Update: Read our newer related article revealing that 30,000 new Kindle ebooks were published on the Amazon Kindle Store in only four days.
With the popularity of ebooks, the question of how many ebooks are available on the Amazon Kindle store has been asked many times.
But Amazon keeps this information very close to its chest. So it has been a difficult question to answer definitively.
But some time ago, Claude Nougat found a clever way to find the answer to this question using Amazon Associates.
You can read about in his blog post. There were in fact close to 3.4 million ebooks at that time.
Using the same method at the time, I found that the total had increased by 20,000 only a few days after his post.
I was not surprised at the number. Nor with his calculation that a new Kindle ebook was published every five minutes.
With the growth in tablets, larger smartphones and of course dedicated e-readers, the demand for ebooks is increasing.
As is the motivation for people to write new books in the hope of gaining sales in a new and vibrant market.
So 3.4 million was a lot of ebooks.
What I was more interested in though was how many books in total there were on Amazon?
I found the answer by using the same home screen search technique and was quite astonished at the number I found.
Unfortunately, it is no longer possible to access the data as shown in the screenshots above. Amazon removed this facility from Amazon Associates a few years ago.
But there is a way to get an estimate of the number of new ebooks being published each day, week and month by using Amazon Advanced Search.
You can learn how to find this data in our article about tracking Kindle ebook publishing numbers.
But 48.5 million books!
That surely must be somewhere close to every single book in existence. Perhaps there are titles including many out of print books.
Or give or take a few ancient papyrus scrolls and stone carved tablets.
It also says that no matter what anyone thinks, believes or tries to deny, Amazon has built a book sales and distribution empire. So it can, will and does control the book publishing market.
Some see this as a monopoly, which by many is the definition of a bad thing. Maybe so, but it’s a fact of life now. So, it is the end of the argument.
But it is interesting to remember where and how Amazon started, way back in the nineties. Amazon was built on the back of selling book returns from the then six major publishers.
These were books that had been returned because they were unsold in bookstores. Because they had no commercial value they were destined to be pulped.
It was Jeff Bezos who realised they had some value. Instead of all those hundreds of thousands of books being recycled to make cardboard packaging, he sold them online.
What the big six publishers had always thought of as trash, Bezos and Amazon slowly turned into a huge goldmine.
So in fact, nothing much has changed since those early days of Amazon.
Major publishers still look down on self-published titles as trash, similar to those 90’s returns. But Amazon continues to make money from both and makes the running in the publishing market.
Yes, perhaps Amazon has a monopoly.
But this position of power was handed to Jeff Bezos and Amazon on a silver platter. The traditional publishing industry that was, and in some ways, still is holding onto the belief that their 19th-century business model will work in the 21st century.
With 48.5 million books available on Amazon, it tells me that they may well be wrong.
It hardly matters though. It is clear, that from the biggest traditional publisher, right down to the very latest first-time self-published Kindle e-book author, they all need Amazon to sell their books.
The only remarkable statistic in all this is that there are only 3.4 million ebooks in the Kindle Store. Less than a mere 10% of all the titles Amazon has on its shelves. Clearly, the ebook and self-publishing market is still very young.
With the popularity of Kindle devices, Kindle apps, free Kindle ebooks, Kindle Unlimited, Prime Reading, Kindle Singles, free reading apps and an ever-increasing number of Amazon Prime members, the only way forward is up for Amazon with ebooks.
Even though fewer people buy a Kindle today, phone and tablet reading is increasing for customers with an Amazon account, so the sales of Kindle ebooks is continuing to grow.
Update Notes: As you can tell by reading the article above, it was first published quite some time ago.
But it is still relevant in understanding how Amazon and the Kindle Store have become so omnipresent in the book market from New York Times bestsellers to one-time Indie self-publishers.
The new innovation of combining audio series and Kindle ebooks is likely to be another winning move.
Amazon has created an ebook walled garden. When you buy a Kindle or Fire tablet, your only choice is to buy Amazon ebooks or access Kindle book deals. By refusing to use the industry-standard .epub ebook file format, Amazon can control its market.
Another interesting observation is that Amazon decided to close off access to the data of the total number of ebooks in the Kindle Store.
It is hard to understand the reasoning behind the move unless Amazon is embarrassed about the ever-increasing number. But it is now impossible to use the technique explained above in the article.
However, there is another way to get an estimate.
Click the related reading link below to read our more recent article explaining how to find an estimate of the total number of ebooks in the Kindle Store via Wikipedia. It states that there were 6 million books in early 2018.
Hearsay estimates of a new Kindle book being published every few minutes would seem to be entirely realistic and even on the light side of the ledger.
Between 2014 and 2018, the total grew from 3 million to 6 million. This means that 750,000 Kindle ebooks were published each year between the two dates. This equates to one new ebook entering the Kindle Store every one minute and forty-two seconds.
That is certainly, a lot of ebooks.
To put things in perspective though, it is still a very long way to go for ebooks to equal the number of books Amazon has available for sale.
Related reading: Update – There are now over 6 million ebooks in the Kindle Store, and the number is rising rapidly by the day.
I started my working life as a lithographer and spent over 30 years in the printing and publishing business.
Originally from Australia, I moved to Switzerland 20 years ago. My days are spent teaching English, writing and wrestling with technology while enjoying my glorious view of Lake Geneva and the Alps.
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