This is going to be one of a series of posts. I am starting with the Amazon USA sales rank and how it can be used to give an indication of the number of ebooks being sold for that ranking. There are a number of tools out there that already do this and they (more of less) correlate with each other. But they are a little like a fruit machine. 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 on Amazon.
I thought it would be nice to present this data graphically so we can all see what is going on right across the full Amazon USA 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 Amazon.com. In subsequent posts I will give figures for Amazon.co.uk which for me (being a Brit) is of at least the same interest if not more.
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)
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 Though most of these are at least 2 years out of date.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 Amazons 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.
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.
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 Amazons sales. Anyone with an Amazon USA sales rank over 1000 will not be making a living out of this.
In my next post I’ll explore sales ranks in excess of 10,000 with a higher resolution
Thanks for your time.