USA Today Adds Kindle Sales to Bestseller List

Starting today, USA Today’s bestseller list will include e-book sales on Amazon’s Kindle. “The move reflects both the growth of e-book sales and Kindle’s role in that market,” said the announcement in USA Today.

What effect might Kindle rankings have on the USA Today bestseller rankings? Publishers Lunch (subscription only) compared the USA Today list (with sales through July 19) against the weekly Kindle Top 10 bestseller list (for the week ending July 18) and found that

“the most discernible impact is on lower-ranked fiction rather than the top of the list. Five of the Kindle Top 10 titles still declined in their position on the USAT list… taking the number 10, 12, 14, 44, and 48 slots…. The three gainers… hold the number 35, 81, 120 slots on the USAT list. Kindle sales for Michael Connelly’s The Scarecrow still weren’t sufficient to put him back on the USAT list at all, where he was last ranked at No. 114 on the list published July 9.

The books that were helped this week by Kindle sales included Kathryn Stockett’s debut novel, The Help, Lisa See’s literary novel The Shanghai Girls and Lisa Gardner’s suspense novel The Neighbor, added Publishers Lunch. It remains to be seen if, over time, romance novels start to appear higher on USA Today‘s list, given that they account for the strongest e-book sales by many industry measures.

While e-books for all devices claimed 4.9% of book sales in May, up from 3.7% in March, according to book audience research firm Codex-Group, there are no hard stats when it comes to the Kindle’s share of the total e-book market.  However, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has remarked that sales of Kindle e-books represent 35% of the total sales of those books available in both print and Kindle formats.

So far, USA Today is the first outside publication with which Amazon has shared its Kindle sales data. There’s no word yet on whether Amazon might provide information to other lists, or how USA Today bestseller list or any other will adapt to Barnes and Noble’s new e-bookstore offering 700,000 titles for platforms including the iPhone, iPod Touch, Blackberry and PCs and Macs.

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