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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Sales Ranking On Amazon

You won't find me bragging about sales ranking of OHS
I find it interesting how focused an author can be about their sales ranking on Amazon. Entire 2.0 campaigns have been centered on everyone buying a particular book on a particular day in order to increase the sales ranking on Amazon.

It goes to show you that, despite the fact I manage an independently operated bricks and mortar bookstore and have mucho admiration for the sales data analysis offered to Canadians via BookNet Canada's Sales Data (or Nielson BookScan in the UK and the US) I'm still impressed with the instantaneous and openly visible nature of Amazon's ranking.

It's too bad, though, that the focus for ranking highlighted by authors is often with a single retailer, rather than on the market as a whole.  And, at that, with a single retailer who has yet to host an author event, book signing, or other real-world event designed to support and promote an author.

Given that BookNet Canada's SalesData includes sales information from a variety of retailers within the Canadian market - a healthy selection of independent, chain and other retailers, both bricks and mortar and online, you'd think that a high sales ranking within BNC Sales Data would be preferable.  Of course, the trick is that, unlike Amazon's sales ranking, there's no place to actually see the sales data (with the exception, perhaps, of the Globe & Mail Bestseller List), nor is that information "live" to subscribers. So it's difficult for an author to get any sort of immediate feedback that their "promo/marketing campaign" is working.  (It's just the nature of the beast - BNC collects their data from thousands of points of sale and spends a great effort importing and sorting the data collected. It's no easy task to get such an authoritative collection of data.)

What I'd love to see is a campaign by a Canadian author to get their titles ranked high no matter WHAT retailer they purchase their book from. It would likely involve their publisher willing to let the data numbers be known openly for a specific title within a certain time period, and participation from the good folks at BNC. But I imagine it could be possible.

Imagine authors focusing a campaign to go out and buy their book all in a specific time period (since BNC collects and "publishes" its data weekly) by sending them out to their own favourite local bookstore, rather than a single retailer?  Imagine a focus on buying it in as many places as possible, rather than channelling all sales through a single retailer?

I know the challenge of collecting and sharing the data for a campaign like that is pretty daunting.  But wouldn't that be a cool thing to see?

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