Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Amazon to Drop Free Books from Kindle Bestseller List

Publisher's Weekly:
For some in publishing it may be a curiosity, for others a point of contention—Amazon’s practice of including free downloads in its list of most popular Kindle titles. It will soon no longer be an issue. A representative at the e-tailer has confirmed that the company will be splitting its Kindle bestseller list, creating one list for paid books and another for free titles. The date for the switch is vague—the rep would only say it will happen in “a few weeks”—but the switch will certainly be noticed. 

Currently the top ten bestselling titles on Amazon’s Kindle bestseller list are free downloads, a fact that speaks to how publishers are testing the free model to get attention for certain authors. In a January 23 piece in The New York Times, the paper's former publishing reporter Motoko Rich explored the phenomenon. In the piece, Rich noted that over half of the most popular titles on Amazon's Kindle bestseller list were free downloads. Now, with the list to be split up, one has to wonder if publishers will find free giveaways as valuable a promotion tool.

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