Do you ever wonder why some books gain the orange bestseller flag on Amazon while others never move up in the rankings?
Ultimately sales are at the heart of the problem - but it's also not as simple as selling a few more books.
Being a best-selling book on Amazon is a very nuanced process that depends on a variety of factors:
- Keywords and categories for your book
- Which book is already doing well in each of those categories
- First-week sales of your book
- Whether you're looking at Kindle or print rankings
- How and when books are promoted, and how much they're priced
That's only the beginning.
The good news is that you only need to be the first book in one category to reach the #1 spot-and some categories are easier than others.
We will show you how many books you need to sell to become a bestseller, and how to calculate how many sales you need to hit the bestseller list in this post.
So, How Many Books Need to Be Sold to Be a Bestseller on Amazon
It is estimated you need to sell 3,500 to 5,000 copies in 24 hours to crack #1 on Amazon in the USA. That is no small task.
You might be able to call yourself a 'bestselling author' even if you only move a handful of books if you set some reasonable targets for yourself. When you realize how many writers hang their self-worth on the fact that they are on these lists, it's pretty sobering.
Understanding Best Seller Rankings On Amazon
There is an Amazon best-seller ranking for every book. The current best-selling book on Amazon Kindle is Number 1 and the worst-selling book is #4,959,688. Every hour, Amazon updates its sales rankings based on an algorithm that counts all book sales for the past 30 days.
Why is this important? When you have more sales than the #1 book in the last hour and are ranked #2, your book will replace the #1 book on the next hourly update.
On Amazon, all book rankings are relative. To outrank your competition, you have to sell more books in a given time period than they do. There is a huge surge in sales during the Christmas season, for example (the busiest time of year for book sales), which causes the rankings to shift a lot more because of the increased sales and changes in customer purchasing habits.
How Does Amazon Count KENP Pages Towards Bestseller Lists?
To calculate your Kindle Best Seller ranking, Amazon counts the number of pages your customers read when they borrow your eBook through Kindle Unlimited (KU) or the Kindle Owner's Lending Library (KOLL).
When it comes to Kindle Select books, Amazon counts one sale to calculate your Kindle Best Seller Ranking every time the KENP (Kindle Edition Normalized Pages) Read reaches about 60% of your estimated Kindle eBook page count.
Accordingly, if your Kindle eBook is 100 pages long, Amazon will count every 65 KENP (Kindle Edition Normalized Pages) Read in your KDP Reports as one sale toward determining your Kindle Best Seller Ranking.
Publishers who use KDP Select can dramatically increase their Amazon sales rankings if a lot of readers borrow their books through KODI or KU. (Provided the books are actually read!).
How To Calculate Exactly How Many Books Need To Be Sold To Hit A Category’s Bestseller List On Amazon
With individual categories, things get a bit more exciting. TCK Publishing's free Book Sales Calculator allows you to know EXACTLY how many books you need to sell in any of the 42,521+ categories on Amazon to hit #1.
The sales calculator lets you put in any book's Amazon Best Sellers Rank and provides you with a breakdown of how many sales you need to generate within a 30-day or 24-hour period to reach the sales rank.
If, for example, you know that the number one book in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Romance > Historical > Regency has a Paid Kindle Sales Rank of #1,060, then the calculator will tell you that you need 2,650 sales in 30 days or 177 sales in one day to achieve that same ranking and become number one in that category.