Some numbers on downloads, ratings and reviews

Zombie Nights is just about to hit 50,000 downloads on Smashwords (3 years in), where it is now the #7 most downloaded ebook from that website, trailing two Smashwords’ user guides, one Islamic baby name book and 3 erotica titles. There have been very few other titles breaking into that top 10 free list over the past two years, which makes me think that fewer and fewer people are following the ‘free’ route towards readership these days, preferring instead to test the cold hard sales waters. That’s all well and good. It’s a thriving new market, or perhaps one that is not all that new at all. A very interesting article on the business of literature provides a lot of history and perspective on bookselling and is well worth reading. Our current era may be more like an earlier time than we realize.

I often come across comments in self-publishing blog posts that numbers are interesting to indie authors, so I thought I might offer some here regarding Zombie NIghts during its 50,000-Smashwords-download-jubilee-day celebration. (Overall downloads for Zombie Nights, including Apple, Amazon and Barnes & Noble, Feedbooks, Obooko, Google Books, Sony, Kobo and Smashwords, are somewhere around 150,000).

On its overall rating is 3.73 based on 33 reviews – note a mere 33 reviews, only 1 every 1515 downloads.

On Amazon a scant 10 reviews nets it a 2,5 rating, while on Goodreads there have been 107 ratings, including 29 text reviews, for an average of 2.76

As usual, Apple readers are more  generous. 155 ratings on iTunes give it a 3.5 rating, while on Barnes and Noble, 101 ratings give it 3.0 stars. On Sony there’s been only 1 review (5 stars), and on Kobo 3 ratings give it 3 stars overall. On Google Books, 8 reviews give it an average of 4 stars.

I’ve noticed this pattern is typical of most of my books: Smashwords and Apple readers are often a full star more generous than Goodreads and Amazon reviewers. Theories have been offered, but it’s only guesswork. The main thing is, reviews remain sparse as a percentage of downloads. I have not gone out of my way to ask for reviews of this book or done any sort of marketing or advertising for it, other than having it show up on, a site I always recommend to free-ebook-offerers.



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