eBook Sales Rank in the USA

This is the first is a series of posts on how ebook sales rank in the USA and the UK relates to the number and rate of ebook sales. While there are a number of  tools available that will give an approximate sales outcome for a particular rank, they are a little like fruit machines. You put in your sales rank. Pull the handle. Out pops an estimate of the number of books you need to sell to achieve that sales ranking.

I thought it would be nice to present this data graphically so we can all see what is going on right across the full sales rank spectrum. I intend going down to where a ebook is selling only a handful of copies a year. This is below the resolution of the fruit machines.


Also, as far as I can find, all the tools and other data relate solely to the USA. In subsequent posts I will give figures for the UK which for me (being a Brit) is of at least the same interest if not more.

So where is the sales rank?

The figure we are interested in is the one that is listed at the bottom of the product details for a particular eBook. Its called Amazon Bestsellers Rank. All ebooks that have sales will have one. It looks like this (ebook chosen at random)

A typical Amazon USA Sales Rank

The fruit machines (or at least some of them) use data returned from authors who have revealed their sales figures as well as their sales ranking. There is also a range of published data that give ballpark figures for particular sales rankings. Though most of these are at least 2 years out of date.

I slung this all together, averaged the results, tweaked the figures slightly to accommodate the rise in ebook sales to 2017, then put it into Open Office Calc and churned  out a set of graphs.

So is this accurate?

Well, no. This is going to be ball park only.

Bear in mind that for books selling low quantities then each sale may well significantly change the rank. Regard this as a running average and a rough one at that. But I do not think you will get anything better elsewhere ( at least for free!) It will also give you an idea of what to expect.

Its nice to be able to see roughly how high the mountain is sometimes. You do not need to know its exact altitude.

ebook Sales Rank vs Monthly Sales in USA

Here is the first graph for sale rank from 1 to 2,000,000. Obviously its great if you are ranked under 100 but after that things get blurred.

Amazon USA ebooks sold against sales rank

Notice on the above graph I have had to use a logarithmic scale on the x axis (Sales Rank). At least using this you can get a gauge of how sales fall rapidly with Sale rank. The bulk of the sales lie in Ranks 1 -1000. But simply because there are so many ebooks (5 million +) those that sell one copy a day or less make up 20% of sales. Anyone with an USA sales rank over 1000 will not be making a living out of this.

In my next post I’ll explore low selling ebooks with a  higher resolution. That will be those ebooks with a sales rank in excess of 10,000.

Here’s the link to the next post: eBooks the Long Tail USA

Thanks for your time.



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