New KDP authors are often confused by the Reports. The following information is also on Amazon's "Help" pages, which I strongly recommend perusing. I've tried to give the information in an accessible way, to avoid the frustration and despair that comes when you just know you have had sales, yet can't seem to find a record of them. Three previous incarnations of this thread averaged about 1500-2000 views a month, so I figured it was time to update, especially with the change in the reporting system. For those who find this helpful, I'm glad, but no need to thank me! I'm trying to keep this from getting too long.
Q So, how do I find out how many books I've sold?
A Click on Reports, up at the top of this page. You'll see various links, plus a bar graph. The graph is the easiest place to start. It has (potentially) three different color-coded elements, ebooks sold (orange), KDP paperbacks sold (grey), and ebooks given away for free (blue). If you sold both ebooks and KDP paperbacks on the same day (or other combinations), the graph will stack them. If you hover your cursor over one of the bars, it will break it down for you (3 ebooks sold, 1 paperback, for example). If you don't have KDP paperbacks and/or don't give away ebooks for free, don't worry about those colors.
So far I've focused on the upper graph, that shows sales plus freebies. We'll get to the lower graph, labeled KENP, in a minute.
Q Does the graph update instantly?
A No. Usually it will update within an hour or two for an ebook. The month-to-date report and the royalties-below-the-graph (on which see more below) take longer. If you publish a paperback through KDP-print, a sale won't actually appear in the reports until the book has been printed and shipped out, which may take a few days.
Q The graph is flat-lined. But I know I've had sales! Four of my friends said they were buying my ebook even as we spoke! Plus I "gifted" my book to my old teacher, and my credit card was already charged.
A Unfortunately, our friends and family are not always as truthful as one would hope. Maybe they meant to buy your book very soon. Maybe they read the free sample (the Look Inside) and that was it. They probably don't want to hurt your feelings. And note that if you "gift" someone a book, you are actually just giving them a gift card in the value of your book. You don't get the sale until they actually use the gift card to buy the book. And, the curs! they could use it to buy someone else's book instead of yours. (They could even use the gift card to buy socks.)
Q But they showed me their e-receipts! I know they bought my book! Why are my Reports blank?
A There are several possibilities. There is often a lag between sales and reports, especially for paperbacks, where no "sale" shows until the book is printed and shipped. This is the KDP Report. It will not show sales of print books you published through CreateSpace. Or did you publish through a third-party publisher, like Lulu or BookBaby? In that case, the sales will show up on their Reports. You'll have to ask for them. It's also possible that you logged into KDP with the wrong account. A lot of people have different publish-on-Amazon and buy-stuff-from-Amazon accounts (this is OK if you keep them strictly separate). If you log into KDP with the buy-stuff account, no sales will show, because that account hasn't published anything! (Some people have accidentally created a new account when just trying to change the password, also resulting in an account that hasn't published anything.)
Also note: if you buy "proof" or author copies of a CreateSpace or a KDP-print book, it will not show as a sale, because you earned no royalties.
Q I bought a copy of my own ebook last week, in order to check that sales really were being reported, yet the sale never appeared in Reports! The sale showed up last month when I bought my ebook, just not this time. Something must be wrong!
A If you have ever bought your own ebook (or somebody else's, for that matter), you won't get charged again if you download again. Therefore it doesn't count as a sale.
Q What does the lower graph on the Reports page show? It says KENP.
A If your book is in KDP Select (meaning that it is exclusive to Amazon as an ebook), customers who pay $10 a month to join Kindle Unlimited (KU) can "borrow" your book without paying anything extra. This KENP bar graph shows how many pages have been read of books "borrowed" through the program. KENP (Kindle Edition Normalized Pages) is the total number of page-equivalents Amazon has estimated your book to be (they try to standardize the page size).
Q So Kindle Unlimited (KU) customers can read my book, and I don't get paid anything? Not fair!
A No. You do get paid for pages-read, at the same time as you get paid your royalties for books sold to people who have not joined KU, or who want to keep your book forever. You can guesstimate that you'll be paid a little under half a cent for each page read. (Less for readers in India.)
Q So how can I tell how much of my payment is for books sold, and how much for KU pages-read?
A On the Payments report, on the far left, you'll see a little plus sign, like this +. Click that, and it will break down your payment to show total books-sold royalties and KENP payments.
Q I watched my friend, who is enrolled in Kindle Unlimited (KU), download my book. But the "borrow" graph didn't budge! Why not?
A You will get credited with a borrow only when the person who downloaded it reads some of it. This may happen hours, days, or weeks later (or never). The graph will start showing something only when the borrower starts reading. If they never read your book at all, it will never appear on your graph.
Q I figured out, by looking under the "promote" tab on my Bookshelf, that my ebook is 200 "KENP" pages long. The graph shows that I've had 400 pages read this month. Did two people read the whole book? Did four people read it halfway through? Or did one person read it twice?
A We don't actually know how many units were downloaded, just how many pages were read. (Many would like this information, but Amazon doesn't share.) In your case, forty people could even have read the first ten pages, then stopped. You should know, however, that you aren't seeing "someone reading it twice," as we're only credited for the first time they read a page.
Q We were on vacation with extended family. My cousin, who is enrolled in KU, downloaded and read my book. But I didn't see any "pages read" on the graph.
A A lot of people turn off the wifi on their Kindles to save the battery. As soon as they turn it back on (for example, to download the next book), their Kindle will connect with the mother ship, telling it how many pages were read, and you'll be credited.
Q On the month-to-date report, under KENP, it says 200. Does that mean that 200 people borrowed my book through KU?
A No, sorry, it means 200 pages were read. Most likely just one person borrowed your book if it's 200 KENP pages long.
Q Okay, it looks like I've got some sales on the graph now. But it says the graph shows "orders." What does that mean? Is that different from a sale?
A Within an hour or so of someone buying (for money) and downloading your ebook, it will show up as an "order" on the graph. However, it does not become a "sale" until their credit card charge goes through. Sometimes this happens immediately, sometimes it can take a few days, especially on weekends. Occasionally the credit card is expired or over-limit, and the sale never goes through. You only earn royalties on completed sales.
Q So, where do I find out about actual sales?
A The month-to-date Report is your friend. It is one of several specialized reports you can access from above the graph. Once a sale is complete, it will appear in month-to-date. This is a better indicator of how you're really doing than the graph. Here you will find, listed by title, any books that you sold, or gave away free, or had "borrowed" pages read during this month. Note again that it lags the graph by hours or even days, because it shows completed sales.
Q The month-to-date report shows a "return" of my ebook. What does that mean?
A It means someone decided they didn't want your ebook after all. Amazon removed it from their Kindle and gave them their money back. Amazon allows US customers to return any purchase within 7 days (I believe it's longer in the UK). An immediate return usually means someone clicked "buy" by mistake. Generally authors don't get more than 5-10% returns overall (one can have an occasional bad month) unless the book has serious issues. (However, I gather erotica has a higher return rate.) Note that returns are not reflected on the graph, that is, the graph stays the same as it was before the return. The book was, after all, ordered.
Q I was selling a steady average of two books a day. Then, a few days ago, my sales stopped cold. What happened?
A Sales are never steady. In the last few months, for example, my own daily sales have fluctuated between 0 and 27.
Think about the so-called "butterfly effect." A tiny change here (like a butterfly flapping its wings) can make a big change there, which is why we can't even predict the weather more than a couple days ahead of time, even though we understand the physics just fine. With 7 billion people on the planet, sheer randomness will make sales go up and down. We will not get a steady 2 people deciding to buy a particular book out of that 7 billion.
Q I am British, so I want to know how many other Brits have bought my book. As it is, the month-to-date report just says "all markets."
A You can toggle the month-to-date report to show sales in all the different markets individually. The same with the graph. If you set the graph to Amazon.co.uk, it will show only UK sales.
Q Yesterday, on the 31st, I had a total of 12 sales on the month-to-date report. But today, the 1st, I looked at that report and it said, "There is no data to report"! Where did all my sales go? Sales are still showing on the graph!
A The month-to-date report is just that, the record for the current month. It starts fresh every month on the 1st. Because the graph, by default, shows the previous 30 days, it doesn't correspond to the month-to-date, unless you fiddle its settings, which you can indeed do. But just pay attention to the month-to-date report.
Q It's now the middle of the month, and the month-to-date report still says, "There is no data to report." But I can't believe that. How could I not have sold any books? I saw on the web that ebooks were selling like hotcakes!
A There are over 6 million ebooks on Amazon. They cannot all sell like hotcakes. Many estimate that something like half of these books will only ever sell one or two at most, ever, including the sale to the author himself and to Mom. Let's hope this isn't you.
And note that a lot of the sites telling you how many million books you will sell are trying to get you to give them money for their "sure-fire" secret product.
Q I just noticed the royalty amounts down below the graphs. But they are all in different currencies!
A They shows how much you have earned in royalties in each of the different national Amazons in the last 30 days. Note that the royalty amount doesn't update until a sale becomes final (as previously discussed). First a sale shows on the graph as an order, then the royalty appears below the graph and the sale shows up on the month-to-date report (at about the same time), and finally your ranking will change.
Q Does this mean I'll be paid in yen or pounds or Australian dollars or ??
A No. If you have EFT/direct deposit, you will be paid in your own currency. The royalties below the graph show what you've earned in the local currency, but amounts will have been converted before they are deposited into your account. (For more on Payments, see the thread in the Payments forum, "Know Your Payments, New & Improved.")
Q My ranking improved, but no sales appeared on the graph! Something must be wrong!
A If someone in KU downloads your book, it improves your rank, just as if they bought it. But you will see no blip on the graph until they start reading it--which they may never do.
Q I have the opposite problem. A sale showed up on my month-to-date report, but my rank didn't move.
A Most authors, including me, obsess too much about ranking. Most readers don't even notice rank. Amazon's algorithms, by which they decide rank, are mysterious. If you sell a book but the charge takes a few days to clear, your rank may not change at all, because by the time the charge goes through the download is "well in the past."
Q Yesterday, the royalty amounts listed below the dashboard graph showed that I had earned $15 in royalties. But today it had dropped to $12. What happened to my money?
A The royalties list, like the graph, shows only the last 30 days by default. When a day (today) is added onto the front, a day is dropped off the back. If you sold more books 31 days ago than you did today, the royalties listed below the graph will drop. Your money is still there, just not on the list (change from the 30-day default to last-90-days and you'll see what I mean).
Q The KENP graph shows that I've had over 1500 pages-read during the last month. If Amazon claims I'm making nearly half cent a page for KU borrows, I must have made a lot more in royalties than the amount shown below the graph!
A I'm sure that you have. But the royalties below the graph are only for books sold, not borrowed. The amount you earn for pages-read of borrowed books varies slightly month to month, so Amazon doesn't tell us the amount earned from KU borrows until they are ready to release the final figures.
Q So, how do I get those final figures for the month?
A Every month, around the 15th, look for and download the "Prior-month" report (example, the September one came out around October 15). This is what you'll get when you click "generate report" at the bottom of the prior-month-royalties page. It is in the form of an Excel spreadsheet. It will show you the final audited royalties you earned, for each country, for each book. It also tells you how much you will be paid for pages-read of borrowed books. This report will show how much you'll actually get paid (6 weeks later). There are several tabs on this report; toggle between them to get a complete look at the prior month's sales and earnings.
Note: You can download a monthly report any time you like, but it will just be preliminary until the 15th of the following month. If you have MS Office with Word, you also have Excel, though if your version is old, there are free versions on the web that will work.
Q Tell me about the Payments report.
A During the last ten days of the month, payments will start appearing here, one for each country for which you've earned royalties for this pay-cycle (remember, you get paid 60 days after the end of the month in which you earn royalties). It will show your payment first in the currency in which royalties were earned, then in your local currency (assuming you have EFT). Note although it will say "paid" right away, you don't actually get the money deposited into your account until the last day of the month. (And your bank may hold it for a few more days.) Even if it continues to say "pending," you will most likely get paid on time (this has happened to me). The "pending" label is especially liable to linger long after the actual payment takes place for royalties from other countries.
Q I published for the first time in December and actually sold some books! But when I looked for the 1099 form to show how much income I had to report to the tax authorities, there was nothing there!
A For KDP, as for all sources of income, you pay tax on money paid during the year, not money earned. Earnings from December 2017 will be paid to you at the end of February 2018. You will pay tax on them along with other 2018 income, in 2019.
Q I was looking at my product page, where my ebook is listed for sale. The rank said "150,000 paid." Does this mean that I've sold 150,000 copies? But the Reports show only about 10 sales!
A Sorry, no. The rank just shows how you're doing compared to other books. The "paid" just means this is your rank compared to other books that are also for sale for money (as opposed to given away for free). The 10 copies sold is real, and you're actually doing better than most indie authors to have sold that many. There are 150,000 ebooks that are selling better than yours, but between 5 million and 6 million that are selling worse.
Q I just don't trust Amazon. I bet they're concealing my sales. That's why my graph flat-lined.
A Well, they're audited. A vast conspiracy is always possible but unlikely. If you don't trust them, pull out of KDP (once your Select period is up, if you're in Select) and sell on your own website. Any time anyone is in business, you have to trust. Amazon gives us far, far better data, and more up-to-date data, than traditional publishers. Most examples of people thinking Amazon is concealing their sales turn out to either be people who have had no sales for excellent reasons, or who just don't understand how to read the reports. Sad but true.
Q Is there any way to prove whether Amazon is actually reporting my sales?
A Have a friend who has never bought your ebook buy it. Watch them do it. Have them send you the electronic receipt. By the next day or so the sale should show up on your KDP reports, assuming you are looking at the right report and are the person to whom reports are sent and are logged in to the right account. By the way, a number of people have tried this over the years, and there has never been a documented case of Amazon bilking them out of their rightful sale.
Q I realize that the Amazon.co.uk month-to-date reports show sales in the UK. But itchy don't say exactly where in the UK. Were the sales in London or Manchester or Leeds or Edinburgh, or where? I want to go where I'm selling the most books. While I'm at it, how do I get buyers' names and addresses? I need to knock on all their doors and tell them all about my newest project.
A Amazon respects its customers' privacy. You will not get this information from them.
Q Can Amazon send me an email every time someone buys my book?
A No. You have to check the Reports for yourself. Best-selling authors would have their email inboxes permanently clogged if Amazon did this.
Q I'm looking at the graphs again. I've had a couple of sales, but I also got over 20 downloads when I ran a free "promotion." How much do I get paid for those?
A You will not be paid anything for a free giveaway. On the up side, however, you will not have to pay any download charges for freebies.
Q But I'm in Select! Shouldn't I get paid if people read the pages of the free book they downloaded?
A No, sorry. It doesn't work like that. You only get paid for pages-read of books people borrowed . If you make your book free, those who download it own it forever. It's theirs, not something they "borrowed."
Q My friend told me he bought a copy of my book, and I know he's been reading it, because he's talked to me about a couple of plot-points. But my "pages-read" graph is flat-lined! So what is going on?
A The pages-read graph only shows pages read of borrowed books (through Kindle Unlimited), not whatever pages someone who actually bought your book might have read. You get paid your royalty if someone outright buys your book whether they read it all, none of it, or somewhere in between. You get paid for pages-read only for the borrows, where the borrower didn't pay anything extra to borrow your book, beyond the $10 a month KU membership.
Q I watched my mother "loan" my sister a copy of my ebook, and she read the whole thing. But it never showed up on the pages-read graph.
A You've confused loans and borrows. (Yes, I know, it's confusing!) Any book earning 70% royalties can be "loaned" once in its life. It disappears from the Kindle of the person who bought it and appears on the other person's Kindle. After two weeks, the process is reversed. You never know this happens (unless you're observing Mom and Sis) and get paid zero. Most people with Kindles don't even know about it. On the other hand, "borrows" happen when someone who has paid to be in Kindle Unlimited decides to borrow your book. They get it for free, but you get paid for pages read (maybe half a cent a page, as already noted).
Q So how can I find my total lifetime sales figures and total lifetime earnings on KDP?
A Amazon has recently added a report called "Historical" that you can click on (above the graph). It will show you lifetime earnings and total sales. Toggle the settings back and forth to find the info you want. However, most people over the years just make their own spread sheets by adding up the data on the Prior-month reports each month.
Q I'm in Germany. Just after midnight, early in the morning of August 1, I bought a copy of my ebook (which I hadn't done before), in order to give myself at least one sale for the month. But the sale never showed up! And now here's the weird thing. My July sales increased by 1, even though the month was over!
A KDP operates on US Pacific time, 9 hours behind western European time. So for you it was very early in the morning on August 1, whereas for KDP it was afternoon on July 31. So your sale was indeed reported, but for July.
Q When I made my book free for five days as a "promotion" through Select, over 40 free copies of my book were downloaded. But ever since then, I've had no sales. Zero! Nada! Zilch! No one appears willing to pay actual actual money for my book, not even 99 cents! What is going on?
A Unfortunately, what you experienced is the normal pattern. Some people apparently like nothing better than to fill up their Kindles with freebies. Many of these books will never even get read. These days, you really have to have had tens of thousands of freebies downloaded for the word-of-mouth effect to kick in and give you a genuine sales bump.
Q Just now, when I went to look at my Reports, it showed zero sales! And the site was asking about setting up an account even though I did so months ago. Then I went to my Bookshelf, and it was totally blank! What's happened to all my books? (though I did see that they are still for sale on Amazon when I searched for them by title).
A Almost certainly you tried to log in using the wrong account. Many people (including me) had a buy-from-Amazon account long before starting to publish on KDP, and started a new, publishing account. This is fine as long as you only ever publish from the same account. But if you accidentally log onto KDP using your "buy stuff" account, everything will be blank (it may ask you for tax info as though you'd never filled it out!), because that account has never published any books. Log out and log into your correct KDP account.
Q What's the Pre-order Report?
A If you've set up a new book for Pre-order (so that people can order it before it actually goes on sale), the Pre-order report shows how many people have placed pre-orders. Once your book actually is on sale, these people can download your book. When they do so, their purchase appears on your month-to-date report and on the graph as a sale.
Q How about the Promotions/Countdown report?
A If you're running a Countdown, it will show that it's running and show you how you're doing. Note: if you are in the UK and running a US Countdown, or vice-versa, this report is the only way that you can verify your Countdown is running, because you can't see a Countdown in action unless you're physically in the country where it's happening.
Q According to Reports, I've sold a grand total of 1 paperback. But 4 used book sellers say they have my book for sale! Where did they get it?
A Relax. They don't have your book. They say they do because used-book dealers like to say they have "everything" available. If someone were to order from them rather than from Amazon directly, the dealer would have to buy a (new) copy of your book and sell it to them. Then the Reports would show you'd had a sale. You'd get your royalties.
Q I'm located in the UK. I looked at my book on the US site, and it says my book is "not available for purchase." What's wrong? I set up my book for world-wide sales. Is this why my sales have flat-lined?
A Everyone in the UK sees this message if they look at books in the US store, and vice versa. Amazon wants you to shop in your own national Amazon instead. Americans can buy a book available on the .com site even if it is "not available for purchase" for our British comrades (and vice versa).
Q My book's rank just jumped, from 300,000 to 270,000. Does this mean that I sold 30,000 books?
A Sorry, no. You most likely sold one copy. It just means that 279,999 books are selling better than yours is. It's not worth trying to "guess" your sales from your rank. Look at the sales reports instead.
Q I asked a question about reports a couple months ago, when I was just starting out, and now I realize how silly it was. How can I delete that thread?
A First, as you've since realized, a lot of silly questions can be answered by reading the instructions. But it's easy to be confused when starting out, so don't worry about it. You can't actually get rid of a thread. You can go back in and "edit" your post, but be aware that editing will bring the thread back to the top, where others will be reminded of your early lack of comprehension. Best to let it disappear forgotten into the ether.
Q Is there any way to prove whether Amazon is actually reporting my sales?
A Have a friend who has never bought your ebook buy it. Watch them do it. Have them send you the electronic receipt. By the next day the sale should show up on your KDP reports, assuming you are looking at the right report and are the person to whom reports are sent and are logged in to the right account. By the way, a number of people have tried this over the years, and there's never been a documented case of Amazon bilking them out of their rightful sale.
Q I've read this whole thread. But now this weird glitchy thing is happening to my sales, and it doesn't seem to be covered. What should I do now?
A You need to start your own thread to ask your own question, and/or contact Amazon directly, especially if it's something specific to your case. Use the Contact link at lower right of this page. Good luck!
Hi I'm Joe from Nigeria. I put up a book on amazing for almost a month now and I haven't made a sale yet on it. Though I'm not given up. I might be a bit discouraged. I want to know how this forum can help in marketing my book.
BOOK TITLE: THE RISE AND FALL OF EIGHT AFRICAN DICTATORS
Welcome to KDP, Joe from Nigeria. I'm trying to keep this thread from getting too long, so it's best not to post new questions here (as I say above), especially since you're not asking about Reports.
But in answer to your question, search the forums for the many many threads on marketing and promotion, No one method works for everyone, as it all depends on the book and the genre. Some books, unfortunately, never sell much at all. In the Voice of the Author/Publisher forum, look at the thread titled "Why is my book not selling?" for more info on the types of books that do sell well. Good luck!
I got my letter from Hogwarts a couple months back, ie the invite into the Bookbub advertising beta program. I've seen great success, and once I finally did the math and saw that I was getting an ROI of about 100% on the first episode in my series I realized I could sink a lot more money into it. Over the past 5 days I got up to about 15 paid sales per day, and an unknown amount of KU borrows.
Monday and so far today, the sales have been almost nonexistent. I had 17 the first day, 13 the second day, 2, 15, and now 3 so far today. The thing is, my sales rank for the book didn't tank. I just took a two hour nap with those 3 sales, got up, and found my ranking had increased but no new sales indicated. I also have not seen a spike in pages read from two days ago, so I'm suspecting that with the higher numbers of sales I'm starting to see some actual glitches in the Amazon recording system.
Do those missing sales show up at the end of the month? Seems like it in the past, but now I'm seriously wondering how accurate the by the minute sales numbers are. FYI, my first book is floating between #5,000 and #10,000, so if my sales drop off that rank will fall like a rock within just a few hours.
I have always kept a chart of how many books I sell per title. I have 48 books. Your old report always included all the book titles. Where are the monthly listings of sales by titles now? All the report shows now is a basic budget.
If I use the month-to-date bar charts, I will have to check each book separately for each of the ten marketplaces, so I would have to check individual book sales 480 times.
Edited by: Katheryn Haddad on Jul 10, 2017 9:21 PM
I'm another author, not a representative of Amazon. Therefore they're not my charts.
The month-to-date report is still with us! Look for the link above the bar charts. It now opens by default with "all markets," listing, title by title, total sales for this month so far. You can toggle between different markets, so you have to check 10 times (one for each market) rather than 480 times. For each national Amazon, it lists sales title by title, just like before.
And in fact you don't have to check every national Amazon's month-to-date sales. Glance at the royalty numbers below the bar graph. If Brazil (for example) shows zero earnings, you'll know that you sold nothing there this month so far and can ignore it. Good luck!
Thanks for the detailed guide! I am just getting started with my first Kindle-based e-book and this is very helpful. I have a feeling Amazon is going to be a great place to publish my in-depth moving guides. Thanks again!
It strikes me that users new to KDP might like to know about one oddity of the "Reports" section.
If you offer a book for free, you will usually get many downloads and these will be reported in a BLUE graph. The problem is this is displayed on exactly the same scale as your "Paid Units". If (like me) you sell only a few copies of a given title in a week this means that the Blue graph will swamp out your "real" (ORANGE) sales. You simply won't see them and you will probably conclude there were none at all. The thing to do is to uncheck the little box alongside "Free Units Ordered (eBook)" - your orange sales will then be visible.
Sorry, if somebody has already suggested this. It foxed me for quite a while.