The Green Bicycle Mystery Tour

I’m not talking about a group performing gigs up and down the country, but a virtual tour. I am delighted to be appearing on seven book review and true crime sites next week, where you will find reviews, interviews, images and book extracts.

As the poster shows, the tour kicks off at Anne Bonny Book Reviews on Monday 10 July and ends at My and My Books by Yvonne Bastian, another excellent review blog, on Sunday 16 July. In between, there are appearances on several true crime blogs. There is a finale to the tour – on August 25 my article on writing creative non-fiction will appear on the influential writing blog of Joanna Penn, aptly named The Creative Penn.

So I hope you will join me on ‘The Green Bicycle Mystery Tour’, where you will not only find out more about the case and the book, but also discover some great blogging sites in the process. And, of course, these bloggers are not posting on Snapchat, so their posts will be available to read even if you are reading this post months or even years after July 2017.

So, roll up, roll up, for the Green Bicycle Mystery Tour…

Amazon: A True Crime Mystery

Regular readers of this blog will know that I write in the genre of true crime. My book The Green Bicycle Mystery is published by Mirror Books, both in paperback and e-book editions. I have a simple question: which is the best-selling true crime paperback on Amazon right now? And the answer is… not quite so simple. Read on.

In the category ‘Best Sellers in True Crime Biographies’, Amazon list separately the different editions of the same title – the paperback, hardback, kindle and audio book versions will be counted as different books. This is the same for all its best seller lists. So, it is possible the same title might have up to four entries in the Top 100. For example, as I write this post, one title is at #16 for its Kindle edition and also at #74 for the paperback edition. One title, two editions, two entries.

Nothing wrong with that, you say. I would agree if you could sort by edition – say, paperbacks – but you cannot. You only get the hybrid chart. This is unusual: Amazon are among the best companies for giving the user the power to search and sort. There’s no problem with having one chart, you might think, but there is: it skews the Top 100 towards – you guessed it – Kindle versions.

How? First, a Kindle e-book is normally cheaper than the paperback and hardback. Certainly, a publisher is able to discount a digital version far more deeply than a physical copy. Second, the rank in the Kindle Store is also affected by Kindle Unlimited, where a book is able to be downloaded for free, if the customer has paid a monthly subscription. So, Kindle versions are often cheaper and, for some, free.

There is irrefutable support for this observation. As I write this post, seven out of the top ten true crime bestsellers are Kindle editions. For example, the #1 title is published as both a Kindle edition and a paperback version. The Kindle edition is priced at £0.99 and is also available for free on Kindle Unlimited, while the paperback is £6.99. The Kindle version is ranked #88 in the Kindle store as a whole – only 87 Kindle books in any genre are selling more than this e-book. Yet, the paperback version is ranked only 5,905 in books. Titles ranked far lower in the True Crime Top 100 are better selling paperbacks than the #1 book. Indeed, the paperback version of the ‘best selling’ title would struggle to make the Top 200. Is this a fair and accurate reflection of book sales on Amazon? I would say “no”, not unless the user can also sort by the type of book in which they are interested. Of course, having an “all types” list is useful, but the user should be able to filter results depending on the type of book they want.

I am not against publishers discounting Kindle books and giving customers a better deal. My point is this. Amazon should do what it does best – give power to its customers – and allow us to sort by the edition we are interested in. Not only is it better for the customer it will generate fairer best seller lists, allowing customers to compare like with like.

What is the best selling true crime paperback on Amazon?

Now there’s a true crime mystery for you.