Who is the Best-Selling Kindle Author of All Time?

Suzanne Collins

Friday Amazon made a special announcement, to reveal the best-selling Kindle author of all time. It’s Suzanne Collins, the author of the Hunger Games trilogy (and the Underland Chronicles, a fantasy series for children). But she’s achieved some even more amazing milestones in Amazon’s Kindle Store, as Amazon shared more statistics about the author’s massive audience. And it’s all happened extremely fast, since Collins first published The Hunger Games just three and a half years ago!

Her books have been consistently popular ever since. The first two books in the Hunger Games series sold 1.5 million print copies in their first 14 months in print, and The Hunger Games even stayed on the best-seller list of the New York Times for more than 60 weeks in a row! All three books have spent more than a year and a half on Amazon’s list of the top 100 best-selling Kindle ebooks, and Collins also had the #1 and #2 best-selling ebooks this Christmas — The Hunger Games and Catching Fire. And in November, when Amazon first announced their “Kindle Owners Lending Library”, Collins achieved another milestone. Members of Amazon’s Prime shipping program could borrow one ebook each month for free — and three of the top four ebooks came from the Hunger Games trilogy!

In fact, by June of last year, Collins had become one of just seven authors to sell over one million copies of her ebooks on the Kindle — joining other popular authors like Lee Child and Michael Connelly. “What a lovely and unexpected honor to be in such wonderful company,” Collins said in a statement, “and see my books reaching readers in this exciting new format.”

Three authors sell one million Kindle e-books - Michael Connelly, Lee Child and Suzanne Collins

Four authors had beaten her to the one-million-ebooks milestone — Stieg Larsson, James Patterson, Nora Roberts, and Charlaine Harris. But within 9 months, she’d overtaken them all, and become the best-selling Kindle ebook author of all time!

But there were even more triumphs waiting for Collins. Last July, I’d discovered Amazon’s list of the 100 most-highlighted passages of all time from Kindle ebooks. At the time, the #1 most-highlighted passage was from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice — but the second and third most-highlighted passages were by Suzanne Collins (who also had a third quote in the top ten).

“It takes ten times as long to put yourself back together as it does to fall apart.”

     – from Mockingjay
            Highlighted by 4,390 Kindle users in July
            Highlighted by 8,482 Kindle users Today

“Because sometimes things happen to people and they’re not equipped to deal with them.”

     – from Catching Fire
            Highlighted by 4,001 Kindle users in July
            Highlighted by 13,983 Kindle users Today

“We’re fickle, stupid beings with poor memories and a great gift for self-destruction.”

     – from Mockingjay
            Highlighted by 3,206 Kindle users in July
            Highlighted by 6,408 Kindle users today

But just eight month’s later, Jane Austen’s quote from Pride and Prejudice has dropped into the #3 position behind the two Collins quotes. And amazingly, now four more quotes from the Hunger Games trilogy have crashed into the top 10 on Amazon’s list of the most-highlighted passages.

“‘I wish I could freeze this moment, right here, right now, and live in it forever,’ he says.”

     – from Catching Fire
        (Highlighted by 6,418 Kindle users)

“‘I just want to spend every possible minute of the rest of my life with you,’ Peeta replies.”

     – from Catching Fire
            Highlighted by 6,410 Kindle users

“‘Having an eye for beauty isn’t the same thing as a weakness,’ Peeta points out. ‘Except possibly when it comes to you.'”

     – from Catching Fire
        (Highlighted by 6,097 Kindle users)

“Life in District 12 isn’t really so different from life in the arena. At some point, you have to stop running and turn around and face whoever wants you dead.”

     – from Catching Fire
            Highlighted by 6,000 Kindle users

In fact, 29 of the top 100 most-highlighted passages in Kindle ebooks now all come from Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games trilogy. (Back in July, Collins’s books had just 13 of the top 100 most-highlighted passages on Amazon’s list.) And there’s an even more stunning statistic if you visit Amazon’s list of the most-recently highlighted passages. On that list, Suzanne Collins has written every single one of the 10 most-highlighted passages — and 17 of the 20 most-highlighted!

The three non-Collins books include The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, and the text of Apple’s “Think Different” ad campaign from Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs. (“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers…”)

Ironically, the #18 most-highlighted passage came from Amazon’s Kindle User’s Guide — its instructions on how to highlight a passage! (“Press and hold, then drag your finger across text to select it…”)

This represents another triumph for Collins, since last year The Hunger Games was also one of the 10 most-frequently challenged books, according to the American Library Association. I always say that the ready availability of those titles in a digital format suggests that the Kindle might someday play a role in fighting the censorship of books.

For even more information, Amazon also calculated the 20 cities in America which purchased the most copies of Collins’ Hunger Games trilogy. I plotted the cities on a map of the United States, to look for a recognizable pattern.

Where Suzanne Collins books are most popular

Sunnyvale, California
Salt Lake City, Utah
Tallahassee, Florida
Seattle, Washington
Orlando, Florida
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
St. Louis, Missouri
Provo, Utah
San Francisco, California
Naperville, Illinois
Washington, D.C.
Richmond, Virginia
Scottsdale, Arizona
Wilmington, North Carolina
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Vancouver, Washington
Portland, Oregon
Tampa, Florida
Overland Park, Kansas
Norman, Oklahome

The first thing you notice is that Amazon’s list includes three different cities in Florida. I’ve heard there’s a lot of retirees in Florida — so maybe they’re reading a lot. (Maybe Amazon was even reaching out to specifically them with those ads about reading on a Kindle at the beach!) And there’s two different cities that are very near Silicon Valley — including the #1 city, Sunnyvale, California. Maybe those towns are full of affluent geeks and other early adopters of technology — or at least, lots of fans of good science fiction books!

“There’s no denying that The Hunger Games has become a worldwide phenomenon,” announced Amazon’s editor for young adult book. She added, “we love that it all started with a great book…and you can see from our Top 20 list they’re captivating readers across the whole country.”

One of the most interesting facts about Suzanne Collins is she used to be a writer for Nickelodeon, the cable TV channel for children. (According to Wikipedia, she worked on “Clarissa Explains it All,” and was the head writer for “Clifford’s Puppy Days.”) Now she’s penned a best-selling trilogy that’s also about child performers — except in this trilogy, they fight to the death!

Maybe after writing all those sweet stories for Nickelodeon, she was ready for something darker!

3 thoughts to “Who is the Best-Selling Kindle Author of All Time?”

  1. Thanks for the info but 1) run a spell check in the future and 2) Don’t use exclamation points to end EVERY sentence. It’s kind of ridiculous.

  2. Thank you for the article. I am a huge fan of The Hunger Games, and I love Ewing just how many people appreciate the series as well.

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