A Visit from the Goon Squad

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

The 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!

A Special Note for All You New Kindle (And Other Ereader) Owners

The New York Times has been highlighting a new trend. With all the Kindles, Nooks, iPads, and whatnot being unwrapped on Christmas day, (to home in on just one of those devices, they say Amazon may have sold over 8 million Kindles this year), what was once a day of rest from shopping is likely to be a booming day for ebook sales. Some in the publishing industry are even beginning to see the ebook emergence as a ray of light in a stagnant industry.

It’s pretty clear by now that ebooks and ereaders are a fully mainstream technology. Even among the avid, book-worshiping, life-long readers that frequent The Millions, ebooks are surprisingly popular. in fact, looking at the statastics that Amazon provides us, about 15% of all the books bought by Millions readers at Amazon after clicking on our links were Kindle ebooks. Put another way, that’s about one out of every seven books.

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 2010. You’ll notice that these aren’t all that different from the overall Millions favorites — to the extent that they are different from other books popular with our readers, these books tend to skew towards the page-turner (Tolstoy notwithstanding) and the cheaper (all but one are, as of this writing, at or below the $9.99 magic ebook price point).

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson ($5.20)
Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell ($7.66)
A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan ($9.34)
The Death of Ivan Ilych and Other Stories by Leo Tolstoy, translated by Pevear and Volokhonsky ($4.46)
Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart ($9.10)
Faithful Place by Tana French ($12.99)
The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen ($9.99)
The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson ($7.57)
The Passage by Justin Cronin ($9.45)
Tinkers by Paul Harding ($5.68)

Other potentially useful ebook links:

Editors’ Picks
Best of 2010
Top 100 Paid and Free

And in this fractured ebook landscape, you’ve also got your NookBooks, Borders ebooks, Google ebooks, and Apple ibooks. All of these purveyors happen to do a brisk “business” in “selling” free, out-of-copyright ebooks, but readers may prefer Project Gutenberg, an unaffiliated site that’s been making free ebooks available for years.

Happy Reading!

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