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What Constitutes an eBook Bestseller?

image378.jpgToday the literary Twitter-sphere debated a question GalleyCat raised this morning: if the majority of the top 100 “bestselling” Kindle books are free, how can publishers survive in a digital marketplace?

By GalleyCat’s count yesterday afternoon, 64 of the 100 eBooks currently topping the Kindle bestseller list were priced at $0.00. Since we counted yesterday, the number one bestseller was “Midnight in Madrid” by Noel Hynd, another free Kindle book.

The debate raised another good question: what constitutes an eBook bestseller? Over at the LA Times, Carolyn Kellogg wrote: “In a Saturday press release, Amazon declared, ‘On Christmas Day, for the first time ever, customers purchased more Kindle books than physical books.’ This might be big news on another day, but it’s clear that e-books are instant and there’s a lot of pressure to have gifts in hand on Christmas. Instead, we have to wonder, what does ‘purchased’ mean, exactly?”

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