Publishers Weekly has revealed Amazon’s plans to separate the free Kindle books into their own list. There is no date yet set for the change other than it will happen in “a few weeks”.
This is a good news/bad news situation. On one hand, the free downloads were a great way for a book, especially by someone new, to gain traction and rise in the rankings before switching to a paying model. Or, some remained free forever in order to drive new readers to a back-list.
On the other hand, free books aren’t technically ‘sold’ but are giveaways. To have them all in the same list with ‘for sale’ books did not accurately show which books readers were willing to pay for.
One thing I haven’t seen is the question on if Amazon has changed any of their ranking algorithms? If a book is given away first and rises in the rankings of the new ‘free giveaway’ lists, and the publisher/author changes it to a book for sale, will that ‘free giveaway’ ranking be the equivalent to those that are already for sale, and the book land in the ‘for sale’ list at a high ranking? Or will it not count for as much and land the book lower in the ‘for sale’ ranking? Or will the book have to start over on the rankings of the ‘for sale’ list and work its way up from scratch?
Only time will tell. I’ll be watching closely.