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Rampant TechPress
Author Book Sales Tracking

In addition, please read "Inside Amazon Sales Rank" and "making a bestseller"

Tracking your actual book sales

There are very few ways for authors and publishers to track "real" sales of books.  There is the super-expensive A. C. Neilsen "Bookscan" reports that show actual sales but only the very largest companies can afford this expensive service.  We also cannot estimate the "real" sales of a book from the qualities that are shipped to the stores.  Remember, all "sales to stores" are made with full rights of return, and they could all come-back.

Many authors want to know how well that their book is selling and have a tool to analyze the sales of competing titles.  Unfortunately, this is not easy to do.  Rampant gets reports about the number of books shipped out of the warehouse to bookstores, but some of these (20% - 30%) will be returned to the warehouse.

Also, if you see “returns” on a royalty statement, it DOES NOT mean that people purchased, hated you book, and retuned your book to the store.  Rather, it just means that your book was shipped to a bookstore where it was not purchased promptly and it was returned to the warehouse for re-distribution.

In sum, Rampant TechPress periodically gets warehouse ship-out data, but all books are sent to the bookstores with full right-of return, so warehouse shipments do NOT accurately track sales velocity.  It may up to year before we know how many books “walked out the door” of the bookstores.

This is also an issue when trying to track sales of competing titles.  We do not have access to the sales of competitors books (unless they ship 3rd class mail, where we can get a US Post office report), so we need at tool to estimate actual sales.

So, how do we track “real” sales?  I use Amazon, snap-scan ( and Junglescan (   The Amazon Sales Rank (ASR) is the only “free” way to judge the true sales velocity for your book. 





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