7 Tips to Follow Your PRINT Book Sales

10 Oct


Amazon gives authors detailed information on Author Central how you can follow your print book sales – or if you can receive any information at all about the sales of your paperback or hardcover book. Not easy to follow up your actual print book sales numbers.

1. When Will You Get Sales Numbers:
Should you be a lucky bestseller author, you can follow your numbers hourly: The Amazon Bestsellers Rank History graph is updated every hour in Author Central and on your books’ detail pages on
Each Friday, 12:00am Pacific Time/ 3am Eastern Time, new sales numbers for print books by Nielsen BookScan data appear.

–  Sales by Geography BookScan divides the continental US into geographic areas, known as Designated Market Areas (DMAs), by       ZIP codes
–  Sales by Week

2. Will You Receive Sales Numbers?
Amazon’s sales tab lets you see how your print books were selling in the U.S. A. during the last 4 weeks. Your PRINT book sales figures are provided by Nielsen BookScan and include ca. 3/4 of the retail print book sales in the U.S., including – most – of Amazon print sales.

Sales Numbers DO NOT INCLUDE for example:

– Books published through CreateSpace
– All Sales to Libraries
– Purchases by wholesalers
– Sales of used books
– Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) sales
– Pre-orders—orders for a book before the book is released

And Amazon warns: “If a disproportionate number of your books are sold by stores that do not report to Nielsen, your sales information may underestimate your total sales. If your book is registered with Ingram (largest whole sale company), you will see sales info. If your book is Print-on-Demand, (such as CreateSpace, LS Spark, Lulu or BookBaby) your publishing company may not report ISBNs to Ingram and you may not see any sales information.”

3. Amazon Explains How They Get the Numbers
Author Central obtains sales data from Nielsen BookScan. To be reported, a book’s seller must participate in Nielsen BookScan and the book must appear in BookScan’s bibliography. This bibliography is generated from a number of third party sources including the Ingram Book Company. CreateSpace books may be eligible for the Bookstores & Online Retailers outlet of the “Expanded Distribution Channel”, which includes enrolment with the Ingram Book Company. Contact CreateSpace to learn more about the “Expanded Distribution Channel”.
Nielsen “estimates” they report “approximately” 75% of print book sales in the US retail market, depending on which retailers participate in Nielsen (pretty costly!). Additionally, different reporting time periods result in different reports data between Author Central and your publisher or distributor.

4. How to Use the Sales Info Tab
The Sales Info tab in Author Central helps you identify sales TRENDS. The information shown on this tab is provided by Nielsen BookScan, and is not meant to replace reports you receive from your publisher. If you have more than one book in your bibliography, the Sales Info tab defaults to an All Books view, which displays the total number of copies of your entire bibliography sold. To see copies sold for an individual book, click the orange triangle next to the All Books heading and select an individual book. BookScan “Highlights” tell you how many copies sold in the most recent week. Sales by Geography and Sales by Week tell you how many copies sold in the time period selected.

5. Amazon Bestseller Rank History
Amazon: “Our Bestsellers Rank History page shows the bestseller rank summary of all your books. Selecting an individual book shows a chart of your book’s Amazon Bestsellers Rank over time. Sales ranks are updated every hour of every day around-the-clock. Bestsellers Rank does not include sales from any of our International websites”. Only the US Bestsellers are displayed. Bestsellers Rank shows how well books in the catalog are selling – relative to other books in the catalog.

6. Foreign Sales Data
Currently, Author Central provides Nielsen BookScan sales data about their U.S. sales only, to you, the Author Central member .

7. Kindle Books NOT Included in BookScan
Members of the Kindle Direct Publishing program have access to reporting data, which is updated weekly. You can view your sales reports there.

Is Your Book Successful Selling?
There are more ways to measure if you are right on track to Bestsellerdom – worldwide – using Aaron Shepard’s Sales Rank Express.  Here are even more numbers about book sales and author earnings in general – also not about your own book: The 7K ReportThe other question is “How much money do I earn with my book”? Read this humorous article by Patrick Wensink on




If you would like to get more support in all things publishing, have your book intensively promoted and learn how to navigate social media sites – or to learn how you can make yourself a name as an author through content writing: We offer all this and more for only $179 for three months – or less than $2 per day! Learn more about this customized Online Seminar / Consulting for writers:

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