Tuesday, 14 December 2010

More statistics to give authors ulcers - thanks, Amazon!

A while ago some pointed me to Novel Rank while emphasing that it was like a drug for authors. You can't help going back to find out how your sales at Amazon are going. Now Amazon itself has come up with another way for authors to become depressed (or joyful if they've written bestsellers). It's part of the Amazon.com facility Author Central.

I ought to briefly deviate here to berate Amazon on its inconsistancy. Author Central is a great feature that lets authors add lots of information about themselves - even links to their blogs - that can be easily accessed from their books' pages. But it's only on Amazon.com. It's not available on Amazon.co.uk. This really isn't good enough - get your act together, Amazon!

Any road up, this Author Central thingy now features a tab labelled 'Sales info.' Click it and you get all sorts of interesting statistics about your book sales in the US. There are total sales, breakdowns by geographic area and sales breakdowns for your three biggest selling titles. Now getting this on Amazon sales would be good - but this is actually much better. They are Neilsen BookScan sales. BookScan collects sales data from 10,000 retailers, online and offline - it's real sales data for real shops. Admittedly it doesn't have 100% cover. They reckon they report around 75% of retail print sales (no ebooks). So it includes Amazon, Borders and Barnes & Noble, for instance, but not Wal-Mart or Sam's Club. Even so it's a powerful reflection of what's going on.

If you have books published in the US, can you resist? If you can take the rough with the smooth, take yourself off to Author Central and register. But don't say I didn't warn you.

In the image, don't ask me why Texas is yellow - it isn't on the original screen, it just happened in the screen capture process. You may like to know I'm most popular in New York, then LA - but that may well be true of most authors.
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