06/09/2010 06:01 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

'Twilight' New Novella Bestseller Despite Free Online Release

"The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner", Stephenie Meyer's most recent addition to the "Twilight" Saga, sold over 350,000 copies in its first 48 hours of release in the US, reports Publishers Marketplace. Sales remained high despite the novella's release for free online. Worldwide, Meyer's publisher estimates that 15,000 people have read the book online in its entirety. The online edition, available until midnight July 5th, cannot be downloaded onto a computer or an eReader.

In the UK, the book sold almost 90,000 copies in its first day, becoming one of the fastest-selling books on record, says the Guardian. The release of the new installment boosted sales for the entire series by an average of 8.5%.

Despite the novella's strong performance, booksellers wonder whether the online alternative will hurt overall sales. Josie Leavitt writes at Publishers Weekly: "What really irritates me is that I was not told when I placed my order for 50 books that it would be available FREE fewer than 36 hours after my strict on-sale date. This kind of competition, directly from the publisher, is frustrating and disheartening."