Amazon Is Now Ranking Authors Based On Overall Sales, And Updating That List Hourly

Amazon Hourly Sales Ranking

Amazon has introduced a new metric writers will obsessively refresh their browsers for--author rankings, based on overall sales and updated hourly! 

Check it out here!

As of Oct. 10 at 9:42 p.m. (when I wrote this post), Sylvia Day was the most popular author in all of Amazon. She is an erotic novelist I have never heard of. Rounding out the top five is E.L. James, Suzanne Collins, Rick Riordan and James Patterson. 

The writing community has been positively atwitter on Twitter about this. Some people are annoyed at finding another metric to obsess over. Some writers are brushing it off, calling it unimportant to the overall industry. 

Sci-fi/fantasy writer John Scalzi has an interesting take on his blog, which you should check out, but here's the money: 

Authors who start to worry about their Amazon ranking should likewise be aware that by doing so they’re allowing Amazon to define their success to a greater or lesser extent… and they should really ask who ultimately benefits the most from that: Amazon or them. Amazon isn’t (necessarily) evil, but Amazon is interested in its own goals, many of which may ultimately be at cross purposes to an authors’ own. Amazon will be happy to frame your career to suit its own purposes. All you have to do is let them.

Do you obsess over stats? Are they a fun way to keep track of the industry? Or do you think they're a distraction? Is this information overload? Does it even matter to the overall industry? 

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Richard's picture
Richard from St. Louis is reading various anthologies October 12, 2012 - 7:45am

yeah, i saw this. then i of course went to check my rankings. in the end, it may actually help some people, but there's really no point in obsessing over it.

even if i am the 1,189th best selling horror author on amazon.

(and that's my BEST ranking across genres).

Tom1960's picture
Tom1960 from Athens, Georgia is reading Blindness by Jose Saramago October 12, 2012 - 9:34am

Thank you for including Mr. Scalzi's quote.  He makes a good point about the publishing industry framing the careers of writers. 

The question that arises from this is: What's more important, the content of the work or how well it sells?

Look at it this way, Ford sells more cars than Mercedes.  Which do you want?

JEFFREY GRANT BARR from Central OR is reading Nothing but fucking Shakespeare, for the rest of my life October 14, 2012 - 12:08am

Nothing wrong with an F-150. So stoked to see Gillian Flynn, who I would consider to be a future master of her genre, to be right up there. Not so happy to see people like O'Reilly and Dugard, as those yellow bastards sully the very act of writing.