Just as our sales via Smashwords (primarily via B&N) have increased by 500% and even our paperback sales are up slightly, the Kindle side of the business has crashed - virtually disappeared.
What is going on?
One thing I have learnt over the last 18 months is that when big things happen on Kindle, Amazon / Kindle are always behind them. When you sell 11,000 copies in a day (as we did with 'Get Some' and 'Spoilt') that was the power of a Kindle promo. When sales disappear, it is because Amazon are doing something.
I have heard rumours for several months that indie publishers are seeing sales disappear from Kindle. At the time ours were up rather than down, but as they say "performance fluctuates".
It cerainly beats me what is happening. I know that Kindle are launching a raft of new readers, that Amazon are now distributing through B&N, that the major publishers are involved in desperation price slashing, that Amazon's reporting is up the spout (they have got 50%+ of our royalties wrong by their own admission so far this year), and that Amazon has had some catastrophes with its EC2 cloud offering.
Does that all add up?
However, there are odder things yet. In July, Jo Ellis 'Spoilt' racked up sales of 400 copies over 2-3 days and was ranked #26,000. This morning I looked at the ranking of Tom Winton's 'Beyond Nostalgia' and it was #900,000+, which is interesting as it has sold 10 copies a day this month. I happened to look up the performance of Tom Winton's 'The Last American Martyr' which did very well from a promo a few days ago, and twice it had disappeared from Kindle completely - the paperback was there but not the Kindle e-book.
It's tempting to see something sinister in this - that Amazon are trying to beat up indie publishers as they become major publishers themselves - but I am more of a fan of the cock-up theory of history than of conspiracy theories, although I suspect both play a major part in our existence.
At times like these I am glad that Night Publishing's absolute fixed monthly costs are $22.95 (for the Night Reading site) and that we can still publish at full steam wiith an income of $100 per week.
In the meantime, the price of all our books on Kindle will rise to $2.99 and let's see what happens next. You have to be seen to be doing something, don't you?