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Top 10 Kindle e-books: all free

May 5, 2010 | 12:43 pm
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If you want to pick up one of the bestselling books for the Kindle, you don't have to save your spare dollars or even your pennies -- the 10 top Kindle bestsellers are free. To find a bestselling Kindle e-book that costs more than $0.00, you have to look to No. 14, Steig Larsson's "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" -- a book that's spent more than 18 months in the top 100, and has the fairly low e-book price of $5.50.

Currently at No. 1 is "Breach of Trust," a mystery about an ex-CIA agent turned librarian from DiAnn Mills, a successful writer of Christian fiction. It's taken the top spot after just three days in the top 100, and that may change; Amazon revises its rankings every hour.

With "Breach of Trust" retailing for $26.36 in hardcover and $9.36 in paperback, why is Mills giving it away? Maybe because it's a year old and her a new novel, "A Woman Called Sage," was released just three weeks ago. The idea is that readers will like the older, free e-book so much that they'll go ahead and pay for a new one from the same author. But with "A Woman Called Sage" at the respectable but certainly not bestselling No. 8,068 in the Kindle store, is this give-em-a-taste strategy paying off?

Maybe it would have a better chance if so many people weren't trying it -- but there's Kathryn Magendie's free, 2009 novel "Tender Graces," the Kindle No. 5 bestseller; her new 2010 book "Secret Graces" is at No. 14,020 on the Kindle list. And Samantha Sommersby's "Forbidden: The Sacrifice," the 2009 start to a supernatural series is now free; its third book, "Forbidden: The Temptation," released in March, selling for $3.60, is at  No. 1,518 in the Kindle store.

Another strategy is to make the e-book free for just a few days. That's the case for several new books in the Kindle top 10. "Death of a Trophy Wife" by Laura Levine (No. 2), "Mistress By Mistake" by Maggie Robinson (No. 4) and "Secrets of the Tudor Court" by D. L. Bodgdan (No. 6) are all from Kensington, and "The Killing Room" by John Manning (No. 3) is from Pinnacle, an imprint. Abingdon Press has made debut author Linda S. Clare's novel "The Fence My Father Built" free this week; it's at No. 7. Once the free download window has closed, these books will sell for the retail price. But will readers choose to pony up for the books they missed, or go for the new free books that pop up next week? 

Most of the free books currently dominating the Kindle top 10 are mysteries, romances, thrillers and women's fiction; Christian fiction is doing very well. There's just one self-help book: "Living Organized: Proven Steps for a Clutter-Free and Beautiful Home." Does it suggest e-readers like the Kindle as a clutter solution? The standard Kindle can hold up to 1,500 books -- a library large enough to include a lot of freebies.

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Visit Amazon’s Kindle store for e-books, accessories and more

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