Book Sales Rankings

Pursuit of Honor book cover
I was recently asked what amount of book sales lead to rankings averaging 100, 1000, etc. Put another way, how many books would an author have to sell in a given month to have an average ranking for the month of 1000? So, I dug back into the book sales estimates and came up with 3 examples.

This is based on data on only. For, you can roughly estimate that it takes only 80% of the number of sales on to equate to the same average ranking. For Canada, Germany, Japan, and France, it is approximately 65%, though there is not enough data in NovelRank to depend on that percentage.

Sales Rank Average: 1000 (paperback, hardcover, etc)

Example book: Pursuit of Honor by Vince Flynn
About 250 copies were sold to maintain a sales rank around 1000. That makes it 8 books per day, with a sale occurring every 3 hours, or maybe 2 books selling every 6 hours! Either way, this is a very healthy sales rank.

Sales Rank Average: 100 (paperback, hardcover, etc)

Example book: The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery and Alison Anderson
Almost 2000 copies were sold in May to garner an average sales rank of 106. That is a selling rate of at least 3 books per hour! What is likely is that this number may actually be notably higher, as sales rank changes are less defined or varied at this level, however it is hard to verify.

Sales Rank Average: 2000 (Kindle Edition books)

Example book: In the Mood by Ellen Fisher
Selling approximately 500 kindle books a month will lead to an average sales rank around 2000 for your book. To do this, you need to sell about 16 books a day or 1 book every 90 minutes.

Note: This Kindle sales estimate is based upon real sales data from Amazon DTP provided to me from the author. NovelRank is currently underestimating for Kindle Edition books with a Sales Rank below 4000.

Hopefully this is enlightening for you. Remember, the strength of NovelRank is not in raw numbers; You will get those from your publisher eventually, but rather in understanding the fluctuations so you can attribute your best marketing efforts to the strongest sales bumps in near real-time.

Disclaimer: NovelRank book sales estimates are based on fluctuations of sales rank and thus there are many factors (another blog post coming soon) that can cause for more sales to occur than is estimated by NovelRank. These numbers are estimates.

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    3 thoughts on “Book Sales Rankings

    1. Sue Clifton

      My publisher told me that Amazon sometimes puts a book ranking lower than it really is just to promote it. My case is one of my books Ingredient for Murder has a sales ranking of about 38,000, not so good but should indicate something sold but Novelrank only shows 3 books sold. Is the statement about Amazon true and how many books would a rannking of 38,000 be, approximately. I love your website but really need to understand it. Thanks for any reply forthcoming.

    2. Laurens Valk

      Hi! I wanted to reply to the sales estimates of the 1000 average rank for a paperback. I see that you mention an average of 8 books sold per day. This is also the case for my book (slightly more), 9781593272111, but it has a monthly average rank of 3,000 rather than 1,000.

      By the way, thanks for creating this site — it’s great.


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