Publishing FAQs | Week 6: What Does The Amazon Ranking Mean in Terms of Sales?

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Frequently asked questions. Every industry has them and publishing is no different. Ambassador International has the pleasure of working with many new and upcoming authors as well as already-established authors who still need our assistance. Many of these authors come to us with lots of questions. Publishing your first book (or your 10th!) is exciting! There are many details to work out and decisions to make. This Publishing FAQ series covers questions Ambassador International receives regularly. Previously covered questions are:

  1. What is the best publishing option for me?
  2. Do I need an agent?
  3. Will I experience success if I get my book into stores?
  4. What else do you expect me to do?
  5. How does a distributor work?

Publishing FAQsWhat Does The Amazon Ranking Mean in Terms of Sales?

This is probably the question most frequently asked question. Perhaps you’ve found yourself looking at the ranking of your title or other titles and wondering how many books must be selling to see that ranking? Amazon presently has over 8 million titles listed. This is a lot of competition but at the same time this is what is known as the long tail, many of these title may not even sell one copy in a year.

Making Sense of Your Amazon Ranking

The Amazon ranking is made up of the number of books on Amazon and shows your place on the sales list. If you’re book is in the 2 million+ range and holding there consistently you’re likely only selling a couple copies per year. For titles ranked this high it is said that Amazon’s algorithm reviews ranking every 30 days unless of course you have a spike in sales. For a title ranked this high, five books sold in a day can mean a drop in hundreds of thousands of points.

As you get to the low hundred thousands Amazon monitors daily sales traffic then as you move to the tens of thousands and below your ranking can move several times throughout the day.

Deciphering Your Sales Figures

It is difficult to put exact figures to ranking bands as there are many variables so daily sales listed below are based on a title holding steadily in a ranking for a number of days/weeks.

  • Top 100 books are selling 1000+ copies
  • 100-10,000 selling in in the hundreds
  • 10,000 – 50,000 selling in the tens
  • 50,000 – 250,000 selling in singles

As you climb higher you’re likely no longer seeing constant daily sales. Amazon’s algorithm is complex so again this is just a based on our experience watching rankings and how they correlate to sales.


Tracking Sales with Amazon Author Central

The best way to keep track of your sales is by setting up an Amazon Author Central account. This will track your print sales. With an Amazon Author Central account in place you can see how effective your social media and marketing promotions are. Did your blog post turn into sales? As with all marketing, if it does not work the first time, tweak it and try again until you see the results you’re hoping for.