Tag Archives: api

Sales Rank Checking Scripts Updated for v4

This is just a quick update to let you know that the background checks that power the hourly data collection for NovelRank have been completely rewritten. While they have had improvements and tweaks over the last 6 years, this new design is leaps and bounds better since being rewritten.


  • Each domain runs its own independent script. Previously, only Amazon.com and Amazon.de were independent. This means no more books on say, Amazon.fr, that are active but don’t have a new sales rank for days or weeks due to script inefficiency.
  • More books checked per hour. When NovelRank started, Amazon restricted API requests to a certain number per hour. Thus, NovelRank’s scripts were designed around that. Now, they are throttled based on API calls/second. Thus, the new scripts can slow down when Amazon asks, but otherwise make better use of every second in every hour to get sales rank data.
  • PRO user books every hour, on the hour. Previously, NovelRank put PRO books first as promised, however it would then run the rest of the books which sometimes took more than 1 hour to complete. It would not check PRO books again until that was done, so PRO books would be first, but still may miss an hour of sales rank data. Now, as soon as it is a new hour, PRO books are processed, pausing any current processing, ensuring hourly sales rank data at a consistent time of the hour, each hour.

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Amazon.cn (China) Close to Launching Product Advertising API

Amazon.cn — Joyo, the China version of Amazon.com has been live for a while now, and a few months ago Amazon.cn (China) and Amazon.it (Italy) were added to the associates affiliate program. One of the main driving forces for the associates program is the use of Amazon’s product advertising API. This is what enables sites like NovelRank and thousands of others to access data about products listed on a specific Amazon domain.

While nothing has been officially announced, recent functionality has lead me to believe that Amazon.cn will soon have the product advertising API available. A few months ago, it was not responding at all. A few months later, it was not processing requests properly. Now, it seems to be functioning properly on the simplest of requests: an item lookup by ASIN. Until it is announced, I don’t intend to add the domain to NovelRank for book tracking, however I expect this will be available very soon. There will need to be a few steps to integrate the new domain, however the steps are minor and it will part of the NovelRank domain options within a few hours or days of the release of the Amazon.cn API.

What about Amazon.it (Italy)?

Requests against this fledgling API asks you to provide an already established marketplace: France, United Kingdom, or Germany. My guess is that this behaviour means that Amazon is not interested in making the Amazon.it marketplace unique in the near future, and thus the API will be on the back burner.

Can anyone else use this information?

If Aaron over at SalesRankExpress is able to resolve his current issues with Amazon’s API, I expect that as soon as the API is announced, he will be enabling it as an option in his all-inclusive static requests for information about products on Amazon. I expect that few other websites will be as quick to adapt and include the new domain, but if they are multi-domain now, it won’t take much, so this post acts as a heads-up.

Stay tuned for Amazon.cn to be available for tracking sometime in 2011 (guesstimate)!

Amazon Reviews Changing on November 8th

A recent email from Amazon stated that they will no longer provide all the details about reviews, such as the total number of reviews which NovelRank uses to give you a quick indication about the books that you are tracking. Instead, they will only provide a URL that displays all the review content in a box within a webpage. This begins on November 8th, 2010.

Therefore, on November 8th, I will remove the ‘review’ count from being displayed on NovelRank and change the ‘reviews’ link on a book’s details page to load this special URL within NovelRank. Sorry folks, not much that can be done here. More information can be found (for the technically minded) in Amazon’s API documentation.

Amazon Product Advertising API and Kindle Edition Books

Update: January 23, 2010 8:00am MDT
NovelRank now offers Kindle book tracking again! http://www.novelrank.com/blog/tracking-kindle-sales-rank-book-tracker-available/

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As of 11pm EDT on August 13th, 2009, some problems have been creeping up in the interactions with the Amazon API. NovelRank uses the API to gather Sales Rank data about paperbacks, hardcovers, and kindle edition books. First the problem was 1 book (the first one ever added), then an hour later 2… 24 hours later, all Kindle Edition books tracked by NovelRank are not returning any SalesRank numbers.

There is an erroneous error being returned by Amazon:

Originally I suspected a bug, but as the day has moved on, it looks like a deliberate move by Amazon to no longer make Kindle book information (SalesRank specifically) available. I’ve posted in their forums and will continue to try and get some word from Amazon on the status. It would be unfortunate if this was blocked, since many authors don’t have direct access to the sales numbers provided by Amazon for Kindle books unless they are self-published and added it themselves rather than their publisher.

Hopefully more info will come soon. Till then, current Sales Rank for Kindle Edition books will be shown as 0. I’ll keep trying; let’s hope it works out for the better.

Update: August 19, 2009 2:16pm MDT
It seems Kindle Edition books are also not being returned via the API ‘ItemLookup’ either. Kindle Edition books are being completely blocked. Tested with an ASIN based ItemLookup. No response or word from Amazon on the forums at all.

Update: September 30, 2009 7:29pm MDT
Aaron Shepard over at SalesRankExpress has called it quits on Amazon Kindle books through the API, and has proposed a theory as to why on on his blogin the Sept. 20th post. He’s also updated it with the same update I’m about to give: Amazon, without explanation, has confirmed this to be permanent. For now, Kindle Edition books will no longer be added to NovelRank and hopefully in the next few months, I’ll write all new code to add Kindle Edition books as well as scrape Amazon.com for SalesRank. This will take a notable amount of work, so it will be pushed off till the future. Sorry folks, this is frustrating for me as well as an author of a paperback and Kindle book.