Do Amazon Kindle Bestseller Lists Promote Authors or the Kindle?

It has been said that the Amazon Kindle bestseller list is to be split into paid books and free eBooks. It has been said that there is to be a separate bestseller list of Kindle titles for paid and free eBooks. This is a departure from the current situation where the top 10 list of Kindle titles contains both free giveaway eBooks and those that are paid for, whether that price is 99 cents or $9.99.

Do Bestseller Lists Influence Readers?

The Kindle bestseller list has been used by many people, including publishers, to determine what people are reading on the e-reader platform, and while many contend that it makes no difference whether an eBook is offered free of charge or is paid for, other believe that free books confuse the issue of which are the most popular authors and genres.

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The former state that readers will not download a book in which they have no interest, whether it is offered free or not. Similarly, a reader that follows a particular author will not desist from downloading a new work just because it has to be paid for. Even when the lists are split by Amazon, what is the reason for the position of each book on each list going to state? Are readers downloading free books because they are free or because they are popular? The same question still exists – it doesn’t go away just because the two are split into different lists.

By measuring the number of titles being downloaded from the Amazon store to Kindle Amazon can get a feel for which titles to stock in regular printed format. Publishers and booksellers use the same information for much the same purpose: which authors are popular and which should be stocked in what volume. The change will do nothing to change that, nor will it change the fact that it is still to Amazon that these interested parties will look for this information.

Barnes and Noble do not offer data on eBook downloads, and neither does Apple. Though the statistics would be very interesting: according to the review “Additions to the e-Reader Lineup: Barnes and Noble’s Nook”, the device allows users to download at least the half-million titles in the Google Books library (Digital Book Readers). The only other source of similar information might be Fictionwise, but Amazon is the widest used by publishers, booksellers and writers. The latter might find it more difficult to get to the top of the free list, although even this free list is contentious to many independent writers

By Haadi