Unbridled Books’ “25 for 25” e-book sale, in which 25 titles were offered for a 25 cents each, has been deemed an “unparalleled success,” according to the American Booksellers Association. “While we recognize that selling books for a quarter is not only unsustainable, but is fraught with other issues,” the ABA’s COO, Len Vlahos, said, “This experiment did demonstrate that consumers are interested in buying e-books from independent bookstores.” Vlahos reported that 145 independent bookstores across the country sold a total of 15,807 Unbridled e-books through the ABA’s platform during the three-day sale last weekend. The bestselling title was The Singer’s Gun by Emily St. John Mandel, which recently won an Indie Booksellers Choice Award. Both the ABA and Unbridled, however, declined to provide a breakdown of sales per title.
Politics & Prose in Washington, D.C. sold 919 Unbridled e-books to 95 customers during the sale. Communications manager Andrew Getman noted that not only did customers buy Unbridled e-books during the sale, they bought other e-books that were not discounted, and that most of these customers were new registrants to P&P’s web site as well. The store sold 64 copies of The Singer’s Gun and 56 copies of The Pirate’s Daughter by Margaret Cezair-Thompson during the sale.
The number of Unbridled e-books sold during the three-day sale is even higher than the total provided PW by the ABA, as some independents sold the titles through their own sites and aren’t included in the ABA’s sales figures, like Powell’s Books in Portland, Oregon. While Powell’s declined to provide PW with a total of the number of Unbridled e-books sold during the sale, director of strategic projects for the site Darin Sennett said they’d sold a “tremendous amount of e-books,” while marketing manager Michael Dannen added that more than half of their customers took advantage of an option to buy all 25 titles at once.