Paid vs Free: Which Amazon Kindle Books Bestseller List Wins?

We previously discussed how Amazon planned to split their Kindle bestseller list in two—one list for free books and one for paid (Kindle Bestseller List Changed By Amazon). Now that the two lists have gone into effect, I thought it might be interesting to take a look at the top ten most downloaded paid ebooks versus Amazon’s bestselling print books, and see how they match up.

Top Ten Paid Books in the Kindle Store (on 6/13/2010)
1. Hide by Lisa Gardner
2. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest by Stieg Larsson
3. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
4. The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson
5. The Passage by Justin Cronin
6. Storm Prey by John Sandford
7. The Lion by Nelson Demille
8. The Road to Serfdom: Text and Documents–The Definitive Edition by F. A. Hayek, Bruce Caldwell
9. The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner: An Eclipse Novella by Stephenie Meyer
10. Sh*t My Dad Says by Justin Halpern
(Note: Hide is on sale for .79)

Top Ten Bestselling Books on Amazon.com (on 6/13/2010)
1. The Road to Serfdom: Text and Documents–The Definitive Edition by F. A. Hayek, Bruce Caldwell
2. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest by Stieg Larsson
3. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson, Reg Keeland
4. The Overton Window by Glenn Beck
5. The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner: An Eclipse Novella by Stephenie Meyer
6. The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson
7. The Passage by Justin Cronin
8. Sh*t My Dad Says by Justin Halpern
9. George Washington’s Sacred Fire by Peter A. Lillback
10. Sizzling Sixteen by Janet Evanovich
(Note: The Road to Serfdom apparently shot to number one after Glenn Beck mentioned it on his show.)

It’s interesting to compare the two lists since, for the first time, they actually contain a lot of the same books. I think the fact that the two contain so many of the same books shows that Amazon’s move was a success. By giving the free books their own separate list, the paid list has become much more relevant. It’s a useful tool for browsing and discovering new books that you didn’t know about.

Although, by offering Hide at .79, the publisher has essentially circumvented the whole point of the paid list. If more publishers do this, won’t the paid list become irrelevant? Maybe the free list should be changed to .99 and below.

At the same time, the fact that discounted books are consistently the most downloaded Kindle books says something too. Kindle users like cheap books, something publishers should remember as they battle with Amazon over prices.

So what do you think? Are you happy that Amazon has split the Kindle bestsellers into two lists? Do you find the list more useful than before?

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