The number 2012

As December finally approaches the end of 2012, Amazon’s honoring their annual tradition of revealing which books were their best-sellers for the entire year. And this year is especially interesting, because some of Amazon’s best-sellers are books that people wouldn’t necessarily admit they were reading — like the trashy erotica novel “Fifty Shades of Grade.” It’s a fun way to see what books Amazon’s customers are really reading. But it also provides clues about whether they’re reading them in print format, or on their Kindle!

To see Amazon’s list of their
top 100 best-selling Kindle ebooks of 2012,
point your browser to
tinyurl.com/Top2012eBooks

Amazon’s best-selling book for 2012 — in both formats — wasn’t 50 Shades of Gray — it was the third book in that trilogy (called Fifty Shades Freed). In fact, a box set of the whole trilogy also became the #2 best-selling print book of the year at Amazon. That boxed set also turned out to be the #4 best-selling Kindle ebook of the year, which allowed it to also claim the #3 spot on Amazon’s “overall” list which combines sales in both print and ebook format. (To celebrate, Amazon’s currently discounting the print edition of both of those books by more than 40%.)

But this led me to noticing something strange about Amazon’s list of the best-selling Kindle ebooks of 2012. It’s nearly identical to Amazon’s “combined” list that calculates which books sold the most total copies, counting sales in both their print and ebook formats. The Kindle ebooks are in a slightly different order on their list of the top 10 best-sellers for 2012, but there’s not one single ebook on that list which didn’t also become one of Amazon’s ten best-selling books on the “combined sales” list when you also added in their print sales.

Amazon’s 2012 Best-Selling Kindle Ebooks

1. Fifty Shades Freed: Book Three of the Fifty Shades Trilogy by E. L. James

2. Gone Girl: A Novel by Gillian Flynn

3. Bared to You: A Crossfire Novel by Sylvia Day

4. Fifty Shades Grey: Book One of the Fifty Shades Trilogy by E. L. James

5. The Marriage Bargain (Marriage to a Billionaire) by Jennifer Probst

6. Reflected in You: A Crossfire Novel by Sylvia Day

7. The Racketeer by John Grisham

8. Defending Jacob: A Novel by William Landay

9. The Innocent by David Baldacci

10. No Easy Day: The Firsthand Account of the Mission That Killed Osama Bin Laden by Mark Owen


Amazon’s 2012 Best-Sellers (Kindle and Print Books Combined)

1. Fifty Shades Freed: Book Three of the Fifty Shades Trilogy by E. L. James

2. Gone Girl: A Novel by Gillian Flynn

3. Fifty Shades Trilogy: Fifty Shades of Grey, Fifty Shades Darker, Fifty Shades Freed 3-volume Boxed Set by E. L. James

4. Bared to You: A Crossfire Novel by Sylvia Day

5. No Easy Day: The Firsthand Account of the Mission That Killed Osama Bin Laden by Mark Owen

6. The Marriage Bargain (Marriage to a Billionaire) by Jennifer Probst

7. Reflected in You: A Crossfire Novel by Sylvia Day

8. The Racketeer by John Grisham

9. Defending Jacob: A Novel by William Landay

10. The Innocent by David Baldacci


The moral of this story is unmistakeable. If you wanted to be one of Amazon’s 10 best-selling authors in 2012, you had to become one of their best-selling authors for people reading ebooks on their Kindle!

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