The Amazon Sales Rank And How to Use it Successfully

salesrankgraph 300x101 The Amazon Sales Rank And How to Use it SuccessfullyAmazon’s sales rank is a crucial component in determining the demand for a particular book.  The Amazon sales rank provides a snapshot of current sales of a particular book selling on Amazon.com and seems to have become the de facto standard at least in the online book-selling world.  I’m most familiar with using the Amazon sales rank from book scouting as I’m sure some of you are also.  Book scouts use the Amazon sales rank for buying decisions at the moment in time they’re at a sale to determine if it would be worth it to the to purchase this book for resale or not.  This typically gives them a leg up to do a rudimentary prediction on how quickly a book will sell but did you know you can also use it as a trending metric for better buying decisions?

Think of an example such as this.  You’re at a book sale scouting for some books and come across a book that is being sold for a buck.  You scan it with your trusty bar code scanner and notice that it’s currently selling on Amazon for $50 with a sales rank of 100,000.  You would be pretty excited, right?  I probably would too, but how do you truly know that the sales rank is actually steady at that time?  Is there a chance that this book was in very high demand because of some event or fad and is now slowly dying off in demand?  Of course!

If a book’s sales rank is tracked on Amazon for many years or months, a graph starts to appear which gives an understanding of the demand over a certain period of time.  This kind of information gives you a much more detailed understanding of a book’s demand than simply taking a peek at the sales rank once.  If the sales rank is monitored over time, you begin to notice peaks and valleys of demand.  More importantly, you begin to notice when the demand is skyrocketing (BUY! BUY! BUY!) or when it is in a decline.

Because of the nature on how the sales rank works you can’t really get a truly accurate prediction on how the demand is at one certain point in time because it fluctuates dramatically sometimes.  One day it could be at 2 million and the next it could shoot up to 1 million just because of one sale.  To get a truly accurate reading on a book’s demand using the Amazon sales rank is to track the sales rank trend of a book.  The trend is where you will always be able to accurately predict a book sales volume because it’s measured over a certain period of time and not just one point in time.  Granted, it’s not quite as easy to grab the sales rank trend of a book vs. simply clicking a bar code scanner and popping up a number but by doing some research into the trend you will always be able to accurately determine how well a particular book is selling.

One tool that I have found for finding this trend is TitleZ.  You can find all about tracking Amazon sales rank trends there.  What’s cool about this service is that #1 it’s absolutely free at least for the time being and #2 every book you’ll want to track is already in there and was being tracked long before you came along.  I’ve found that some older, less in demand books are not, but most newer, more in demand books are typically always already being tracked.  If you do come across a book that you want to track that is not already being tracked you would simply add it to your “TitleZ” and it will then start tracking it.  Unfortunately, you couldn’t see the trend at that time so you’d have to come back at a later time.  I’m not going to go over the details of the product here because you can easily head to the site yourself, but I do recommend at least checking it out if you’re curious.  It will allow you to track any book in the Amazon database and does a great job in building a nice graph to display the trend.

Checking the trend for a book is not an immediate measurement that you can access quickly at a book sale like the sales rank itself so it would probably not be the best solution at a time like that but what I’ve found it’s really good at is when purchasing books online especially remainders.  Take all the time you need to really research the market demand and buy multiple copies to really grab the opportunity!

What other situations do you think the Amazon sales rank trend would come in handy?  I’d love to know!

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  • Michele

    One of the questions I have is once you
    have the scanner & PDA, what kind of
    criteria do you put in them so that the
    machine will tell you whether or not to
    buy the book (meaning that it is one
    that will be a big seller on Amazon or
    not)?

    More specifically, is it best to use
    selling price, sales ranking, both of
    them or something else that would
    indicate probable success with a sale.
    If you used the Amazon sales ranking,
    what would be a reasonable number (5000,
    20,000 etc.) to use so that the book
    would sell.

  • Michele

    One of the questions I have is once you
    have the scanner & PDA, what kind of
    criteria do you put in them so that the
    machine will tell you whether or not to
    buy the book (meaning that it is one
    that will be a big seller on Amazon or
    not)?

    More specifically, is it best to use
    selling price, sales ranking, both of
    them or something else that would
    indicate probable success with a sale.
    If you used the Amazon sales ranking,
    what would be a reasonable number (5000,
    20,000 etc.) to use so that the book
    would sell.

  • http://www.sellyourbooksonline.com/ adam

    Michele,

    Most likely, the book scout would use the sales rank and possibly the lowest used price that the book is selling for on Amazon. This would mean that I have a setting that would perhaps “ding” whenever a sales rank of 100,000 or lower with a selling price of $10 or more. If the books at the sale are selling for a buck, then you would always be picking up books that have a good sales rank with a decent selling price.

  • http://www.sellyourbooksonline.com adam

    Michele,

    Most likely, the book scout would use the sales rank and possibly the lowest used price that the book is selling for on Amazon. This would mean that I have a setting that would perhaps “ding” whenever a sales rank of 100,000 or lower with a selling price of $10 or more. If the books at the sale are selling for a buck, then you would always be picking up books that have a good sales rank with a decent selling price.

  • Michele

    Thank you very much Adam, very helpful
    and useful information. Do you sell books?
    Any information you can give would be
    very welcomed! Thanks again.

  • Michele

    Thank you very much Adam, very helpful
    and useful information. Do you sell books?
    Any information you can give would be
    very welcomed! Thanks again.

  • http://www.sellyourbooksonline.com/ adam

    Yes, I do sell books. What would you like to know? :)

  • http://www.sellyourbooksonline.com adam

    Yes, I do sell books. What would you like to know? :)

  • http://twitter.com/preciousthebook PRECIOUS WILLIAMS

    Very interesting!

  • http://twitter.com/preciousthebook PRECIOUS WILLIAMS

    Very interesting!

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