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.
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.