Amazon is touting another big sale on ebooks, with 100 priced for $3.99 or less. They’ll be on sale for the entire month of September, and Amazon promises it’s “a diverse offering of deals,” each one personally selected by Amazon’s book editors. But it looks like Amazon’s “$3.99 or less” sales will be continuing past the end of September. Amazon’s describing it as “the newest section of our store” in a promotional e-mail, promising the hand-selected will be updated “each month!”
The bargain ebooks are spread across four pages at Amazon.com. (Just point your web browser to tinyurl.com/399books.) But they’re not the only ebooks that Amazon has on sale. Amazon is also continuing its “Kindle Daily Deals” page, touting special offers on ebooks that last for exactly 24 hours.
Tuesday’s special offer is “Bonhoeffer”, available for the whole day for just $1.99! The page is now in its second week, and Amazon’s already sold some great ebooks at a big discount. In fact, nearly every one of them has crashed into Amazon’s list of the top 100 best-selling ebooks. (I’ll put their current rank in parentheses).
The Five Dysfunctions of a Team (#5)
Seth Godin’s â€œPoke the Boxâ€ (#13)
William Styron’s “Darkness Visible”
Hidden in Plain View – a Darryl Billups mystery (#17)
The Lincoln Lawyer (#20)
Elizabeth Street (#86)
Water for Elephants (#28)
The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane
I have a theory about the marketing campaign behind both of these sales. I think Amazon’s trying to help established authors by making easier for them to climb up Amazon’s best-seller lists. There’s so many ebooks that are already available at a low price on the Kindle, and I’ve seen a few first-time authors crashing past the expensive new releases with their own low-priced, self-published ebooks. Although maybe Amazon’s just trying to fight the perception that the price of ebooks is too high. (It’s a common complaint in Kindle discussion forums — and at least now Amazon can always point to over 100 interesting ebooks which are on sale for less than $3.99.)
So what ebooks were hand-selected for Amazon’s special month-long September sale? Here’s a few titles that I thought look particularly interesting…
The Black Ice – ($1.99) – Michael Connelly is one of just 10 authors who’s sold more than 1 million ebooks in Amazon’s Kindle store. (One of Connelly’s books — The Lincoln Lawyer — has already reached the top 20 in Amazon’s Kindle Store after it was featured as a Kindle Daily Deal.) But “The Black Ice,” published in 1993, was the author’s second book, and the second installment in his popular Harry Bosch mysteries. (Then-President Bill Clinton was reportedly a fan!) In this story, detective Bosch investigates the suspicious suicide of a narcotics officer in a seedy motel room in Hollywood.
Because of Winn-Dixie ($1.99) – Kate DiCamillo’s award-winning story about a scruffy dog who touches the lives of a family in Florida. (“[A]bsolutely loved it,” posted one grade school librarian on the book’s page at Amazon.com)
The Words of Martin Luther King, Jr. ($1.99) – This book was published just last summer by Coretta Scott King (who wrote a special forward for the collection remembering how she’d first met her husband). There’s about 120 quotes in the book, focusing on inspirational topics like nonviolence, faith and religion, justice and freedom, and racism. And it even includes an excerpt from one of King’s most famous writing, the “I Have a Dream” speech delivered on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.
Hot Water Music ($2.99) – a fascinating collection of short stories by Charles Bukowski available for just $2.99. (“This collection deals largely with: drinking, women, gambling, and writing,” explains
the book’s product description.)
North Dallas Forty ($2.99) – the classic sports book that, according to the book’s description at Amazon.com, is “widely considered the best football novel of all time.” (It promises “the seedy underbelly of the pro game, chronicling eight days in the life of Phil Elliott, an aging receiver for the Texas team. Running on a mixture of painkillers and cortisone as he tries to keep his fading legs strong, Elliott tries to get every ounce of pleasure out of his last days of glory…”)
There’s even a few fun books for children — like “Dinosaurs Before Dark,” the first book in the “Magic Treehouse” series. (It really does look like there’s something for everybody.) Whatever Amazon’s motivation may be, this is ultimately going to be a big win for readers. There’s finally been a real commitment to regularly offer ebooks at a much friendlier price.