Amazon Categories of the German Kindle Store in 2015 – What Do Germans Like to Read?

Amazon is one of the major retailers for ebooks in Germany, as it is in the US and UK. If you want to sell the German edition of your book, putting it up on is probably a good idea (more on the different ebook stores and distributors in Germany in a later post).

The sorting system of the German Amazon Kindle store is different from the or stores. All the major genres are listed, but there are much fewer subcategories available to choose from. For instance: Instead of the “hundreds” of different Romance subgenres on, in the German store there’s simply Romance, and that’s it. This is kind of unfortunate for indie authors who would like to carefully choose their categories to gain visibility in a specific niche. (You can still, however, pick the right keywords, so that’s a consolation.)

What’s more, it can happen that your book shows up in a different category than you intended because the categories you select in KDP do not necessarily correspond to any category in the German Amazon Kindle store (check out a recent study on the Selfpublisherbibel for more information). In the worst case, your book might not show up in any category, which obviously harms discoverability. The easiest way to remedy this is by contacting the customer support and asking for your book to be moved to the intended category.

Because of the prevalence of Amazon, I took a closer look at the Kindle store. Below, you can find a table with data I pulled from on Feb 4th 2015.

I looked at the major fiction categories to see which genres are doing particularly well, and how big the competition is. The genres Horror and Mystery & Thrillers currently have no subcategories on, while Teen & YA and Children’s books have plenty, but I didn’t include them all in my analysis.


Bestselling Genres:

So, what do the numbers tell you? The sales rank of the book currently listed as the #20 or #100 in a category (the corresponding sales numbers were calculated by the tool Kindle Spy) tells you what the bestselling genres are. For example, Contemporary Fiction and Romance (subcategories of Literature & Fiction) feature books with the lowest sales ranks and highest sales numbers, so they are the bestselling categories in the German Amazon store.

Having your book listed among the Top100 of a category enhances its visibility. The lower the sales rank, the harder it is for you to get into the Top100, because your book needs to compete with all these bestsellers. Many people probably won’t even scroll down to the last page of the Top100, and will only look at the Top20, which is why I included these numbers as well.

Indie author percentage in Beststeller lists:

In the last column, I looked at the publisher listed for the Top20 books, just out of curiosity, to see what the “indie penetration” is in each genre. Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy, and Teen & YA contained – at the time of my analysis – the highest percentage of indie-published books (>50%). In Humor, Romance and Drama, indies occupied about 50% of the spots in the Top20. Finally, I included the percentage of books published by an Amazon imprint (which was mostly Amazon Publishing or AmazonCrossing, the imprint for translations), and found particularly many books in Contemporary Fiction that had been translated from English by AmazonCrossing.

The table above provides a snapshot of the market, so it is by no means statistically significant. But I found it interesting to see which genres get categories to themselves. For example, within the category of Fantasy & Science Fiction, you find a special subcategory for Vampire novels. I have no idea why vampires get their separate niche, when all the other subgenres of Fantasy and SciFi are just completely missing. And instead of listing Historical Mystery in the category of Mystery & Thrillers it appears under major Literature & Fiction, which, again, is a mystery to me. But Historical Mystery in general seems to be a pretty good genre as you can enter the Top20 with a relatively high sales rank and still potentially sell well.

Erotica stories do not get an sales rank at all. They are listed in a category with erotic fiction and nonfiction, including erotic calendars and comics. But one can easily sort erotic stories into other subgenres (fantasy, vampire, romance, you name it), thus making sure they show up.

If you would like to do more market research on the ebook store, you can take a look at the Top 1000 list, which is refreshed every day.

Here’s a list of all categories and some of the subcategories in the Kindle ebook store:

  • Literature & Fiction
    • Drama
    • Contemporary Fiction
    • Historical Mystery
    • Historical Fiction
    • Humor
    • Classics
    • Short Stories & Anthologies
    • Romance
    • Poetry
    • Mythology & Folk Tales
    • Fictionalized Biographies
  • Biographies & Memoirs
  • Business & Career
  • Stock Market & Money
  • Comics & Manga
  • Computer & Internet
  • Erotic (Fiction & Nonfiction)
  • Esoteric
  • Professional & Technical
  • Fantasy & Science Fiction
    • Fantasy
    • Science Fiction
    • Vampire Novels
  • Film, Arts & Culture
  • Hobbies, Home & Garden
  • Gift Books
  • Horror
  • Teen & Young Adult
  • Children’s Books
  • Cookbooks
  • Mystery & Thrillers
  • Education & Reference
  • Musical Scores
  • Science & Technology
  • Politics & History
  • Advice & Counselling
  • Travels & Adventure
  • Religion & Spirituality
  • Sports & Fitness
  • Foreign Language books

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