Sales of e-books rose 27% in 2003, to $7.3 million, according to reports from 20 publishers supplied to the Open eBook Forum. Units increased at a much faster rate, 71%, to 1.3 million, indicating a decline in e-book prices. Both dollar and unit sales benefited from an increase in e-book output, which jumped 43%, to 7,138 titles. The OEBF revenue figure is higher than the sales of $5.9 million reported by eight publishers to the AAP.

In another sign of the maturation of the e-book business, OEBF has developed a monthly bestseller list. The first list, which charts unit sales for March, includes both fiction and nonfiction titles, and OEBF executive director Nick Bogaty said that he hopes to make improvements as the list evolves. He estimated the reporting retailers constituted "at least" 50% of the e-book market.

Topping the charts in March was an author very familiar to readers of print books; Dan Brown commanded four of the top five spots on last month's list, headed by The Da Vinci Code at number one. The lone non-Brown title to crack the top five was Peter Hamilton's Pandora's Star.

The rest of the list is eclectic, including the topical (Against All Enemies), the spiritual (Purpose-Driven Life, New International Version of the Holy Bible) and the sexual (Letters to Penthouse XIX).

The entire list can be viewed at