High Heat Ranks as Top Single of Q3


The Thin Read’s exclusive analysis of 2013’s third quarter e-book singles revealed that 122 titles were released to digital retailers compared to 96 for the second quarter.  That represents a 25% increase in the number of titles published from July 1 to September 30 compared to the prior three-month period. Of those titles, 41 were fiction and 71 were nonfiction.

“High Heat,” Lee Child’s novella about young Jack Reacher, spent the most weeks (eight) as the third quarter’s #1 Kindle Single.  “High Heat” has ranked as the #1 best-seller since it was released the first week of August.  Two other e-book singles from Lee Child – “Deep Down” and “Second Son” – spent the entire third quarter on the Kindle Single fiction best-seller list making Child the most popular author from July through September. 

The fiction best-seller list was almost completely dominated by big-name authors, which creates a challenging environment for new or unknown fiction authors who hope to expand for a rapidly developing new content platform.  Carolyn Nash’s “Seismic Shift” was the only title from a relatively unknown fiction writer to crack the best-seller list.

On the nonfiction best-seller list, Peter Ross Range’s “Murder in the Yoga Store,” which focused on the slaying of a young woman who worked at the Lululemon store in Bethesda, MD, ranked as the #1 story for the quarter.  It spent six weeks in the top nonfiction spot.  Books from relatively unknown authors routinely made the nonfiction list in the quarter such as Konstantin Kakaes’s “The Pioneer Detectives”  and Alison Yarrow’s “The Devil in Williamsburg.”

Not only did big-name authors continue to produce quality e-book singles in the third quarter, but Amazon’s introduction of ‘The Kindle Single Interview’ over the summer featuring Q&A’s with some of the world’s most prominent newsmakers marked a bold new direction for the industry. E-book singles are developing rapidly as an new content form where readers to go for insights, analysis and news about the world around them.

Notable authors who published e-book singles in the quarter include:


--Lee Child, “High Heat”; Young Jack Reacher is in New York City during the blackout of 1977 – and the Summer of Sam.

--Tom Perrotta, “Grade My Teacher”; A dowdy teacher makes an unfortunate remark to an overweight girl in her class.

--Kathy Reichs, “Bones in Her Pocket” (fiction); Featuring forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan. 


--Josh Bearman, “Coronado High”; The movie “Argo” was based on a magazine article he wrote.  His newest piece of long-form nonfiction spotlights a successful ring of marijuana smugglers in the 70s from a San Diego high school.

--David Guterson, “Descent: A Memoir of Madness”; The best-selling novelist chronicles his depression after 9/11. 

--Homer Hickam, “From Rocket Boys to October Sky”; The story about how Hickam’s book “Rocket Boys” became the popular feature film “October Sky.”

--Simon Winchester, “The Man With the Electrified Brain”; A painfully candid memoir by the best-selling author about the battle for his sanity four decades ago.

Trends uncovered by the Thin Reads analysis of third quarter e-book single releases:

--Amazon’s “Kindle Single Interview” made its debut in July featuring interviews with major newsmakers.  Its first three interview subjects: President Barack Obama, Israeli President Shimon Peres and former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.

--Hip eyewear manufacturer Warby Parker became the first advertiser to support an e-book single with its sponsorship of the nonfiction e-book single “Coronado High.” 

--Magazine publishers got serious about e-book singles.  Discover, Fast Company and Philadelphia Magazine all published excellent e-book singles at the end of the summer.

--Below the neck publishing got hot and heavy.  There were several nonfiction e-book singles published during the third quarter that focused on private body parts.  Kat George wrote about her vagina in “Pink Bits.”  Nicci Leigh spotlighted her breast issues in “Money Bags.”  And January Nelson edited “Penis,” a collection of essays about you-know-what. 

--More publishers entered the e-book single market offering long-form journalism and short stories to niche audiences.  These include DAWNS Digest, which focuses on humanitarian journalism; The New New South, which only publishes stories about the South; and Fierce Ink Press, which produces short fiction and nonfiction pieces by Atlantic Canadian authors who write for young adults.

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