The latest DBW Ebook Best-Seller Power Rankings, “a list of publishers whose ebooks have appeared on the weekly DBW Ebook Best-Seller list” from Digital Book World, show that the entire Hachette/Amazon spat appears to be making little difference to Big Publishing’s success in the ebook arena. Nor, alas, is all the hype over self-publishing and digital disruption of the traditional publishing hierarchy. Because Big Five publishers, including Hachette, hog the top three slots in the Power Rankings, with nary an Amazon-led-chokeoff-of-book-availability to be seen.
As DBW observes, “the two largest trade publishers in the world controlled nearly two-thirds of all ebook best-sellers in the first half of 2014,” with Penguin Random House and HarperCollins appearing “a combined 406 times out of a total of 650 possible, about 65 percent.” Penguin Random House came first, with 250 best-sellers, followed by HarperCollins with 156 – and Hachette third, with 78. Self-publishing, in comparison, contributed a lowly 25 titles. As I’ve said before, every traditional industry should get disrupted this good.
DBW concedes that “in the second half of the year, we will witness a drop-off in self-published best-sellers due to the effects of Kindle Unlimited and the methodology of the DBW Ebook Best-Seller List. That said, it cannot be understated what an amazing accomplishment it is for even one self-published title to make the best-seller list.” Well, perhaps so, although one does wonder what bias in favor of incumbents may creep into DBW‘s rankings. But all the same, these are figures that Hachette and its claque might want to keep out of the public eye next time anyone tries to argue that ebooks are ruining the fortunes and undermining the merits of traditional publishers.