Checking Your Amazon Sales Rank by Shannon Yarbrough

A great primer on how to check your Amazon sales rank by Shannon Yarbrough, author of Stealing Wishes, originally published at the LL Book Review.  Try not to get obsessed with checking your sales rank, but it’s certainly gratifying to see a book climb the ranks.

Today, like almost every day, I checked my Amazon.com sales rank and discovered it had bumped up quite a bit.  I’m now at 101,491.  Now as I’ve discussed in the past, this might very well mean I’ve sold just one copy over the weekend, or even up to 5 copies. And chances are the rank will fall fast unless another copy sells today.  Apparently, a high sales rank is good because it means your book is selling, but keeping that sales rank or getting closer to the top is even better.


Occasionally, I’ll check my sales rank over at Aaron Shepard’s Sales Rank Express.  This site only presents the basic information you can already find on Amazon’s product page, but it’s quicker sometimes than navigating through Amazon, finding your book, and scrolling down to the product description, and also not getting distracted by ads or by surfing for things you want to buy like I usually do when I go to Amazon.

Rankforest is a free site that will track your book over time if you want to see how the numbers fluctuate.  The free service part will update every 4 hours for you.

RankTracer is also another that has come highly recommended to me, but a three month track of your book will cost you $6.00 here. Books & Writers will do the same thing for two books for just $10 a year.

If you aren’t concerned with how much your sales rank changes by hour, then I suggest checking your book’s page once a day either in the morning or the evening and write down that number on a calendar every day.  Note when there’s a big spike in the number.  Did someone review your book around that time?  Did you post a comment on a blog or website the day before? Note the spikes in sales over time and what might have caused them.

Some authors have tried to affect their sales rank by holding a buying promotion.  Whether it works or not, I don’t know but this is where you email or contact as many people as you can and request them to buy your book from Amazon on a certain date and at a certain time.  The spike in sales will definitely affect the sales rank, but you have to consider that not everyone might purchase your book at that specific date and time.  If you ask everyone who did participate to email you back and let you know they bought your book, you might be able to better obtain an exact number as to how many copies sold during your promotion and helped you achieve whatever rank you earned that day.

Check out these numbers from Rampant Techpress.  Supposedly, a major publisher tracked 25 of their books over a six month period and compared Amazon sales rank to the number of books they sold.

Amazon        Actual
Sale Rank     Books Sold per week
———     —————–

75-100         250-275/wk
100-200        225-249/wk
200-300        150-200/wk
450-750         75-100/wk
750-3,000        40-75/wk
3,000-9,000      15-20/wk
10,000+            1-5/wk

Morris Rosenthal, author of Print-on-Demand Book Publishing, has a slightly different opinion and reports the following figures…


Copies Sold/day










2.2 (11 copies every 5 days)


0.2 (1 copy every 5 days)


0.006 (3 copies every 500 days)


0.0001 (1 copy every 1000 days)

So, why are we obsessed with our Amazon Sales Rank?  Well, no matter what the number may be, if the number is rising it means a sale, which means a royalty payment in the end.  It might not be much of a payment, but keeping your book at a higher sales rank definitely increases exposure, which hopefully increases sales and increases money in your pocket.

  • Very interesting, Shannon! My first YA paranormal novel “13 to Life: A Werewolf’s Tale” doesn’t come out until Fall 2010, but I’ll definitely bookmark this and refer back to it again around then (probably obsessively for a while).

    Thanks for the insight!

  • Velma Banks

    Please explain why I cannot find a sales rank on my book at
    Amazon.com but I can find it at Buy.com.