There are 5 million Kindle ebooks. So how many ebooks do the other major retailers have?
Well, it’s all very difficult to know for sure.
The only way to know how many Kindle ebooks there are is to have an Amazon Associates account, while Kobo, Apple iBooks, Barnes & Noble Nook and Google Play don’t openly advertise the total number they have in their ebook catalogues.
Only Smashwords is open enough to state the number of ebooks they have published.
But, when one considers that the bulk of self-published titles that are available on retailers other than Amazon Kindle are aggregated via Smashwords, these two graphics tell, well, an awfully telling story.
Smashwords has established itself as the primary aggregator of ebooks, which are essentially self-published, to a host of book retailers including Apple, B&N and Kobo. But judging from their numbers above, which are way, way less than 10% of Kindle’s catalogue, it is just not making much headway at all.
On top of that, when one reads that Barnes & Noble have such faith in ebooks and their Nook that they have sold their UK Nook operation to a supermarket chain, the signs are not very positive at all. It has all the hallmarks of a very submissive surrender.
Apple fair little better, as after years of battling, they have lost their battle against the DOJ, but in all honesty, Apple lost interest in ebooks not long after the case started.
It was all so positive when the iPad arrived, but since then Apple has, in author’s language, really lost the plot.
As for Kobo, well really, who knows.
All of this though has huge ramifications for authors. Who should you use to self-publish and sell your ebooks?
It’s a no-brainer that Amazon Kindle should top the list, but with 5 million ebooks in the pool, that’s a hell of a swamp of ebooks, so it’s not going to be easy to get potential readers to find your ebooks.
But then again, Amazon has millions of customers hitting the buy button every day.
On the other hand, there is clearly less competition from other retailers such as Apple, B&N and Kobo, but how many customers do they have? Who knows?
In the end, the numbers don’t lie. 5 million vs under 400k. It looks like choosing between a shark-infested swamp and a barren desert.
Update: Since originally writing this post, Amazon has removed the facility on Amazon Associates to see how many Kindle ebooks are currently available. So now, it’s anyone’s guess.