20 April 2008

The UK Amazon list - new "stars"

As I've pointed out before A QUIET BELIEF IN ANGELS has been at the top of Amazon UK's Bestsellers in Crime, Thrillers & Mystery for most of this year. It's still there, and well-deserved in my opinion. I also pointed out that recently Alexander McCall Smith had 3 titles in the top 10.

Today I have noticed that the top 10 now contains
  • 2 titles (no.2. and 3 on the list) by Harlan Coben: HOLD TIGHT, and THE WOODS
  • still 2 by Mc Call Smith: THE GOOD HUSBAND OF ZEBRA DRIVE (at no. 4), BLUE SHOES AND HAPPINESS (at no. 9). The first in the series is just off top 10 at no. 11
  • 2 by C. J. Sansom: DISSOLUTION (#1 in the series, at no. 6), and DARK FIRE (#2 in the series at no. 10)
  • others on the list: No. 5 NOTHING TO LOSE by Lee Child, No. 7 FRIEND OF THE DEVIL by Peter Robinson, No. 8 T IS FOR TRESPASS by Sue Grafton.
Can anybody give me a hint at what has caused this recent interest in Sansom's Shardlake series?

The other thing I find interesting on this Amazon list is the prices given.
It seems that there is a lot of discounting of prices, that make those of us in Oz who invariably pay $AU32.95 for a "trade" paperback, and at least $AU19.95 for the smaller paperback, absolutely wince. The Amazon list says you can get a new copy of A QUIET BELIEF IN ANGELS for £3.86 Ouch!!!

Still the weather's lovely here :-)


Marg said...

Kerrie, do you know about The Book Depository? It is a British online bookstore, but they do free postage to lots of countries around the world, including Australia, so you can get books at British prices and no postage - works out much cheaper than buying books here a lot of the time. Their selection isn't always huge though.

Book Depository

Kerrie said...

Yes, I've used them often Marg and done well. They are a terrific resource. I wish someone in Oz would do something like it, particularly the free postage bit

Anonymous said...

Quiet belief in angels is one of the Richard and Judy picks, all the UK bookshops sell these on various offers (2 for 1, 3 for 2 or buy one get one half price). Amazon UK price is reflecting that. Normal price for a paperback that isn't discounted is around £7.99 in the UK, but most "bestsellers" are on varoius offers in the 4 main chain bookstores. Only the indepdendent bookshops don't discount.
A Mc Call S is being heavily promoted in the UK just now: last week you could get Zebra for £2.99 in WH Smith if you bought a copy of the Times newspaper as well. (WHS has this promotion for a different book each week over quite a long period.)
The Sansom books are always very positively reviewed in the mainstream press over here -- maybe that is part of it. They are quite well-promoted by the publisher, too. Maybe one of them got into the supermarket. The current nirvana of the publisher is to get their title into the supermarket -- apparently once it is in Tesco, you've got it made. You can get the new Jodie Picoult in Tesco and Sainsbury for less than half the marked price, for example.
All this pricing is highly dominated by offers and promotions, although you do get the odd "word of mouth" hit (which then slips into the offer/promotion category) eg Kite Runner, Salmon Fishing in Yemen, Tractors in Ukranian. Also some of these get picked up by high-profile book club discussions (eg the Times -- that's how I discovered Sophie Hannah for example).
One side effect of all this heavy discounting is that titles don't seem to stay in print for as long.
(There are lots of "main effects" too, eg it makes it much harder to get your books published if you are an author, (1) at all and (2) if you've sold your first two at respectable levels, therefore you are defined as "mid list" not "bestseller" and it is really hard to get any further publishing deals. POD has got to help this vast (majority) class of authors.

Kerrie said...

Thanks for the explanation Maxine. Not sure what you mean by POD


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