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Sales Information

The Sales Info tab lets you see how your print books are selling across the U.S. for the past four weeks. Figures are provided by Nielsen BookScan and include approximately 75% of all retail print book sales in the U.S., including most of Amazon print sales*.

Before describing how to use the Sales Info tab, let us answer some of the things authors frequently ask about:

Sales figures

Sales figures from retailers include:

  • Print sales by more than 10,000 retailers, including:
    • Amazon print sales*
    • Barnes & Noble
    • Deseret Book Company
    • Hastings
    • Target
    • Follett College stores
    • Buy.com
  • Returns from retailers (For example, if in one week, you sold 10 books and 2 were returned to a retailer, BookScan would show 8 books sold.)

Sales figures do not include:

  • Sales from Wal-Mart and Sam's Club
  • Sales to libraries
  • Purchases by wholesalers such as Ingram
  • Sales of used books
  • Books published through CreateSpace
  • Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) sales
  • Pre-orders—orders for a book before the book is released

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.

* Note about Amazon print sales: Sales reported depend on which retailers selling your book participate in Nielsen BookScan, and whether your book is registered with one of the companies from which Nielsen derives its list of reported ASINs. If your book is registered with the Ingram Company, for example, you will see sales info. If your book is Print on Demand, your publishing company may not report ISBNs to Ingram and you may not see sales information.

To see additional data, contact Nielsen using their contact form. Put Author Central in the first line of your message. Nielsen charges a fee for this additional data.

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How your book sales figures reach us

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 enrollment with the Ingram Book Company. Contact CreateSpace to learn more about the Expanded Distribution Channel.

If your book is not registered with the Ingram Book Company, you may not see BookScan sales information in Author Central.

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Amazon sales data

Most Amazon print sales are included in the sales figures; however, Kindle or other eBook sales are not included because those figures are not reported by Nielsen BookScan.

Sales figures also do not include Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) sales. With FBA sales, Amazon is facilitating delivery and customer service on behalf of an actual seller, but Amazon is not the seller of record. If you have a seller account and are signed up for FBA, you can see similar data in the Customer Shipment Sales report in your Seller Central account.

To see sales data for Amazon sales, you must participate in one of our direct-publishing programs: CreateSpace.com or Kindle Direct Publishing. These programs provide a way to see manufacturing reports (Create Space) or sales information (Kindle Direct Publishing).

  • CreateSpace is an Amazon company where your books are printed on demand. For this reason, sales of your CreateSpace book on Amazon may not appear on the Sales Info tab. However, your CreateSpace book might be eligible for enrollment with the Ingram Book Company, which does report sales to BookScan. Contact CreateSpace and ask if your book qualifies for the Bookstores & Online Retailers outlet of the Expanded Distribution Channel and if it’s right for you. All CreateSpace members can see a manufacturing report, which shows the volume of their books printed to meet the demand of various sales channels.

  • Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) (formerly Digital Text Platform, or DTP) allows any rights holder to publish a Kindle book on Amazon for free. Members of the KDP program have access to reporting data, which is updated weekly. You can view your sales reports here.

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Sales figures might not match reports from your publisher

It's likely that not all sales of your print books will be reflected in the features on the Sales Info tab. Nielsen estimates they report approximately 75% of print book sales in the US retail market. Sales reported in these features depend on which retailers selling your book participate in Nielsen. Additionally, different reporting time periods result in different reports data between Author Central and your publisher or distributor. Nielsen BookScan data is updated every week for the most recent week’s sales; sales on Amazon.com and other retailers may not be reported to your publisher or distributor on the same schedule.

The Sales Info tab in Author Central is meant to allow you to see sales trends, but is not meant to replace reports you receive from your publisher.

When your book sales are reported

The Amazon Bestsellers Rank History graph is updated every hour in Author Central and on your books’ detail pages on Amazon.com.

Each Friday, by 12:00 A.M. Pacific Time, new BookScan data appears in the Sales by Geography and Sales by Week features. The data shown there includes sales information about your print books from the previous Monday to the most recent Sunday. Data may occasionally be updated before Friday.

Time period covered by sales reports

Sales reports cover the most recent two year period, with information from the most recent week replacing the oldest week. Each week data from the most recent week replaces data from the oldest week. To see additional data, contact Nielsen using their contact form. Include “Author Central” in the subject line. Nielsen charges a fee for this additional data.

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Using 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

BookScan Highlights gives you an at-a-glance summary of your print book sales for the previous Monday through the most recent Sunday, and how the current week’s sales changed from that week. You’ll find the highlights at the top of the Sales Info page, both for the All Books view and for individual books. BookScan Highlights are updated weekly.

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.

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Sales by Geography from BookScan

BookScan divides the continental US into geographic areas, known as Designated Market Areas (DMAs). These are the same geographic areas in which local television viewing is measured by The Nielsen Company. DMAs are organized by zip codes, and are typically named after the largest city within the area.

Areas of the map that are filled with light gray diagonal lines are Combined Areas. Generally, these are sparsely populated areas with high concentrations of sales by a few retail outlets. Sales volumes for these areas are combined to obscure any one retailer’s sales volume.

Sales by Week from BookScan

In All Books view, the line represents weekly sales for all formats of all books reported by BookScan. If you have more then four books in your bibliography, we'll display your top three best selling, and combine the rest of your sales under the heading All Other Books on the key to the right of the graph. Check the box next to the title you want to add to the chart. If you hover your mouse over a point on the chart, you’ll see the number of copies sold for a specific book or format. The key on the right of the chart shows which color represents which book or format.

To see details of sales for an individual book, either select the book from the key on the right (if it is one of your top three best sellers) or from the All Books pull down. When a book has more than four formats, we display the top three and aggregate the rest under “All Other Formats.”

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Amazon Bestsellers Rank History

The Amazon 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.

Bestsellers Rank shows how well books in the catalog are selling relative to other books in the catalog. Like golf, lower numbers are better. A paperback book with a rank of #1 is the best-selling book in the Books store.

Sales rank is a relative measure. Your print books are ranked among all books in our Books store, and your Kindle books are ranked among free or paid books in the Kindle store. Remember, this chart shows comparisons of your book with all other books in the catalog, so individual sales of your book might not result in a change in ranking. For example:

  • A copy of your book sold, but the Bestsellers Rank did not change. This can happen because the rank is a comparison of your book with all other books in the catalog. Your book may have been purchased recently, but if books in the rest of the catalog have recently been purchased more often than yours, your rank may remain constant or might drop.

  • No copies of your book were sold, but the Bestsellers Rank changed by 20,000. Your book's rank can and will change even though its sales may not have changed. Let's say your book sells an average of one copy every week. All of the sudden, you notice that its rank has improved unexpectedly. If the group of other books that are selling approximately one copy a week drop on average, while your book's sales rate remains the same, your rank may improve. Of course, it’s a two-way street. Your rank may drop even though you consistently sell one copy a week.

  • The rank for your book fluctuates a lot, while the ranks for other books hardly fluctuate at all. When we calculate Bestsellers Rank, we consider the entire sales history of a book. The ranking for books that have been available on Amazon for a long time, and which have consistent selling histories, may fluctuate less than the ranking of new books or books whose sales histories aren't as stable. One sale of a very popular book may not influence its rank, but one sale of a lower volume book may be much more significant to that book’s rank.

The Amazon Bestsellers Rank History shows multiple blue points and an orange point.

  • Blue points show a daily snapshot of your book’s Bestsellers Rank, recorded around midnight, Pacific Time. They show only that one point in time, and do not represent averages of your book’s rank throughout the day.
  • The orange point is a snapshot of the book’s rank right now. It’s taken at the beginning of the current hour, and is updated throughout the day.

Category rankings appear in the Product Details section of a book's detail page only if the book is ranked in the Top 100 books in its category.

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Nielsen BookScan

Nielsen BookScan is the part of The Nielsen Company that measures print book sales. Nielsen began collecting point-of-sale data for print books in January 2001. You can learn more about Nielsen on their U.S. website.

We hope that providing you weekly BookScan sales data helps you develop more effective methods for reaching the widest possible audience for your books. For instance, the geographic data can help you plan and measure the effects of your next book tour, which you can promote through Author Central’s Events tab.

If you would like more detailed reports, you can contact Nielsen using their contact form. Put Author Central in the first line of your message to expedite their response. Nielsen does charge a fee for providing more detailed reports.

Foreign sales data

Currently, Author Central provides Nielsen BookScan sales data to Author Central members about their U.S. sales only.

Royalties

Royalty information is not included in the data shown on the Sales info tab. This information is not reported to us. Contact your publisher for information concerning your royalties.