How Does Amazon Rank Books?

How Does Amazon Rank Books?

Amazon sales rank is basically a popularity contest where every purchase of a book is equal to a vote. It measures where one book stands among all others sold on Amazon. Average Amazon sales rank to U.S. sales can be found in Morris Rosenthal’s Amazon sales rank analysis. Amazon’s ranking for all books is updated every hour and a book jumps to a higher rank for every sales of a copy. A book with no sales will have lower rank as the other sold book push it down. If a book has no sales rank at all means no one has ever bought it. Amazon’s Sales Rank is located in the Product Details for each book. The Product Details are normally located just below the Editorial Reviews, to just keep scrolling until you find it.

Occasionally, Amazon’s ranking depends on your geographical location and started out at quarter to the hour then switched to a quarter after. There are tests that a typical time lag occurred around two to three hours between the jump in sales. The system sometimes may “stuck” that a sales rank does not go up for periods of time or see most of them go down slowly.

Amazon sales ranks are always positions within a specific category of Amazon products—so if you don’t know the category, the sales rank isn’t all that helpful and may be misleading. Sales Rank Express shows this category under the sales rank in primary results. But it doesn’t receive enough data from Amazon to show it when you use the “Get Versions” or “Get Pairings” buttons. Usually, you can figure it out for yourself—but if not, you can click through to Amazon to find it.

The categories you’ll see on Sales Rank Express are:

Books. In the U.S., Canada, the U.K., and China, this is the catch-all category that includes all printed books and audiobooks, but not Kindle Books.

Domestic Books. In Spain, France, Italy, Germany, and Japan, this is for books published within each of those countries. Amazon itself names the category after the country—for example, “French Books” or “Japanese Books.”

Imported Books. For those countries with a category for domestic books, this is for books imported into the country. Amazon calls this category “English Books”—and mostly they are—but they can be published in any country outside the one where they’re being sold and can be in any language at all.

Kindle/Paid. This includes all Kindle Books except freebies. Free Kindle Books have their own ranking category, but Amazon does not send out the ranks, so Sales Rank Express cannot report them.

Source –

Sales Rank Express lets you limit your search by specifying a binding or other format. Here’s what you can choose for individual countries (not in this order):

“Any.” This puts no limit at all on your search.

“Kindle.” An ebook formatted for Amazon’s Kindle ebook reader. This option is only for countries in which Amazon sells Kindle Books.

“Any but Kindle.” Kindle Books are omitted. Since Amazon reports alternate versions for books in any format except Kindle Book, this can be a workaround for the omission. This option is only for countries in which Amazon sells Kindle Books.

“Paperback—Trade.” A trade paperback is a larger paperback such as you’d commonly find on a bookstore shelf. This is the standard paperback format used by most major publishers as well as most self publishers. (This is what Amazon means when it just says “Paperback.”)

“Paperback—Mass Market.” A mass market paperback is a smaller paperback such as you’d find on a rack in a supermarket or other store that sells convenience books.

“Paperback.” For Sales Rank Express, this includes trade paperback, mass market paperback, and possibly other paperback bindings. But note that it will not include all the more esoteric paperback bindings Amazon might list, such as “Comic Book.” To find those, stick with “Any.”

“Hardcover—Trade.” This is how Sales Rank Express refers to the common kind of hardcover you’d find in a bookstore, as opposed to specialty bindings. (Amazon just calls this “Hardcover.”)

“Hardcover—Library Binding.” Sometimes called “school and library binding.” This is a binding designed for rougher use, as preferred by schools and libraries for their children’s books especially. In the past, the term mostly referred to binding strength, but it may nowadays just signify a laminated cover. Books in library binding are sometimes offered by the original publisher, and at other times by third-party reminders serving schools and libraries. Though the latter practice is time-honored and does profit the original publisher, it may create complications if the reminder gives the rebound book a new ISBN and/or lists it on Amazon. At least one reminder has agreed to respect any publisher’s request not to rebind its books.

“Hardcover.” For Sales Rank Express, this includes standard hardcover, library binding, and possibly other hardcover bindings. But note that it will not include all the more esoteric hardcover bindings Amazon might list, such as “Leather Bound” or “Board Book.” To find those, stick with “Any.”

“Audiobook—CD.” An audiobook offered on audio CD (not CD-ROM). May be in standard audio format or MP3.

“Audiobook—Cassette.” An audiobook offered on audio cassette.

Book Launch: Stern Leadership

Book Launch: Stern Leadership

Stern LeadershipWe’re proud to announce the latest Digital Book Launch client case study: Stern Leadership: Learning The Rules of Business By Listening To Howard Stern. You can get a free chapter of the book in anticipation of the launch here.

Client Testimonial: I knew that a great book cover and web landing page were going to be critical elements to successfully generating interest in my book. Working with Digital Book Launch allowed me to focus on researching and writing the book, while they took care of the all important elements of aesthetics. I am looking forward to the next step of the relationship which will be all about hardcore marketing of the book once it is completed and ready to go!

Whether you’re a fan of Howard Stern or not, there is no denying the man has built an amazing career and brand. Jaime Troia is one of Howard’s biggest fans, and as you can read below in the author Q&A, he explains why he decided to write “The very first business book inspired by Howard Stern”.

Jaime hired Digital Book Launch to help him take his book concept from an idea to reality. Specifically, Digital Book Launch worked with Jaime to:

  • Design an amazing and powerful book cover to draw attention
  • Implement a beautiful landing page website that encourages email signups
  • Build the proper pre-launch marketing and email strategy to create awareness and generate leads
  • Understand the process for marketing the book pre, and post-launch
  • Assist in public relations concepts and ideas for the launch of the book

Author Q&A:

1. Why did you write the book?

Depending on who’s calculating, Howard Stern is often considered the highest paid entertainer in the country. But in large measure, his success has been glossed over, partially because his brand of entertainment appeals to only a certain segment of the population. What I wanted to do was write a book that discusses the business principles that Howard has employed to help guarantee his success. With this book, I’ve taken what I’ve learned from the business world and married it to what I’ve learned from spending more than 20 years listening to Howard. The result is a book that demonstrates that Stern’s success didn’t happen by accident, that it was deeply rooted in solid, business fundamentals.

2. Who’s the book for?

Stern Leadership takes critical elements of building a successful business like creating a great corporate culture, providing exceptional customer service, building a memorable brand, and marketing with social media, and shows how Howard Stern has successfully applied these tactics to grow his media empire.

The book is first and foremost for Stern Show fans, but it is also for entrepreneurs who recognize that there may be a thing or two to learn about business from a man who’s commonly referred to as “The King of All Media”.

Join the conversation on Facebook.
Follow @SternLeader on Twitter.

You can get a free chapter of the book in anticipation of the launch here.

Book Video Trailer:

Interview: Book Promotion Tips

Interview: Book Promotion Tips

We had the chance to interview Francine Silverman of about the business of marketing and promoting books online. Here is the interview.

Digital Book Launch: Tell us about how you approach book promotion?

Firstly, I started an ezine for authors, in 2003, titled Book Promotion Newsletter, which has been published every other Wednesday since then. My subscribers are clever and provide the ezine with great marketing ideas. In fact, after just two years, I took 325 of those ideas and put them in a book, Book Marketing from A-Z. As to promoting my ebooks of talk radio shows, I have found three commercial affiliates and also ask each host if they wish to become an affiliate, offering them a 20% commission on sales. Many  have stepped up to the plate and put the cover image and text on their websites with links to my website where the ebooks are featured – Now I am approaching bloggers about putting shows relating to their topics on their blogs. One actually put the investment, on-line marketing and female entrepreneurs shows from the business ebook on her website.

Digital Book Launch: What is your background?

I started life as a legal secretary and morphed into a newspaper feature writer and freelance writer. I then wanted to become a travel writer and penned two local guidebooks, Catskills Alive, and Long Island Alive, both published by Hunter Publishing. My life as it now stands started in 2003 when I began the newsletter. I became a radio host and publicist as a result.

Digital Book Launch: What’s the biggest mistake authors make when marketing their book?

They don’t start thinking about their markets before they even write the book. You must know who your audience is BEFORE you write the book.

Digital Book Launch: Can an author be successful without a platform?

 I doubt it. Traditional publishers won’t even consider you without a platform.

Digital Book Launch: What’s the future going to look like for self-publishers in 3 years?

Very good. More and more folks are accepting self-published books as legitimate. If marketing guru Dan Poynter can become a success only writing self-published books, we can too.

Digital Book Launch: Is it worth it to publish anywhere else except Amazon these days?

It’s essential to have your book featured on Amazon but that’s only one market – albeit an important one.

Digital Book Launch: How can people find you?

They can visit my websites at and

Get Your Book Covers Noticed on Amazon

Get Your Book Covers Noticed on Amazon

If you haven’t noticed there’s a major publishing revolution happening these days. Now anyone can easily and quickly put a book up on Amazon for sale, without having to have a publisher. This has begun the official gold rush for existing and new authors. Now, hundreds of thousands of writers are able to sidestep the middleman and go direct to their readers. Oh, and also make a lot of money doing it.

When you self-publish you have to take on a few of the responsibilities that a publisher used to do for you. Those include things like editing, proofing and of course, cover design. All three can be outsourced to professionals you can find in your area or online. Today I want to talk about effective digital book cover design and how it can affect your Amazon sales.

So what makes an amazing digital book cover? As we all know the attention span of people who use the Web (me and you) is very low. We have become accustomed to finding what we need online as fast as possible and have learned how to scan massive amounts of information with our eyes in seconds flat.

For consumers that’s a great thing. But for anyone trying to sell anything online, it makes our challenge greater. As an author, we have only seconds (sometimes less) to engage a Web visitor and tell them a story about what the book is about.

Do a quick search over at for books in any genre, it doesn’t matter which one. Notice how you quickly look at the book icons on the page along with the book title, and quickly scan down the page. Notice how your eye is drawn to some covers and others not so much.

As an author with a new book coming out, if you don’t have an amazing and eye-catching book cover you’re going to have a tough time making sales on Here are few tips to help you out.

Image Is Everything

First off, it’s important to realize that design matters. Sure, you could do your book cover yourself, or pay your nephew who’s in college $10 to do it for you, but what you will probably end up with is a home-made book cover. Readers are expecting more, especially on Your book is going to be sitting right next to thousands of other books with professionally designed covers. Chances are that if you don’t fit in to what’s expected, a potential reader isn’t going to take a chance on your work.

The Thumbnail Matters

When you upload a book to Amazon, the Amazon system automatically sizes your book cover to an appropriate, preset, size for display on their website. There are a few thing you should know at this point so that your book looks as good as it possibly can.

Number one, you should follow the sizing guidelines on the Amazon KDP page to the tee. If you don’t, your book cover may end up looking garbled and hard to read. That’s bad. The other thing to worry about here is that if you have designed your book cover with small type, it’s probably not going to be able to be read without zooming in on it. That’s also bad.

When you’re scanning through Amazon notice how all the top selling books have great looking thumbnail images. That’s because the authors and their designers knew how to design the cover for maximum readability.

Images Count

Whether you want to use a photograph, or an illustration, or whatever, you should know that images help make your book cover get noticed. As most Web designers will tell you, when you add images of people, places or things into your design you have a much better chance at getting the viewer to relate. Why? Because pictures tell stories better than words.

If you have a book about aliens from outer space, there’s not going to be a better way to convey that than to have an alien like image on the cover of your book. If you’re writing a book about butterflies, well, you get the point.

The bottom line is that if you don’t have a readable and beautiful digital book cover your sales are going to be compromised.