This is a request for Amazon to provide Kindle publishers with access to data that would be helpful in designing sales and promotion efforts.
Background: We (Azinet Press) are enthusiastic fans of KDP. We also sell ebooks via our own web sites although we refer Kindle users to our book pages on Amazon’s site. Via log file analysis we have access to a lot of information about our readers that access our non-Kindle books via our web sites. For example, if the reader was referred by a link on another web site or blog, we can tell how many referrals we got from each such site. We can tell how many referrals we got from search engines and even what search terms readers used to find our books. Searches for our author names, ISBNs, or book titles are an important measure of “word of mouth” interest. The referral data is invaluable in finding what readers are saying about our books and planning how best to promote them. If there are discussions of our books, we may well want to participate in some way.
Amazon is not only the most important seller of ebooks but also by far the most friendly to smaller publishers and even entry authors. An obviously considerable expense has been invested in providing facilities aiding readers in finding more obscure titles and helping less prominent authors and publishers in promoting their titles. This is in keeping with Amazon’s philosophy of “working the tail.” However, the lack of referral information makes using KDP less effective than it could be. Our sales go up one week and down another for no apparent reason. There is no way to know which of the many Amazon-internal or Amazon-external sources (including our own) is driving readers to our titles on Amazon.
The sort of data described here obviously exists within Amazon’s systems. It is easy to guess that Amazon internally uses such tools very extensively. It should not be difficult to make a publisher’s unique data available to the publisher. Such data could include referrer and search term data as well as other analytic data such as number of reads of the book page, percent of those readers that then downloaded a sample, and percent that then purchased the book.
Finally, the sales reports Amazon does provide are very primitive compared to even their otherwise weak competition. How hard would it be to provide daily/ weekly/ monthly trend data in the form of bar charts or graphs?
As a happy micro-publisher who has had surprising success with Kindle, this proposal seems rather sensible. It would be nice to know why my American sales are booming while my British and European ones remain relatively low.
CreateSpace, by the way, provides daily, weekly, and monthly numbers.
Chimayopress, in contrast, we have noticed that on the fruit brand we are selling what seems to be grossly more books in foreign venues than we would expect relative to U.S. sales given English-speaking population. Sales to non-English-speaking countries seem especially disproportionatly high. How many English-speaking readers are there in Germany or France relative to the U.S.?
I would sure like to know why.
Mark Coker thinks foreign venues are ahead in proportionate sales because they are just now discovering ebooks and that therefore there is a surge. This seems a little implausible to me.
Amazon seems to treat its foreign stores as essentially autonomous, meaning that a lot of promotional elements (forums, etc) are not the same as the ones on the U.S. store. If someone posts a nice review recommending your book on the U.S. store it is not always seen by foreigners. The odds are against someone in a much smaller market posting a nice message, rating, etc. Success in a particular store breeds more success.
By publishing a selection of ebook freebie/teasers on feedbooks.com (with a link to your Kindle edition) you will get brilliant analytics pinpointing download distribution on a world map + pie chart, daily total graphs, and even a breakdown of the kind of browser/OS used.
You will also understand just how important a market India is.
On feedbooks.com you simply cut, paste (your text) & publish. It's as simple as that. And the facts come back every day.
I just found out that KindleNationDaily has a slick public and free ebooktracker that displays salesranks of any book on a 30 day graph. In addition it can do 24 hour and monthly trend charts. It also graphs the book price trend, which allows publishers to easily assess the impact of the free promotions. Obviously if they can do it, Amazon could easily provide the same or better capability.
Apparently their server software accesses this Amazon data through the Amazon Product Advertising API, which allows Amazon's database to be queried for data about a particular ASIN. However, I have been unable to figure out how to do this from reading the published information on using the Product Advertising API. If anybody has this information, please advise.
As a new author, and especially one who focuses on explicit erotica, the kinds of information I would like to know is numbers of people who are finding my books.
If I simply search for my books using various keywords applicable to them, I am getting hundreds, sometimes thousands of results from the search. I've had 11 (paid) sales across all my titles worldwide in less than a month.
I am AMAZED that ANYONE has found my stuff.
I'd just like to know 1) how many times a my books pages is navigated to, both unique visits and total visits plus how many times the look inside features has been used.
I wouldn't even mind paying for site traffic analysis to Amazon as long as they made it reasonable.
Fineware I agree just doing a search for web links to your ASIN returns thousands of results because of the thousands of “ebookstores” out there that duplicate Amazon product information. I have not figured out a way to eliminate mechanical copies of book information to leave only original comments or original reviews of the book. I tried doing this by doing a Google search that excluded results containing an exact phrase from the book description. For example:
This search for the ASIN AND the phrase from the description returned 2050 results.
+”B005KCO8SS” +“different theories now exist”
A search for the ASIN AND NOT the phrase returned a still unusable 679 results – mostly bookstores:
+”B005KCO8SS” -“different theories now exist”
The problem is many bookstore summary pages only list the title and ASIN.