Hugh Howey crashed the web.

Not the whole web – just the new site Author Earnings.

Author Earnings is a site by authors dedicated to getting as much information about publishing into the public. Places like Amazon and Barnes & Noble aren’t forthcoming with data when it comes to publishing, so this is the attempt the change that.

The first “report” was posted on Tuesday with plenty of data crunched on how Amazon best sellers stack up against each other.

There is a lot of information there – and data nerds are going to have a great time. I recommend everyone to check out the first report.

Howey’s post caught my attention right away. The first two graphs compared the average review of the top 7,000 genre e-book bestsellers on Amazon compared to the price of those same books.

Indie books had the highest average rating of the five categories (Indie published, small or medium publisher, Amazon published, Big-Five published, uncategorized single author). Conversely, the Big-Five published books had the lowest average rating of the five categories – although the difference is fractional.

The chart showing the average price of books was easily in favor of the Big Five, hovering just over $7 a book. Indies averaged a little more than $3 a book.

Howey asks the question: Is it possible that price impacts a book’s rating?

Short answer: Yes.

At least in my experience, I have found that if I am paying $8, $10 or $15 a book, I expect more and because of that I will rate a book more harshly. My expectation level is so much higher for a Big-Five published book.

On the other hand, when I read a good self-published book that may have gotten three stars (out of five) if it was a Big Five, I may bump it up to four stars. It takes a lot to get me to rate a book five stars.

I also wonder why I would spend more money on books when I can find indie books for less than half the price of a Big Five e-book.

This seems like a fascinating study to follow in the coming months and years. Will more people lean toward indie and small publishers because ebooks are cheaper and many of the books are of high quality?

It will come down to personal preference because there are still plenty of readers who avoid indie books.

Like I said earlier, take a look at the report. I intend to comb over it a bit more.


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