What are the Best-Selling Kindle Books? Guess What? They’re Free

Amazon trumpeted the sales of Kindle books this Christmas, saying, “On Christmas Day, for the First Time Ever, Customers Purchased More Kindle Books Than Physical Books.” Note that that was on Christmas day, not during the Christmas season, as many press outlets suggested.

But what’s selling for the Kindle? A glance at the best-seller list of Kindle books this morning showed me something surprising. On this page of Kindle best-sellers, the top ten books were, when I checked, all free. 17 of the top 25 books were free, 32 of the top 50 were free, and 59 of the top 100 were free. (There are also a few books priced from one cent to a quarter.)

So this makes me wonder, first, just how many Kindle books are sold for money, and second, whether Amazon’s press release takes into account only those books that were actually sold, or also includes the free ones. When Apple touts iTunes figures, they use the term “downloads”, to include freebies, but does Amazon do the same?