Out of curiosity, I logged onto Smashwords and took a gander at their Top 100 Books. Not that I have any there or even close, but I was curious as to what was moving, and wondering if I could figure out why.
Turned out to be less work than I thought.
Free books are selling pretty well.
Of the top 100 books, eighty-four of them are free, and can be read online -- you don't even have to download 'em, you don't want.
Of the others, most are $.99, a few in the $1.99-2.99 range. There's an oddball for $1.50, a couple at $4.99, and only one for more than ten bucks -- #100, a non-fiction book on having your baby through egg donation, list price for that one, $15.00.
The #1? Smashwords' own how-to book on submissions and formatting and such. Because pretty much everybody who wants to submit a book has to get it.
At Amazon.com, it's harder, because sales are broken up into assorted categories. The bestsellers are those that are e-versions of treeware bestsellers.
Have a look at Champion of the Dead at its peak:
Looks pretty cool -- until you see the overall rank:
#35,444 Paid in Kindle Store ...
Which, with millions of titles is not so bad, but what it means is if you sell fifteen or twenty copies, you make the sub-list. And if you sell a couple dozen copies all at once and sample the sales figures at just the right moment, you'll have a best-seller in that moment, because Amazon's numbers are time-linked. Come an hour, maybe even a minute from when you look, you're off the list, but for a brief and shining moment, you might be the sales leader. It's a good bragging point, but it doesn't mean a whole lot.
Still, it is better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick ...