To keep track of how book sales are going I’ve been checking the stats on my book’s Amazon page. Amazon rates each product they sell by what’s known as the Amazon Sales Rank.
Here’s an excerpt from Amazon’s help page.
What Sales Rank means
As an added service for customers, authors, publishers, artists, labels, and studios, we show how items in our catalog are selling. The lower the number, the higher the sales for that particular item. The calculation is based on Amazon.com sales and is updated each hour to reflect recent and historical sales of every item sold on Amazon.com. We hope you find the Amazon.com Sales Rank interesting!
What Category Sales Ranks mean
While Amazon.com Sales Rank is a good indicator of how well a product is selling overall, it doesn’t always indicate how popular an item is among other similar items. Our category sales ranks were created to highlight those categories where an item really stands out. We choose a few categories where the item has a high ranking in relation to other items in that category, and showcase them on the product page. Like Amazon.com Sales Rank, these category rankings are based on Amazon.com sales and updated every hour.
For “competitive reasons” Amazon won’t give actual sales figures.
Here’s how Logo Design Love is faring as I type (the rank is updated hourly).
Amazon.co.uk Sales Rank: #1,539 in Books
If you were to view specific categories, my book’s listed as follows:
#2 in Advertising (#1 is It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want To Be)
#2 in Graphic Arts (#1 is The Art of Looking Sideways)
#2 in Brands & Corporate Identity (#1 is Crush It!)
I wonder if the category rankings are affected by the reader-assigned tags you can see on each product page.
Amazon.com Sales Rank: #2,606 in Books
There’s a much larger catalogue sold through the .com site, so it makes sense that my ranking is lower in the United States.
Strangely, Logo Design Love sits at #1 in Amazon’s illustration category, yet ranks at #30 for graphic design — if you’re an illustrator, I think there’s a niche in the book market for your talents.
Amazon.ca Sales Rank: #29,996 in Books
This might explain the lower Canadian figure, or it may also be because my publisher is based in the United States, and I’m based in the United Kingdom, leaving no physical presence in Canada.
Where’s the value?
So if number assigned to your book varies by the hour, is there any point spending time checking?
The Sales Rank comes into its own when an author carries out a marketing push. Say for instance that one week a book is mentioned on Design Observer, and the next it’s shown on Swiss Miss, an author can track which website brought a higher Sales Rank during the days immediately after the feature (useful info for future marketing plans).
Leave it to Amazon
If your book is performing well, Amazon will help. To illustrate, England-based Daniel Gray kindly forwarded me an email Amazon sent. I wasn’t previously aware of the message, and here’s what it said:
Greetings from Amazon.co.uk,
We’ve noticed that customers who have purchased or rated Logo by Michael Evamy have also purchased Logo Design Love: A Guide to Creating Iconic Brand Identities (Voices That Matter) by David Airey. For this reason, you might like to know that Logo Design Love: A Guide to Creating Iconic Brand Identities (Voices That Matter) is now available. You can order yours for just £12.98 (50% off the RRP) by following the link below.
Evamy’s Logo is probably the most popular logo gallery book to be published (it’s one of the few I keep), and I imagine plenty of other people have bought a copy from Amazon.
Of much more importance to me than the Sales Rank are the reader comments. If someone gets use out of my content, and if they tell others about it, then by extension, word of mouth will help the sales take care of themselves.
I can imagine some authors have become addicted to checking their Sales Rank stats, in the same way people religiously check their web stats or online bank accounts.
Anyway, now you know as much about Amazon’s tracking tool as I do.
Amazon Sales Rank mentioned elsewhere
- Amazon Sales Rank: Insider’s Guide to Book Marketing
- Book Marketing, Amazon Sales Rankings, and Tracking Book Sales, on The Self-Publisher’s Notebook
- Quickly check your Amazon Sales Rank across the .com, .ca, .co.uk, .fr, .de, and .co.jp sites using Sales Rank Express