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Barnes bookies' and Kindle favourite for Man Booker

Julian Barnes is the bookies' favourite to win the Man Booker prize tomorrow night (18th October), as Amazon has revealed his novel The Sense of an Ending is also leading Kindle downloads among the shortlisted authors.

Bookmakers William Hill said more than 50% of all bets struck on the Man Booker prize were placed on the Jonathan Cape title to win, which is a 6/4 favourite. The second favourite is Esi Edugyan’s Half Blood Blues (Serpents Tail), which has attracted 15% of the bets.

However, it sits at third favourite at 7/2, with Carol Birch's Jamrach's Menagerie (Canongate) second favourite with odds of 11/4. One punter has staked £200 on Patrick De Witt's The Sisters Brothers (Granta), an outsider with odds of 9/1.

Graham Sharpe, William Hill’s spokesman, said: “We are bracing ourselves for a Booker battering as literary punters seem to believe Barnes is a banker bet. But if I have learned one thing whilst setting the odds for this event over the last quarter of a century, it is that it is difficult to second guess a judging panel!”

Amazon said 29% of those buying Man Booker shortlisted titles are downloading Barnes. This is closely-followed by A D Miller’s book Snowdrops (Atlantic), which has accounted for 25% of the Kindle downloads.

The breakdown of other Kindle sales shows The Sisters Brothers at 17%, Jamrach's Menagerie at 12%, Half Blood Blues at 9% and Stephen Kelman’s Pigeon English (Bloomsbury) on 8%.

Amy Worth, senior manager for Kindle at Amazon.co.uk, said: “Winning the Man Booker prize can have a profound effect on the sales of a book. Last year’s winner, Howard Jacobson’s The Finkler Question, shot up the Kindle bestsellers chart, with a 1,645% sales uplift in the two weeks following his win so it’s undoubtedly going to be a career changing moment for whoever wins this year’s accolade.”

The William Hill odds in full:

Julian Barnes The Sense of an Ending 6/4
Carol Birch Jamrach's Menagerie 11/4
Esi Edugyan Half Blood Blues 7/2
Stephen Kelman Pigeon English 11/2
AD Miller Snowdrops 8/1
Patrick deWitt The Sisters Brothers 9/1