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Cheapest E-Books Upend the Charts

Published on April 21, 2011
by Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg

The nation’s largest book publishers are facing increasing pricing pressure on the digital front as the number of cheap, self-published digital titles gain popularity with readers seeking budget-minded entertainment.

Amazon.com Inc.’s top 50 digital best-seller list featured 15 books priced at $5 or less on Wednesday afternoon. Louisville businessman John Locke, for example, a part-time thriller writer whose signature series features a former CIA assassin, claimed seven of those titles, all priced at 99 cents.

“They’re training their customers away from brand name authors and are instead creating visibility for self-published titles,” one senior publishing executive who asked not to be identified, says of Amazon.

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