It goes without saying that Amazon have given writers a fantastic publishing platform and have removed the shackles that once bound the book publishing industry. With Kindle Direct Publishing and Createspace, Amazon allows any author or small publisher to get their books to the market easily, efficiently and economically. At the same time, it’s a two-way street. The popularity of self publishing and the acceptance of it by readers has given Amazon a huge chunk of the book market and has underpinned the success of the Kindle e-reader.
From this, logic would dictate that the more successful and saleable authors become, the more profit will be made by Amazon. If this is the case however, Amazon could do a lot more to support the authors that are helping Amazon reap the profits.
Amazon are famously, or more likely, infamously known for their lack of transparency and secrecy. This attitude creates a handicap when it comes to trying to analyse book sales. For those who are publishing via Amazon in paperback or ebook, the amount of sales data available could best be described as minimalist to the extreme. Basically it’s just units sold and royalty received.
Without breaking their ‘code of silence‘ or privacy rules, Amazon could be a little more helpful and in doing so would assist publishers increase sales and therefore increase Amazon’s profits. While the following ideas will surely never be forthcoming, it would make for a better publishing world if Amazon helped out just a little.
Sales by region. While Kindle sales are reported from US (inc. India) there is no breakdown as to where sales came from. Indiana or India? US sales also come from many countries not serviced by an Amazon Store, so without this information it is impossible to know if a book is more popular in New York, New Delhi or New Zealand.
Repeat sales. Do readers buy other books by the same author? If they buy one particular book, is there a trend as to which book they buy next? This information would be invaluable in knowing which titles to promote.
Sales by time. When do people buy books? Morning afternoon or evening. Do they buy more books on the weekend? As social media plays such an important role in book marketing, this would be very useful information.
Free promotions data. So little data is available for a KDP Select promotion. While a little is given during a promotion by listing the book’s ‘free bestseller‘ rating, this information disappears immediately and is lost forever. It makes this form of promotion really ‘hit and miss’ and leaves one using guess work in trying to decide when, how long and how often to use free book promotion.
A longer 100. All of Amazon’s bestseller lists are based on only one hundred books. With the number of books available now, surely one thousand would be a better list so that more books could get some extra exposure.
Rank. Unless your book is in the top one hundred in it’s genre, it’s a pain to have to use external sites to ascertain a book’s Amazon ranking. Surely Amazon could give this information to authors in an easy to find location.
So, what’s on your Amazon wish list?