The Switch title, launching pretty late in the game on October 27, is currently surpassing Amazon sales of many of 2017’s biggest money-makers, including Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Call of Duty: WWII, Destiny 2 and Crash Bandicoot: N.Sane Trilogy.
I suspected that I was not alone in my obsession. There are even sites like Sales Rank Express and Novel that aim to cull tracking for authors, domestically and internationally. So, I reached out to two novelist buddies with new books out and asked about their relationship to the ranking system. Was I the only crazy one? “In one instance, I knew that 10 copies of [my book] were going to be purchased on Amazon,” explains Jennifer Miller, author of debut novel The Year of The Gadfly (out since May 8). “Out of curiosity, I checked the ranking before and after the sale. To my surprise, the ranking temporarily got worse. It’s a mystery!” She also reports fluctuations in one day from 100,000 to 7,000 and says that, according to her publisher, early sales information suggests that the book is selling best at independent bookstores. Wait, independent bookstores actually sell books? I thought they were a dying breed, almost as elusive as unicorns? Turns out that they still play an important role, thank goodness.
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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 entry 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.”
Feedback isn’t a direct measure of success, of course, but it is an indicator of sales volume. Amazon says that most sellers receive feedback on 10% – 20% of their sales, so the number of units sold is likely to be 5x to 10x more than the feedback shown below. This does vary very widely, however, with feedback percentages between 2.5% and 18% claimed by sellers in the comments below.
Although sellers on Amazon.co.uk have taken three of the top five slots this year, the list overall is still dominated by Amazon.com, with 584 sellers (551 last year). The UK is next with 205 sellers (234 last year). The US’s gain of 33 sellers in the top 1,000 is very close to the UK’s loss of 29 sellers.
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Technology is helpful, fun, exciting, life-saving and expensive! If you have unlimited dollars and could buy all the gadgets and gizmos you wanted, there’d be no problem. (Well, maybe not.) Alas, we’re all limited, and we have to choose which tech toy is coming home from the store with us. Or which one will arrive at our door after shopping from our dining room. You sit in front of the computer, awed by the potential that’s out there waiting to sit in your palm. But funds limit your fun. Which leads to choices, choices, choices. Maybe this presentation can help.
The only agreed upon fact was that Amazon’s algorithm was a big fat secret. And, according to their information page, the ratings are actually updated hourly across the board, though the exact moment of update might depend on time zone. To get some perspective, I searched The Hunger Games in paperback and found that it was No. 7. Since my father-in-law kept making jokes about me passing Charles Dickens, I looked up Great Expectations in paperback too: No. 982. Just narrowly beaten out by the dildos.
On the flip side, Prime Day is one of the best sources we have to determine how on the mark we are by what we feature. Thanks to years of deal-hunting and paying attention to readers, we’ve gotten pretty good at anticipating interests, trends, and needs, but — as Prime Day reminds us with things like a SanDisk memory card and car mount cracking the top 10 best-selling items — we cannot always be 100% right in our assumptions.
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Regarding Andy’s comment; I think it’s a good base to go from seeing as how there isn’t much other data that Amazon is willing to make public. A few of the listed companies can probably shuffle around in hierarchy (if given 100% data) but I’d say for the general,.. those listed def earned to be “nominated” of making it on the list lol!