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. Two previous incarnations of this thread averaged about 1500 views a month, so I figured it was time to update, especially with the change in how borrows are reported.
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 graph. The graph is the best place to start. It has (potentially) two different lines, a red one for sales and a green one for free giveaways.
Q But I know I've had sales! Four of my friends said they were buying my book even as we spoke, yet the graph is flat-lined! Plus I "gifted" my book to my old teacher, and my credit card was already charged.
A Unfortunately, friends and family are not always as truthful as we 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.
Q But they showed me their receipts! I know they bought my book! Why are my Reports blank?
A There are a couple of possibilities. This is the KDP Report. It will not show sales of physical books, including books you published through CreateSpace. Or did you publish through a third-party publisher, like BookBaby? In that case, the sales will show up on their Reports. You'll have to ask them 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.
Q I bought a copy of my own book yesterday, and yet that sale never showed up. But i showed up last month when I bought it, just not this time. Something must be wrong!
A If you have ever bought your own book, you won't get charged again if you download again. Therefore it doesn't count as a sale.
Q What about the lower graph on the Reports page? It has a blue line and 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 graph with the blue line shows how many pages have been read of your 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 KU customers read my book and I don't get paid anything? That's not fair!
A No. You get paid for pages-read, at the same time as you get paid 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 about half a cent for each page read.
Q I watched my friend, who is enrolled in Kindle Unlimited (KU), download my book. But the blue "borrow" line didn't budge! Why not?
A You get credited with a borrow only when the person who downloaded it reads some of it. This may happen hours, days, weeks later. The graph will start showing something only when the borrower starts reading. If they never bother reading your book at all, it will never appear on your graph.
Q I figured out, by looking under the "promote" tab on the Bookshelf, that my book 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? 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, and my cousin, who is 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 OK, it looks like I've got some sales (red line) going on the graph now. But it says the graph just shows "orders." What does that mean?
A Within an hour or so of someone buying (for money) and downloading your book, 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. It is the top report, right-hand side, 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." What does that mean?
A It means someone decided they didn't want your book after all. Amazon removed it from their Kindle and gave them their money back. Amazon allows customers to return any purchase within 7 days. 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 My grandmother, who lives in Canada, is a very truthful lady. She told me that she bought my book. Indeed, I got a blip upward on the graph later that day. But it never showed on the month-to-date report.
A The month-to-date report opens by default with US sales. Note the little pop-up menu to toggle between different national Amazons. I'm sure if you look at the Canadian month-to-date report, it will show your grandmother's purchase.
Q Yesterday, on the 31st, I had a total of 10 sales on the month-to-date report. But today, when I clicked on that report, it said, "There are no sales to report"! Where did all my sales go? There are still sales 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 I just noticed the royalty amounts down below the graphs. But they are all listed in different currencies!
A This 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 pounds or rupees or euros 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 arrive in your account. (For more on Payments, see the thread in the Payments forum, "Know Your Payments, New & Improved.")
Q Yesterday the royalty amounts listed below the graph showed that I had earned $10 in royalties. But today it was down to $8. What happened to my money?
A The royalties list, like the graph, shows only the last 30 days. 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.
Q If Amazon claims I'm making half cent a page for KU borrows, I must have made more in royalties than the amount shown below the graph!
A Yes, I'm quite sure that you have. But the royalties below the graph are only for books sold. 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 the final figures for the month?
A Every month, around the 15th, look for and download the "Prior-month" report (example, the September one comes out around October 15). 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).
Q What 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 in your local currency (assuming you have EFT). 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 understand that the Amazon.co.uk month-to-date reports show sales in the UK. But I want to know exactly where. Were the sales in Birmingham or Manchester or London or Edinburgh or where?? I want to go where I'm selling the most ebooks. While I'm at it, where do I get buyers' names and addresses? I need to knock on all their doors and tell them about my newest project.
A Amazon respects its customers' privacy. You won't get this information from them.
Q Can Amazon send me an email every time somebody 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 back at the graphs. I've had a couple of sales (red line), but I got over 20 downloads (green line) when I ran a free "promotion." How much do I get paid for those?
A You will get paid zero for a free giveaway. On the up side, however, you don't have to pay the download charges for freebies.
Q But I'm in Select! Don't I get paid if people read the pages of the free book they downloaded?
A No, sorry. 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 blue "pages-read" graph is flat-lined! What's 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're confusing 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 Where do I find my total lifetime sales figures and total lifetime earnings on KDP? It can't seem to find them anywhere.
A Sorry, Amazon doesn't provide those figures. Add up the prior-month reports each month to generate this figure yourself if you're interested.
Q I was selling a steady average of two books a day. Then, a few days ago, my sales stopped dead. Amazon must be trying to cheat me!
A It's very unlikely. Amazon has enough money without cheating us out of our rightful 35c. Sales are never steady. In the last few months 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 My ranking has improved, but no sales have appeared on the graph! I think this is clear evidence of cheating!
A Sorry, but no. If someone in KU downloads your book, it improves your rank. But you will see no blip on the graph until they start reading it--which they may never do.
Q I've got the opposite problem. A sale showed up on my month-to-date report but my ranking didn't move.
A Most authors obsess too much about ranking. Most readers don't even notice rank. Amazon's algorithms, by which they determine 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 My month to date report says "there are no sales to report." But I can't believe I didn't sell any! How could I not sell any? I read in a magazine that ebooks were selling like hotcakes!
A There are nearly 4 million ebooks on Amazon. They cannot all sell like hotcakes. Many estimate that something like half of these books will only ever sell 2, at most, in their lifetimes, including the sale to the author himself. Let's hope this isn't you.
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.
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 cheating them out of their rightful sale.
Q When I made my book free for 5 days last month as a "promotion" through Select, over 60 free copies of my book were downloaded. But ever since then, I've had zero sales. Zero! Nada! No one appears willing to pay actual actual money for my book, not even 99c. What's 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 When I went to look at Reports just now, it showed zero sales! And the site was asking about setting up an account even though I did that months ago. Then I went to my Bookshelf, and it was totally blank! What's happened to 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 What is the six-weeks royalty report supposed to show? I tried to figure it out but I only got confused.
A Don't worry about it. It confuses everyone, because it only updates once a week and weeks don't correspond well to months. It can safely be ignored. Besides, Amazon is planning to eliminate it soon.
Q I'm located in the US. I looked at my book on the UK site, and it says my book is "not available for purchase." What is going on? I set up my book for world wide sales. Is this why my UK sales have flat-lined?
A Everyone in the US sees this message if they look at books in the UK store, and vice versa. Look to the right of the "not available for purchase" announcement, and you should see a message telling 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 jumped from 300,000 to 280,000. Does this mean I sold 20,000 books?
A Alas, no. You probably sold one. It's not worth trying to "guess" your sales from your rank. Look at the sales reports instead.
Q I asked a question 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 that 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.
Q I've read this whole thread. But now this weird, glitchy thing is happening with 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!
I can say now for sure that there some sales that appear the 1st of the month from books sold the previous month, days and weeks after the book was sold.
It sometimes takes quite a while for the charges to come through and for a sale to be credited. This is especially the case if the buyer uses a debit card rather than a credit card for payment. Non-US sales can also be slower.
A while back, I had a book that took at least a week to go from "order" status (on the graph) to "sale" on the month-to-date report. It was a book that normally sells very slowly, so I was excited to see it on the red-line graph, but I had nearly given up hope of the order turning into an actual sale. And then, Voilà! It appeared on the month to date report!
When someone first starts out in indie publishing, It can be a challenge to keep track of all the details! And if you're on multiple platforms, as I am (Amazon, Kobo, iTunes, and B&N/Nook for my ebooks, plus CreateSpace and ACX for print and audio), you have to try to remember things like, "Is this the one where you have to hit save & publish again?" (On B&N-Nook, you don't hit "publish" again, just "save.")