How many Kindle ebooks on Amazon? There are now well over 6 million Kindle books on Amazon. I have been tracking the number of ebooks on Amazon for many years now.
How many ebooks on Amazon is a question many authors ask when trying to understand the ebook market. Some years ago, it was easy to answer the question.
If you had an Amazon Associates account, a search for Kindle ebooks gave a definitive numerical result. But Amazon removed this facility quite some time back.
There was a link in a Wikipedia article that linked to an Amazon API that gave an approximate result. But this is also now blocked and leads only to Amazon’s homepage. Clearly, Amazon wanted to close off access to this data.
How can you get an estimate of the number of Kindle ebooks now?
My last definitive result from Amazon Associates data was some time ago now before Amazon closed off this avenue.
The only way I have found now to estimate the number of new ebooks published is to use Amazon Advanced Search. You can find it on the far right of the main menu on any Amazon page.
Select Kindle Books, and then you can set a few search terms.
There is not much precision at all in the parameters you can select. All you can do is set your search for Kindle Ebooks and select during a month and year.
My first efforts were a bit futile. For every full month I tried, I got a result of “over 50,000” ebooks every time. Obviously, the data is limited by Amazon and will not show a higher number.
But for the search that I set in the image above, it was in the middle of the month on the 12th day of August.
Here is the result.
Again, the result was over 50,000 ebooks. It seems that Amazon stops every monthly count at 50,000.
But I didn’t give up. I waited for a few weeks and got this result on the fourth day of the following month.
The conclusion you can draw from this method is there are at the very least 50,000 new Kindle ebooks published on Amazon every month.
But the number of 30,000 newly published Kindle ebooks in the first four days of a month is telling. In fact, it is an astonishing number. It equates to 7,500 new Kindle books per day!
But even at a minimum of 50,000 per month, that means at least 1,670 new Kindle ebooks are published every day. It equates to nearly 70 ebooks every hour. Or more than one per minute.
In mid-2018, I could check reasonably accurately, and there were over 6 million ebooks in the Kindle store.
Now, without access to definitive data, I can only estimate that every year, 600,000 new ebooks are published, at the very least. But I would be more inclined to think that the number is much, much higher.
My best guess now would be that well over one million new Kindle books are published per year.
So take the 6 million I could verify back in mid-2018 and add a million or more for every year after that.
What about other ebook retailers?
The following information was originally published some time ago but has been updated where possible.
So how many ebooks do the other major retailers have?
Well, it’s all very difficult to know for sure.
Kobo, Apple iBooks, Barnes & Noble Nook, and Google Play don’t openly advertise the total number they have in their ebook catalogs.
Only Smashwords is open enough to state the number of ebooks they have published.
But, when you consider that the bulk of self-published titles available on retailers other than Amazon Kindle are aggregated via Smashwords or Draft2Digital, these numbers tell a story.
Smashwords has established itself as the primary aggregator of ebooks in the publishing industry. Essentially, all ebooks are 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 catalog, it is just not making much headway at all.
On top of that, when one reads that Barnes & Noble has so little faith in ebooks and its Nook that it has sold its U.K. 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 fairs little better in the ebook publishing market. After years of battling, it has lost its 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 language, really lost the plot with regard to book sales.
As for Kobo, well, really, who knows.
What does it all mean?
All of these statistics have huge ramifications for authors. Who should you use to self-publish and sell your ebooks?
It is not only a dilemma for indie authors. Traditional publishing houses also need to compete in this oversupplied market of ebooks as well as print books.
If you are self-publishing, of course, Amazon Kindle should top the list. But with millions of ebooks in the pool, that’s a big swamp of ebooks.
After you publish, it’s not going to be easy to get potential readers to find your ebooks. The only possible way is to make sure that you use the best two Amazon categories and seven search keywords.
But then again, Amazon has millions of customers hitting the buy button every day for ebooks to read on Kindle and reading apps.
On the other hand, there is clearly less competition on 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. Way over 6 million vs. around 500k. It looks like choosing between a shark-infested ocean and a barren desert.
The post above is an update to an earlier article: How Many Amazon Kindle eBooks Are There?
Updates to this article
Update: How many ebooks on Amazon? 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. But the best guess is that a new Kindle book title is published on Amazon every three to five minutes. Many published authors are using KDP Select to make their books available in Kindle Unlimited.
2nd Update: There is a possibility to check the approximate current total number of Kindle ebooks by using Wikipedia. It states on the Kindle Store page entry that:
“At the launch of the Kindle in November 2007, the store had more than 88,000 digital titles available. This number increased to more than 275,000 by late 2008 and exceeded 765,000 by August 2011. In July 2014, there were over 2.7 million titles available at the U.S. store, and as of March 2018, there are over six million titles available in the U.S.”
On the Wikipedia page, check citation #4 for any new updates. #4 Kindle Store: Kindle eBooks. Retrieved March 30, 2018.
3rd Update: Amazon has removed access to all data, including the Wikipedia link above. There is now no definitive way to know how many ebooks are in the Kindle store. The best guess now is that around one million new Kindle ebooks are published every year.
There Are Millions Of Ebooks Published. So What?
Ebook publishing will continue to grow.
But thinking that there are too many ebooks is like believing there are too many songs.
Self-publishing completely changed the book publishing industry. In fact, it turned it on its head. What was true only ten years ago will never be true again.
With well over a million new ebooks being published every year, it is easy for self-publishing authors to feel that the numbers are against them and that any new book they publish will be lost in the swamp.
Many ebooks fade away
However, of all the ebooks that are self-published each year, a high proportion is by first-time authors who often lose motivation and interest after discovering that ‘overnight bestselling successes’ are extremely rare.
First-time authors also tend to make the three classic self-publishing mistakes;
1. A poor, unedited, or badly proofread text, which is full of errors and typos.
2. A homemade cover that screams amateur and fails to attract interest.
3. No plan for book promotion and marketing apart from opening a Twitter account and joining Goodreads.
A high proportion of first-time authors become one-time authors because they lack the drive, determination, and persistence that has always been necessary for any author to achieve some modicum of success.
Success is always the product of hard work
It is only a small proportion of new self-publishing authors who understand how much effort it takes to succeed and that it rarely arrives by publishing only one or two books.
For these authors, they also see a lot of opportunities.
They understand that yes, there are a lot of ebooks. But there are also a lot more ebook readers than there were five years ago.
Ebooks are no longer locked into proprietary ebook devices. More and more readers are buying ebooks and reading on smartphones and tablets.
Ereader device sales are plummeting, but tablet and smartphone ebook reading is growing fast and will drive ebook sales in the future.
New authors who find success also understand their genre, their niche market, and their potential readers.
They write to sell and have marketing plans, promotional plans, and more than likely, a budget to spend on launching new titles as well as on promoting their backlist.
In other words, they work at building a small or even big business upon their author brand.
Today’s successful authors do not view the millions upon millions of ebooks on Amazon, B&N, iBooks, and Kobo as a handicap, but as an opportunity.
That there are millions of ebooks is proof that the ebook market is vibrant and here to stay and will obey normal market behavior.
The dross will fall away quickly, allowing the cream to rise.
There have always been too many books published each year, and pulping books that do not sell well is still how the traditional publishing industry sorts its winners from its losers.
Astute self-publishers understand that they will face the same odds and decisions.
But with ebooks, they have one tremendous advantage.
Ebooks don’t need to be pulped and lost forever. They can be withdrawn from sale, improved, re-written, re-targeted, recycled, and republished.
Amateur hour is over
Self-publishing will continue to be a wonderful opportunity for new authors.
One that was not available just a few short years ago when book publishing was strictly under the ‘lock and key’ control of only a handful of publishers.
Unlike years past, new authors are now judged by the reader, who is the ultimate decision-maker.
Of course, many authors will fail the test, but some will win.
The winners are highly likely to be not only great writers but also writers who keenly understand that their books are products and that only quality products sell well in competitive markets.
Not only will they publish great stories, but they will edit and proofread meticulously to make sure the manuscript is squeaky clean of errors. They will use professionally designed book covers to appeal directly to their target readers.
They will have a plan and a budget for every new title and a means of assessing their return on investment.
Yes, being a successful author today means having a very keen business instinct and an understanding that there are not too many ebooks at all.
The truth is, in fact, that there are too few fantastic ebooks for sale and that this market is still very much a business opportunity for those who can see it.