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My novel The Penal Colony has been free at Amazon for the past few weeks, and consistently in the top five of the Action and Adventure and Thriller sections, though in recent days it has climbed higher yet and last night reached No. 10 in the overall chart of free books.
I was curious to see how downloading varied over the holidays, so each evening made a note of the number of registered downloads. Most of the downloads were made at the UK Amazon store; this book is less popular in the United States.
As you can see from the chart, there was a noticeable spike on Boxing Day, then a decline. The lowest figure was for New Year's Day, when people were otherwise occupied – or recovering from hangovers! To make up for this, there was another spike on 2 January.
While this exercise is of limited scientific value, it does show a pattern which surely reflects the number of e-readers and tablets received as gifts. It also shows the extraordinary popularity of ebooks. These days a title shifting 5,000 hardbacks a month is called a New York Times bestseller.
By the way, The Penal Colony's free run at Amazon should be ending soon, so if you want a copy for nothing please be sure to grab one right away!