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Gone are the days of having to be selected to put out a book. Gone are the days of having to go to a bookstore to see what is available. Now you can check online, with real time reviews, AND, real time “bestseller” rankings. It’s unsurprising that as the barriers to for the book business went down, so did the quality of the books being produced. These days, over one million books are published each year, with at least half of these self-published. So it’s almost obvious that, given the volume, you could game your way to the top of a category with very few sales. And yet, in spite of the fact that it’s as easy as I’ve shown to become an Amazon best-seller, those same people get to cash in on the goodwill and prestige build up in the title “bestselling author.”
I’m a partner at a marketing company called Brass Check. Over the years, we’ve helped launch 30 legitimate New York Times best sellers (including several at the sought-after No. 1 spot). My company has helped sell over 5 million books and advised or managed book launches with every major publishing house, including Amazon.
Rankings for this midyear list were taken from sales figures from January through the end of April, the most recent reporting period for market researcher The NPD Group. Due to agreements with publishers, NPD does not publicly release hard sales numbers — but the rankings show that players are eager for new experiences — while they’re not quite ready to let go of some old favorites.
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I was hooked. It didn’t matter the numbers could be meaningless because they accounted for only one bookseller or because I couldn’t be sure in relationship to what I was being ranked. It didn’t matter that the numbers were as fleeting as my recent obsession with chocolate mint gum, which ended when I tasted it.
According to author Melissa Walker, whose new book Unbreak My Heart — out since May 22 — is her sixth young adult novel, Amazon Ranking Obsession (A.R.O) lessens with time. “With my first book, I checked Amazon NONSTOP,” she admits. “Every other author kept telling me the ranking didn’t matter, but it was the only number I had access to, so it had the power to make my heart soar (or drop). Now, I’ll admit that I still check it, but only once or twice a month (really!).” Still, it’s hard to resist even a mysterious number, if it’s right there in print.
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“1984” reached #1 on Amazon’s list earlier in the week after commentators compared Kellyanne Conway’s invocation of “alternative facts” to Orwell’s idea of “newspeak.” The book has held onto the top spot for three days. It is also temporarily out of stock, according to Amazon, with new copies expected to be available in early February.
That was when I learned about the Amazon Best Sellers Rank. In case you too have been living under a rock, apparently every item sold on Amazon — from books to glass dildos (No. 744 at the time of this article) — is awarded a number based on the frequency with which it’s selling by comparison to other Amazon items.
The best-selling outdoor items in the U.S. were Intex Comfort Plush Elevated Dura-Beam Airbed with Built-in Electric Pump, the Stanley Classic Vacuum Bottle and the BV Bicycle Light Set Super Bright 5 LED Headlight.
Internet Retailer’s estimates include marketplace merchants’ inventory. It also believes that the longer hours — a 30-hour sale compared to last year’s 24-hour sale — will be a large factor in Prime Day sales’ increase.
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Adobe, which officially tracks the e-commerce sales from 80 of the 100 largest websites, reported that Black Friday sales reached $5.03 billion, up 16.9% from last year. The company’s research shows that every day since the start of November, e-commerce has posted online sales of over $1 billion, which has never happened before.
Chromebooks are super cheap laptops that are based entirely on the Chrome browser. You need an Internet connection for the laptops to do anything. But, for the most part, people are Internet-connected when they’re using a laptop, so it’s not a huge limitation.