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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What does the email you send with ranking information look like?

We've prepared a sample of what a consolidated email showing several book rankings at one time would look like. Click here to see the sample email.

Do you provide the actual number of copies of my book sold?

No. We do not have access to sales information from any source. Our ranking service shows information gathered from Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble, not sales figures or rankings of books sold outside those two stores.

Amazon.com in November 2010 added a tool for authors to check some retail sales information in the United States via the company's Author Central site. After registering with the site and proving your authorship of titles listed by Amazon, you can receive the last four weeks of sales data from BookScan, a firm that tracks about 75 percent of U.S. retail sales, including data from Amazon.com. Amazon charges nothing for this access.

How many copies of my book were sold on Amazon and Barnes & Noble?

Amazon's own words from their Web site:

We don't provide sales information to authors and publishers at this time due to the competitive nature of our business. It is recommended that authors contact their publisher, or publishers contact their distributors, for more information concerning the sales of their titles. 

Barnes & Noble does not provide any accessible information about books sales. Authors should contact their publisher for further information.

How are Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble rankings determined?

Here’s what Amazon states on its Web site:

What does the sales rank mean?
Our sales rank is a bestseller list much like The New York Times Best Sellers list, except instead of listing just the top 50 or so titles, it includes millions! The lower the number, the higher the popularity for that particular title in comparison to other items listed. Items are ranked within their product category only, so a book ranked at Number 1 is the best-selling book at Amazon.com, but may not be the overall best-selling item.

By "within their product category," Amazon means that books are ranked only among books, DVDs among DVDs, and so on; they provide ranking information across all their product categories. On frequency, Amazon also notes:

Sales rank data is calculated hourly. While we cannot provide specific information about our calculation formula, Amazon.com Marketplace sales are also included in the calculation. Please keep in mind that our sales rank figures are simply meant to be a guide of general interest for the customer and not definitive sales information for publishers - we assume you have this information regularly from your distribution sources.

For Existing Users

I've signed up for hourly deliveries, but I don't seem to receive them every hour of the day?

For sanity's sake, we only deliver hourly messages as frequently as once per hour (if the ranking changes, of course) from 3 a.m. to 6 p.m. Pacific Time (6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Eastern). Because of how bookstores manipulate their sites overnight, we're concerned that you could wake up each morning with several messages that don't provide new information.

If I am away from my office or home, can I stop the ranking messages until I return?

Yes. Access your account settings and click on “Edit Account Settings.” Click “Suspend Notifications” and your messages will not resume until you return and click “Resume Notifications.”

We reserve the right to suspend notification if you don’t do it yourself, to avoid being inundated with “out of office” messages while you’re away. If we do need to suspend your messages, we will resume notification for you on the date indicated in your “out of office” email.

I'd like to add several ISBNs at a time. Is there a way to do this?

There is a special page for multiple entries. Log into your account, click "Add multiple items to track" in the upper right under the Welcome banner.


For other questions, contact staff@booksandwriters.com



Copyright ©1999-2016 Books & Writers and Charles Fleishman. No warranties are made express or implied about the accuracy, timeliness, merit, or value of the information provided. Information subject to change without notice. Please note: Rank Monitoring Service is not affiliated with Amazon.com, Inc., or barnesandnoble.com. Last updated February 2016.