There are over 6 million Kindle ebooks 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 now?
My last definitive result from Amazon Associates data was some time ago now.
The only way I have found now is to use Amazon Advanced Search. It is located on the far right of the main menu on any Amazon page.
There is no 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.
For every month I tried, I got a result of over 50,000 ebooks. But for the search that I set in the image above, it was in the middle of the month on the 12th day.
Here is the result.
Again, the result was over 50,000 ebooks.
The only conclusion you can draw from this is there are at least 50,000 new ebooks published on Amazon every month. Perhaps, if my search result was correct for a short 12 day period, even more.
But at the minimum of 50,000 per month, that means at least 1,670 new Kindle ebooks are published every day. This 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 higher.
My best guess would be closer, or more than, one million new Kindle books per year.
So take the 6 million I could verify in mid-2018 and add a million 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 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 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 catalogue, it is just not making much headway at all.
On top of that, when one reads that Barnes & Noble have so little faith in ebooks and its Nook that it has sold its 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 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.
All of these statistics have huge ramifications for authors. Who should you use to self-publish and sell your ebooks?
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. So after you get your book published, 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 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?
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 update. #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.
Related reading: Kindle Unlimited Has A Problem – It Can’t Count Words