Lists and The Future of the Book

A Cheat Sheet for All You New Kindle (And Other Ereader) Owners

By posted at 6:00 am on December 24, 2011 3

coverThe New York Times highlighted the trend last year and it will no doubt be even bigger this year: when it comes to ebooks, what was once a day of rest from shopping is now a booming day for ebook sales. That’s because when all those Kindles (selling a million a week), Nooks (sales up 85%), iPads, and other tablets get unwrapped, the first thing to do is to fire up and download a few books.

Just a few years after ebooks and ereaders first emerged as futuristic curiosity, they are fully mainstream now. Even among the avid, book-worshiping, old-school readers that frequent The Millions, ebooks are very popular. Looking at the statistics that Amazon provides us, just over a quarter of all the books bought by Millions readers at Amazon after clicking on our links this year were Kindle ebooks. One in four books, incredible.

So, for all those readers unwrapping shiny new devices, here are some links to get you going.

For starters, here are the top-ten most popular ebooks purchased by Millions readers in 2011. You’ll notice that these aren’t all that different from the overall Millions favorites. The big change this year is the emergence of the “Kindle Single” format, which offers long-form journalism and short stories at a bite-sized price point. Three of those lead our list. Interestingly, while those Singles are expanding what’s available at lower price points, publishers are pushing the high end of the price range higher, focusing especially on some of the year’s highest profile books, four of which land on our list despite going for (as of this writing) more than the magic $9.99 number.

The Enemy by Christopher Hitchens ($1.99)
The Getaway Car by Ann Patchett ($2.99)
The Bathtub Spy by Tom Rachman ($1.99)
The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman ($9.99)
A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan ($9.99)
1Q84 by Haruki Murakami ($14.99)
The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides ($12.99)
The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson ($12.99)
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins ($4.69)
The Pale King by David Foster Wallace ($14.99)
The Late American Novel edited by yours truly and Jeff Martin ($8.99)

Other potentially useful ebook links:

Editors’ Picks
Best of 2011
Top 100 Paid and Free
Kindle Singles

And in this fractured ebook landscape, you’ve also got your NookBooks, Google ebooks, Apple ibooks, and the new IndieBound ereader app that lets you buy ebooks from your favorite indie bookstore. Finally, don’t forget Project Gutenberg, the original purveyor of free ebooks (mostly out-of-copyright classics) available for years.

Happy Reading!

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3 Responses to “A Cheat Sheet for All You New Kindle (And Other Ereader) Owners”

  1. Dom DeGaetano
    at 4:32 pm on December 27, 2011

    All good stuff.

    I only make one recommendation for new ebook readers: don’t buy Egan’s Goon Squad on an ereader. A later chapter is all graphics (it’s actually my favorite vignette and “saves” my opinion on the book) and it’s a pain to read on my 2nd gen Kindle. Perhaps devices without e-ink displays are different.

  2. Jim
    at 8:50 pm on December 28, 2011

    A note re Dom’s note: Go ahead and read “Goon Squad” on the e-reader if you want. Every reader — of an ereader or a hard copy book — should go online to Egan’s website and read that chapter, a Powerpoint presentation, in actual Powerpoint. The xperience is richer, not the least for inclusing the sounds important to that chapter.

  3. Shelley
    at 12:54 pm on January 2, 2012

    I bought a Kindle last year for an older person with increasing vision problems, and I bought it so she could hear books. But when I press the Aa button and do whatever, the “Text to Speech” thing doesn’t light up, so I couldn’t press it. When you download a book, do you have to do something then so that when the book is on your Kindle, you can hear it?


    Unspeakably Ignorant

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