Tuesday, July 31, 2007

In the Amazon Trail Again...

Don't worry about me, I'm not going insane (slowly or otherwise). Just noticed something yesterday and thought I'd report on it.

In the morning, there were 18 copies of The Concrete Maze for sale at Amazon under the Used & New section - that is, sellers who are not part of Amazon directly but to which you can connect from Amazon. I checked to see who was selling my stuff used. It turned out all the copies were new ones. Fine by me of course. Get the book at a discount.

But then, in the evening, there were only 12 copies in that same category. Sounds good, no? I mean, that means six books were moved. Now it could be that the books were stripped and pulped, but since today is the day it officially goes on sale, I'd say that's unlikely. Next week? Maybe... But here's the thing. I always thought sales from these other distributors would positively impact my Amazon ranking. Instead, I sank 98,000 (give or take...mostly give). But...I think I figured out what may have happened. These vendors advertise elsewhere. I think some of them were real brick and mortar type stores. Maybe the books were bought through other means. Amazon gives no credit to those transactions since they weren't involved. As far as they're concerned, I did no business for them so 98,000 other titles skipped ahead of me. Presumably anyone who sold a book there yesterday.

On the other hand, I leaped ahead by 260,000 at Barnes and Noble. That's gotta mean something, doesn't it? Doesn't it?

Next I'll refuse to move when flies land on my hands...

3 Comments:

Blogger Pamela Milkweed said...

No offense, but who cares about the Amazon ranking? Doesn't the site only represent 2 percent of sales or something like that? I mean, a sale is a sale, you get the royalty either way, no matter who the vendor is.

I rarely buy paperbacks on Amazon, especially Leisure paperbacks, which are easy to find at Wal-Mart and grocery stores at a similar discount and with no shipping costs.

July 31, 2007 5:47 PM  
Blogger Steven said...

Pamela,
Absolutely correct. I've heard Amazon accounts for about 3-5% of hardcover sales - Tess Gerritsen says 3%. I'd imagine it's lower for mass market paperback as The Concrete Maze is: no discount and shipping is charged unless you buy a bunch at a time.

Here is why author's care - generally speaking, Amazon gives you the only numbers concerning sales that you'll ever hear. Never mind that it is a pretty useless number (I think it only means anything if you can stay in very low numbers for a long time - if you're #1 for six weeks, then... you're probably JK Rowling.

July 31, 2007 7:57 PM  
Blogger Graham Powell said...

Hey, now you're up to #669,722, and practically sold out! "Only 2 left in stock--order soon"!

August 01, 2007 12:57 PM  

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