Each day the freely available Jane Austen novel Pride and Prejudice sells on the order of 100s copies split out on various different versions of the book (the most popular of which can be found here). But the legacy of Austen not only powers sales of her own books, it also powers sales of so-called variations. Variations are books (or short stories) that in one way or another build on the original story and add to it – and in the process borrow the name-recognition and popularity of the original book. This is fully legal to do since Pride and Prejudice has fallen into the public domain and therefore no longer enjoys any form of copyright protection. And so the number of variations abound.
Simply search for Pride and Prejudice on a platform such as Amazon and you will quickly find dozens of these types of books just below the original book (link). In doing so you will notice that the authors (or marketers) of these books have wisely added the search term Pride and Prejudice to the title of their book to piggy-backing on the popularity of the original book.
The real question therefore becomes: how many copies do these works sell? The answer: A lot. Restricting ourselves to just the five bestselling variations (The Perfect Husband: A Pride and Prejudice Variation, For Pemberley: A Pride & Prejudice Novella, Mr. Darcy’s Secret Desires: A Pride and Prejudice Variation, Conceit & Concealment: A Pride & Prejudice Variation, and At Pemberley: 3 Pride & Prejudice Short Stories) we find that just these five books sell on average 264 books combined each day. And these are books by mostly unknown authors with no particular following – such is the power of the Austen-brand that unknown authors are able to achieve worthwhile sales numbers simply by aligning themselves with Austen’s work.