Saturday, March 24, 2007

The Writing Life: My Book Rankings

One of the secret pleasures/fears of most current authors is frequently checking out their book rankings on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. It's not quite clear what these rankings actually mean and here and there one finds on the web some speculative/investigative articles on what these rankings mean. BN and Amazon have very different formulas and I strongly suspect that BN is more directly reflective of current sales. Those who get into Amazon analysis have put forth a couple of guidelines. The conventional wisdom is that every hour Amazon republishes the top 10,000 sellers and every 24 hours they update the 100,000 best sellers. What time period is used to calculate the rankings is hard to say and different boundaries might have different formulas. Does a ranking reflect sales in the last hour, week, month, year? Amazon won't say.

I am, of course not immune, to this practice, but I try to keep it in check. So it was somewhat of a surprise tonight, when I saw that Amazon had The Judas Brief ranked at 79,728, especially since they have no descriptive info up yet and the book is not due out for a couple of months yet. Of course, a few minutes from now it might drop down into the high six figure ranks. I almost never look at the non-US sights for my sales ranks but by coincidence I wound up on Amazon.UK and was pleased to see that my 101 Myths of the Bible ranked at 18,486 (in English sales.)

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