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Many of you probably also follow Digital Book World’s Best Seller List and their round-up of the average price points of best selling books. I appreciate their coverage and analysis of the rise and fall of e-book pricing.

Which is why I was surprised to read their story this morning and see an important data point not covered.

They discuss Stephen King’s new book, Doctor Sleep, and its rise to the top of the list, probably in part because of the unexpected price drop on the book. I know I bought it because of the drop. I wanted to read it, but not at $10.99, so I added it to my eReader IQ list and forgot about it. Until a couple of days later when I received a price drop email. I wonder how many other purchasers did the same thing. By the way, for those of you who didn’t take advantage of the price drop, too bad. I just checked. It’s back up to $10.99. I’ll be watching next week to see where it falls on the list.

But Doctor Sleep‘s position wasn’t the one that caught my eye. Scan down the list and check out #22, one of only five New books on the list. Well, #22 isn’t exactly a “new” book. It’s The Shining, a very old book. A quick Google search tells me it was published in 1977. How many 30+ year old books suddenly make it back onto a best seller list? Not many. So I think the bigger story here is that a new book, Doctor Sleep, can have a huge effect on an older back list title. (For those of you who aren’t King fans, Doctor Sleep is a sort of sequel to The Shining.)

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By the way, The Shining is published by Penguin Random House, while Doctor Sleep is published by Simon & Schuster, so I’m guessing someone at Penguin Random was paying attention and decided to drop the price to $3.99, which made it the perfect price for those of us (like me) who once owned it in paper and wouldn’t mind owning it again in e-book form. Yes, I just went and bought it.

Not a bad bit of marketing to offer two related books for roughly the same price as one other bestseller. Obviously, it worked.

Indie authors pay attention to the value of having a good back list of titles. You might not make the best seller list but a sequel to a popular earlier title can affect sales of both books.


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