indirectly through that sales rank algorithm. But what is interesting, in fact, they’re not because if you go to the popularity list and if you just type in a search. Romance or any sub genre, you will see that in the first two or three pages, the books that are being suggested to you, to the prospective buyer over proportionally, I will collect some hard data on it, but just looking over it, you will find an over proportional share of non K U items.
Meaning Amazon will. I would do the same saying, Hey, the subscription has already paid. So why suggest something to a person looking for something to give it away for free? No, I offer those merchandise, which is not in the subscription. Interesting phenomenon. All right. Next we go. So a couple of updates within the Jarvis. We have here just a second to move this little. I can hear.
So[00:18:46] Joe: what do we have. [00:18:47] Alex: A couple of sub genres where we saw a particular upward motion. One is the like fantasy in futuristic. Usually people would refer to it as fantasy romance and that best seller list had really been soaring. So all these books like what is a type of Zodiac academy. You have urban fantasy, you have paranormal romance where usually, unless it’s like a portal fantasy or something, It’s still urban in nature.
So the city and here, the Romans is more shifting into the fantasy world. So we see all these favors romance fairy tale, retelling type of things, but also paranormal romance, but in a non-urban setting, which makes it fantasy romance. Now that whole thing has been growing like crazy ever since the start of the pending.
And so that is one big thing we’ve been seeing over the last 18 months. The other is in general, we saw a big Renaissance of paranormal romance. Now who would have thought this the big high times with back in 2000, what, 2000 13, 14, 15. That was when paranormal, Romans was like the big thing. And ever since it was on a downturn.
And just to show you, here’s one of the paranormal. Best-sellers now not over 18 months, but over five years. And we see that ever since the high time, in 2016, we had a downward trend in werewolf and shifter romance. Obviously in that category, you will find also other paranormal themes, not just werewolves in shifted, but this interesting indicator category has been dropping.
And especially at the start of the pandemic, paranormal took yet another hit and it wasn’t. Putting a nail into the coffin of a four or five-year decline, and then. With a mid of pandemic of the pandemic, we see this huge surge, not just in shift a romance but you see suddenly shifters and paranormal the orange flame type of covers all over the place again.
So interesting. Werewolves vampires, they never die,[00:20:52] Joe: no pun agenda. [00:20:53] Alex: Exactly. So that’s the big. Then we did some cross category type of research this year. Some of you may have seen it. We’ve issued a first report on, I always dodged this January. We’ve done a big re dedicated report just and billionaire Romans to see whether it’s just Ben Paez, also billionaires that never die.
And you may remember this one chart, which I did show before. With this phenomenon of the 50 shades of gray, back in 2014, the hitting the big screen. And that then in the year, 2014, 15, we had this big search on Google for billionaire romance interest. Now, while the blockbuster, the movies stuff, the hype died down and only, within months after the movies, The interest for the theme continued to be there.
Now, what I was interested in to shed a bit more light on books, supplies. We did an analysis where we basically tracked the number of books that were published every month with a keyword billionaire romance or the term billionaire in the title and category being romance. And that’s usually interesting because the blue line that you see here, which peaked.
In 2015 is the monthly number of new books. So imagine every month we have some 250. At that time we had some 250 to 300 new billionaire romance books come out every month. So[00:22:21] Joe: let me stop you there. So for folks that are listening to that’s just one category focused really on this Trump, a billionaires 250 books per month. [00:22:32] Alex: Back in 2015. Yeah. And at the time it’s almost like today at the time was like almost half or say 60% K you and the rest non-key you. And after the movie died down. So the red line is the continued interest is the Google search interest for billionaire row. The exact search word and publishing activities died down, not died down, but went back to about a hundred new novels a month, which is still huge.
But you see there, wasn’t like really this golden time in 2017 to 2018, even early 2019. And what’s so interesting currently, and that’s why I did this special report on billionaire romance is we have now a constant uptick in, in publishing activity again. So now we are back to about 200 books a month with billionaire romance themes.
But we also have a rise in interest. So this whole billionaire trout, like Ben paws never die a billion billion as neither do they. And even to the extent that we had like a huge number of Chinese spam bloats, during this. Where are they just uploaded mock-ups and price them so ridiculous, they never sell these spam copycat or some Chinese translations.
Very odd thing. Anyway. The point I wanted to make. It’s very interesting these days to see how supplying demand develops for very specific trope or theme or subs of John or whatever you name it. And within billionaire Romans, you can even dig further down. And the big thing I ha we’ll have a special report next week on this big mafia and stroke where you have now, the billionaires being, whatever, the big mafia guys, and it’s probably.
I’m anxious. See what the report is. It’s probably the adult equivalent to what we have as the bully Romans phenomenon in teen young adult romance is probably happening here in the where perhaps the billionaire Romans for readers go over to that one. I don’t know, but it’s a strange thing, strange phenomenon, but it’s happening and it’s creating huge booklet.
All right. That was, I[00:24:37] Joe: don’t know. Yeah. I don’t know if you’re going to get into it. But just to give folks a context for what’s going on in the marketplace what’s your data show as far as where we’re at is number of titles total. [00:24:49] Alex: Oh total. They stopped displaying it on the page as so they always cap it and say, if you type in paranormal romance, it would either sell over 50,000 titles or over 60,000. It’s either one of the two values where they can. But we’re tracking the monthly increment, the 30 day increment across all of those, which you can still accurately determine for 95% of the jars.
So I haven’t looked up the number of this month, but we, when you only count the English speaking titles, we’ve broken through the 8 million titles threshold in total. Across the board on Kindle and romance is the number two or number one in that book supply. I think only religion and spirituality is bigger with, I think by now more than five, 600,000 titles on wow.
Yeah it’s become a crowded place, but the good news is, look at this category, like we just had with romance later in life, there he talk still less than 2000 titles and not all of them are being aggressively marketed. So as these new things come up, the next theme say, take mafia, romance or.
Take the Fe Romans things that were happening, those people who were our early in it and built their fan base on it they keep harvesting usually for a bit of time, take the women’s fiction author. There were a couple I think 2, 3, 4 years back going into that long and. Now you see these covers all over the place with a beach house ride, but it’s the, these people have been harvesting certain niche markets for a good period in time and successfully continue to so well,[00:26:28] Joe: th this also gets into, what I talked about in advantage that if this was a true supply demand market authors couldn’t make any money, right?
There’s an oversupply. If anybody saw every book as an equal substitute for another, then why would anybody pay $5 for a book? Because there’s an endless supply of books costs. So what happens? And I think that’s one of the most powerful things about your genre reports is you can actually go in and look in a genre and see.
Really how steep that curve is that within a bestseller list, specific to a genre, you have, these group of authors and maybe they’re the original ones in it, or they’re more prolific that we can, there’s a million reasons why, but they are capturing a large percentage of the market and we’ll continue to do that.[00:27:13] Alex: And then there’s another interesting thing. You mentioned the sustainability that now that we’ve covered a couple of jars over four, five years, that say 30, 40% sometimes of the top authors in one year would be a top author in the next year as well. Yeah. [00:27:29] Joe: Yeah. It’s I always say it’s similar to like professional tenants, right?
There’s it’s not to say you can’t get into the top ring. But there are people that once they’re up there, they stay there for a while until they’re, they get too old to play tennis anymore.[00:27:42] Alex: That’s a funny analogy. A couple of riders who stay there until they, become too old to hit the typewriter.
And then they are still five years of dictation software, and then they can afford an assistant to take down. And that’s funny. That’s funny. Yeah. So let’s talk a bit about Saifai as well. Also there, we have a a phenomenon that, again let’s look at the sales rank performance off the top 100 as an indicator of the, the top end of the market.
And as we know the top end of November, 80% of the whole market.
So here we have 50 and the top 100, as I said, the straight line all the way here from 20, 20 April or the pandemic hit to present time was in July.
We had the highest ever sales ring performance in scifi and fantasy that we’ve seen in a long time. Now, obviously you’re going to be saying, okay, what is scifi and what is fantasy and driving? I were just working on the final edits of the scifi and fantasy report. And I think I can already say fantasy has been driving this more than Spotify, right?
Both are escapist reads. And we would often see during the pandemic, whether it’s humorous fiction, whether it’s light, lighter reads, share gain. So did the big escapist John Morris. Fantasy more so than science fiction, but also the one or other Saifai title was increasing when we compare it, by the way, with a prices also here, the similar phenomenon as enrollment, although nets, not that steep and increase in prices here, it’s probably more flat to a slightly upper trend, at least very stable prices in the top 100, between five 50 and $6.
So in general, higher price levels still than we have in romance. Although also, this will vary by Jara where we have a traditionally published titles, very high and more fantasy romance type of titles lower, but good news also here, we don’t see. Big anomalies or price drops. When we go into certain jars just to drive the story home on what you mind find intuitive on a pandemic here, we have a five-year trendline of the post-apocalyptic Saifai and dystopian Saifai Jorah over a period of five years and here it can almost see that when the pandemic started in March, this whole genre took a dive.
But what is, what I personally found interesting is, and here’s where you really have to be careful about causality, because if you carefully look at the graph. The whole post-apocalyptic and dystopian thing was on a, post-operative limited. It wasn’t an opera trend until September, 2019, and then it started this decline.
So the decline started before the pandemic hit. And here I personally. In the post-apocalyptic realm. The walking dead, I think that was the last season. So there are some Netflix factors here, probably a play as well. Similarly dystopian, where we had obviously the Handmaid’s tale and then the SQL to add, and then, big hype and then nothing else came.
And sometimes I find that the pandemic. In some, JARAs almost acted like not the cause of her something, but almost like a catalyst, where a trend was down, it became even more downtrending or a trend was up and it became even more uptrending. So that’s, what’s been happening to the more dire, darker post-apocalyptic and dystopian worlds.
They clearly did not benefit. If you now look at this from a big step back type of five-year perspective.[00:31:21] Joe: Yeah, that makes sense. [00:31:22] Alex: On the other hand, though, there were beneficiaries also in science fiction and fantasy. So if you look at also there is books being tactically being put in there, but I’m going to skip over this.
You’re pretty briefly as said all the categories that have to do with humor and entertainment. Some of them greatly benefited in here in specific. If you look at fantasy gaming gaming type of categories and the cousin jaw. Sci-fi fantasy TV, movie, video game adaptations. So whether it’s lit RPG, books or books related to certain series, or just things that sort of fit that type of target audience here, we saw clearly an increase during over the last 18 months, and especially also more recently.
And also for the heart scifi fans, again here, if you look at it from a five-year perspective yes, we did have the Martian and all these sorts of things. And then, but overall heart Saifai was done a two, three year downward trend up until the pandemic. And then, while very volatile and they put a trend line through it.
We got a bit of a rejuvenation. Of the of the whole thing. Now we all know, especially in PSI, many books being this categorized, even if you look at it as a rough gauge and Hey, at least something is happening there. And then obviously we need to go into the best sellers and see what type of books in specific have been driving a certain.
So overall good news in scifi and fantasy, especially the fantasy side of things. Epic fantasy by the way, would have been on the rise as well. Anything escapist word worked very well during the pandemic mystery thriller suspense. Also here we hear, we saw actually a pretty flat performance over the first year of the pending.
And now over the last say, six months, mystery Thriller suspense all of a sudden has seen a strong, upward motion. Again, at first I thought it could be to do with a big price drop we’ve seen in MTS prices during summer. We usually don’t have big fluctuations, but there we saw a big price drop and it was not data outliers.
So we looked at all of the books and. It was like legitimate. All of a sudden you had like more 99 cents, 1 99, 2 99 price points in their evening. And a top 100, which is very unusual for MTS books. So it was a big tray drop off it’s been coming back up. So that increase in in sales was not like purchased.
I felt. And within the jars, I think the most remarkable one that we’ve seen where I thought that’s the only. One of the exceptions to the rule where you say in the pandemic, he only had like more lighthearted type of knowledge. The one contrast in here is domestic thrillers. Usually like dark, psychological, Moda may I’m in the family or small towns, surroundings, domestic.
Extremely well-performing so much though that on the, before mentioned a strategy map that we mentioned it’s almost off the chart. Why? Because the sales ranks of the. Mystery thriller suspense, domestic thrillers books are like sky high in, in the store. While the signs of the category. If you look at domestic thrillers within MTS, it’s still the less than 3000 titles.
In fact, at the point in time, only 2,500 English speaking title in the category now. Do the keyword search, there are more for domestic sellers because people started recognizing how successful a keyword, the days and started bidding for it. Even if their novel is vaguely domestic thriller in the literary definition, sense of the word.
But that’s a good one currently to be in, in MTS. Last not least other jars. What do we see there? I think we haven’t covered teen young adult yet teen young adult, always a bit volatile. It goes up and down. We also saw in the pandemic here as the sales rank over the last 18 months where, especially in.
First two months of the log downs. I think teens, the two things, aside from trying to do some home schooling or not doing it watching Netflix, being on the mobile phone. And when the parents said enough of mobile phone, perhaps they’ve write a bit more books again. So we all know kids’ books and teaching adult books were on the rise.
The short peak we had here in may June, 2020, then it went down again. Then here, next wave. Especially after Christmas, we, we see this rise now it’s on the downturn again. So teen young adult, it’s always difficult to see a real trends there, but once you go to the lower levels, the tropes, the sub-category.
Here things do start happening. This isn’t very interesting. One where I brought you another five-year trend line because the five-year trend line really allows to show what happened before the pandemic and what had happened during. Oh hopefully soon off for the pandemic and in teen young adult paranormal fantasy romance.
So class, most of this is like urban fantasy romance and paranormal romance, but more geared towards the young adult type of audience. That category was literally on a. Three and a half year decline all after the big hype in 2015, that one was on a constant, rank dropping, dropping.
And then in March, 2020, as you see on this chart, it started going up like crazy. Nah, it’s in September 21, cooling off a little, but if you just look at a trend line, this was one of the clear beneficiaries, all of the during the pandemic last, not least.[00:37:03] Joe: Just one other thing that you made me think about is for there seems to be some folks that tend to jump from chasing trends is that with your data, you can see that.
There is life cycles, right there. There’s ebbs and flows. And maybe your particular genre that you want to write in might lose some popularity for a period of time. These things tend to come back.[00:37:26] Alex: I agree. I agree. It’s a bit like the fashion industry perhaps cycles and I also and there is two examples.
I don’t have the graph now here with me, but. Obviously last Christmas, 25th of December 20 2020 Netflix puts out Bridget, right? Yeah. In the ensuing month, a best settled list that had lost ground of the year of historical romance, especially Regency Romans, shot all the way back up.
And it was up there like two, three months, and then slowly it went back down again. And even now all of the leading books in Regency, Romans are usually Julia Queensbridge it in the series. Some of these things can be externally induced and can be a bit short-lived, I’d say Regency romance as one example where one Netflix thing really gave a spark, but things went back to normal quickly.
The earlier example we had like billionaire romance it’s the blockbuster movie was the impetus. But what stayed behind would become a seven year book trend, same thing with Twilight and vampire romance. And it’s going to be interesting to see, I, I cannot predict which one is going to be short, which is slow, but I think by and large, once a thing gets going.
Especially in the book market, there is a certain inertia that makes the bookmark and much more sustained than many of the other more short-lived media formats. That makes sense. Yeah. And we’ll see. I’m, for example, in the next year, I’m very curious to see what’s going to be, we will do another epic fantasy study because epic fence, because he wasn’t very successful and I understand hasn’t been released yet.
I don’t think so. The big Amazon version prime version of Lord of the rings, obviously. And and I think if I read correctly, it’s the highest book. Television series ever produced. So there is big money behind those things and obviously a big promotion engine. So I can’t lead my webinars.
Tell people, Hey, look at the Netflix producing pro production schedule to see what’s coming in a year’s time.[00:39:35] Joe: When you look at what’s going on right now with dune. Yeah,
totally.[00:39:39] Joe: Totally. That book that was written in 1966 is in the top 10 again. [00:39:43] Alex: I tell you, let’s see whether we have back to the future. One more time, all these things of our youth.
So[00:39:50] Joe: I’m sure they’ll do a re rehash those [00:39:53] Alex: last, not least before we close and then, looking at too many numbers at a time in trend graphs at the time, make people and listeners probably dizzy, but the one overall thing you should be aware of is. We have this tension between fiction and nonfiction on Kendall and or attention, meaning two competing segments because they compete for for market share on the device.
And usually we all know that. The average bestseller, rank of literature and fiction for those who watch look at the graph, it’s a red line, fairly flat and extremely stable. Over the years and non-fiction has always trended lower than fiction, but stably. So the distance between the flat literature and fiction line and the flat non-fiction line would always be a distance.
Average sounds Frank literature and fiction. And the top 100 of the store nonfiction say around the 400, 500 mark in the store, what do we saw ever since the pandemic now that what a brief search in May, 2019 and April, May, 2019, and probably everybody downloaded books about infectious diseases and how to bake your own bread and all that sort of stuff and how to stay safe.
That was a quick search, but ever since we have a decline in nonfiction and it has not been recovered from that decline yet. And I find this pretty remarkable. Obviously back in 2015, 16, the Kindle gold digging times when you get every John Dick and Harry upload their non-fiction books and the 50 thousands law of attraction book and self-help book and all that stuff here, I think the law of supply and demand is really kicking in where, yeah, there’s endless supply.
Junks and junks of books out there where the one person copied from the author, basing the next book off the table and look inside table of content of the previous book and here, and just see it doesn’t resonate with readers and the channel has been losing ground over the last 18 months.[00:42:00] Joe: Does this figure in audio book sales as well? Or is this just [00:42:04] Alex: the kennel sealer? No, this is just Kindle. And obviously you will pose the interesting question. How many non-fiction consumers have shifted from the reading format to the audio [00:42:17] Joe: format? I know I can only speak for myself. I know that’s, I’m all in now on audio, because I can just consume more books.
I can do it at a faster speed. I can do it when I’m doing other stuff. So I, I wonder if that’s an interesting thing to explore as far as how much people are. It’s just a transference. That’s not necessarily, it’s the medium. That’s good. That’s really getting punished now.[00:42:43] Alex: Absolutely. We shall see and do chorus as way, hopefully have more data on audio as well.
As you say, the initial measurement we took off the audio market was clearly showing non-fiction continue to be the ones I personally would have thought, with people no longer driving to work, but staying at home that actually some of the. Audio books, sales and may have suffered because people don’t consume so much anymore by not spending so much time in traffic jam anymore, listening to audio books.
But there’s no hard data to back it up and hopefully we have seen some more hard data on this, but for those of you who are in non-fiction. I think just generally to be aware of, only published nonfiction when you really have something to say and bring some new value to the market, instead of not, I’m not saying that your listeners aren’t doing this, but I’ve seen so many, just copy cats, books, flooding the market with no value added whatsoever[00:43:39] Joe: to the readers.
I think there’s some get rich quick schemes right now where it’s like, you can produce low content books on. Amazon. And, if you don’t, it only takes about 15 minutes of research to understand that’s an impossibility, but. If you get some compelling Facebook ad and you think that this is going to be the deal, then you may fall for that.
And like you say, there’s a lot of junk books up there.[00:44:03] Alex: All right. That’s case in some, somewhere, some words, even in all the different, if I had been the person inventing, coloring, adult coloring books, I’d be I’d be very happy. I remember what was it? Six years ago when you know, the.
Top 100 in Canada or something that was almost, so much coloring books are now journals and things. If they target certain niches and they’re easy to produce fine, but if you start cupping yeah, copy cat, whatever is out there in the market. And the hope for this quick buck, it’s a complete illusion.
It doesn’t[00:44:35] Joe: work. There may be another thing. I don’t know if you’d be able to see this, but I would say In certain industries, let’s take the financial planning industry, right? The hundreds of thousands of financial planners and money managers they’ll want to write a book. The reason they’re writing a book on, having wealth in near retirement is because they’re seeing that is getting some.
Space on Amazon as a search engine, and having a bonus card, it’s essentially a business card when they do their seminars, they can hand out their book and, it gives them some authority. So while they may never be ever thinking that book is going to become a number one best seller, it’s still bringing supply into the market because for that person in their, their whatever town they’re in, it makes them look a little more.[00:45:25] Alex: And here, has my total endorsement, to write nonfiction as a proof of authority. You have my blessing to write nonfiction in the hope for a source of income, unless you. Big hitter with big advertising budgets and, in roads into the airports stores and these sort of things, and and you have the PR manager brings you into these local, with breakfast morning, Cheryl was in the U S then non-fiction as a business. No. But for the average, I just upload my Kindle book no way. [00:45:58] Joe: Yeah, for sure. [00:45:59] Alex: All right. [00:46:00] Joe: Oh it’s been really great having you on and catching up Alex.
I really appreciate all the work you’ve put into getting this content together for us[00:46:09] Alex: so much for having me again. Yeah. [00:46:12] Joe: And you want to tell people how they can find you and where you know, what various things you offer to help them figure all this stuff. [00:46:22] Alex: Sure. Very briefly, come find firstname.lastname@example.org.
That’s K hyphen lytics.com. I can just, put it up here on the screen for you. Also Taylor’s traits. So basically what we have is we have a big database of category performance that we have. Monthly. And so far it’s focused on Kindle. We do have some initial data on audio as well on, on request.
And we keep working on that. And then we have all those jar reports where, each genre is covered with a 70 page 90 page thing with a video like this one, where I take you through the results covering anything, from cozy mystery to whatever paranormal women’s fiction and epic fantasy.
And those two things they’re delivered either through a membership, if, especially if you’re a professional or want to stay abreast of the market every month, or want to see what’s happening across genres, we offer a premium or elite membership tier. If you’re on a bad budget or just want to have this one spark of data to inform your next book project, you can also.
Procure the John reports individually in the store. And you’re welcome to check it out. It’s K lytics.com, which is K hyphen lytics.com, which is very simply dropping the indulge from the Kindle because it once was called, we wanted to start out with Kindle Lytics seven years ago, but my lawyer told me not to get into a brand dispute with a very well-known ebook device.
I’m content supplier.[00:47:55] Joe: I would just to add in this as if you’re a beginning author and you’re evaluating a genre that you want to write in those genres reports is money well spent in your research. It’s going to save you. Hours and hours of time because you’ve done all that work. You’ve got what the covers look like. You’ve got the blurbs in there and you’ve got you create these Bestseller list for that John rhe, like just [00:48:21] Alex: pretending especially where you don’t have bestsellers. We created what we call the virtual best seller list, where, based on many searches over time, we construct our own one.
Once we did, by the way, things like a lit RPG report or Daimler report, there is no Amazon pedigree nor there was any for this billionaire romance thing, because people put it. From contemporary Romans all the way to some obscure literature and fiction jars. So you have to work cross category as well.
This is where those come handy. And yeah, if I were to summarize it in one word, Joe, it’s really, market research at the figurative. So I always say research less, write more because you’re a writer you should be focusing on the writing and not on spending endless time on Amazon. Bestseller lists and then even on making sense after it, because they all fluctuate by the hour and you don’t get the big picture.
Yeah, it’s research done for you on you’re always welcome to check it email@example.com or send me an email. If you have questions, you can always reach firstname.lastname@example.org. Just put attention Alex or podcasts with Joe and it will be routed to me.[00:49:29] Joe: Awesome. Good seeing you again, and we’ll be talking. [00:49:32] Alex: Absolutely, I guess a lot. And bye everybody. Bye.