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Dan Brown book selling better on Kindle than hardcover?

The Kindle version of "The Lost Symbol" is apparently selling better on Amazon.com than its hardcover version. And to think the publisher almost didn't release it for the e-reader.

Don Reisinger
Former CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
2 min read
The Lost Symbol
The subject of much debate. Amazon

Best-selling author Dan Brown's latest novel, "The Lost Symbol," is apparently selling better on the Kindle than in hardcover on Amazon.com.

In Amazon's overall sales listing, Brown's book is listed as the best-selling title on the site. But that listing includes both the book's hardcover version and the Kindle version.

On Amazon's Mystery and Thrillers page, the two versions are independently listed. At the top of that list is the Kindle version for $9.99. In the No. 2 slot is the hardcover version offered for $16.17. That list is updated hourly.

Blog site The Kindle Nation noticed the phenomenon early Wednesday morning.

As of late morning, the Kindle version is still atop the list. That said, it's important to note that this is one store. The hardcover version is still tops at rival Barnes and Noble, which also sells a digital version.

Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment and exact sales figures.

The possibility that the Kindle version of "The Lost Symbol"--which follows Brown's wildly popular "Da Vinci Code" and "Angels & Demons"--is outselling hard copies on Amazon could be a monumental moment in the e-book industry. Prior to the release of the book, its publisher, Random House, was mulling the possibility of not even releasing a Kindle version. Eventually, the company relented.

Dan Brown
The Kindle version is leading the way on Amazon. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

Random House's aversion to releasing a version for the Kindle e-reader was apparently rooted in its worries over "security and logistical issues." This underscored what has become a battle between publishers and Amazon's Kindle that mimics the battles Apple was forced to deal with when iTunes and iPods were under attack from the music industry.

But if the likely biggest book release of the year sells better on Amazon's Kindle than in hardcover in the massive online bookstore, that's undoubtedly big news for the publishing business. Companies that were suspect of Amazon's potential dominance in the space might realize the value of offering e-books on its device.

Amazon itself hasn't confirmed that more Kindle copies of "The Lost Symbol" have sold and it's possible that the Kindle version is only leading the pack for now, but it's still a significant event that could send shock waves through the publishing business.