guest post on the blog of my agent, Rachelle Gardner, about Amazon rankings. Although most authors will tell you they don't follow these, I suspect that they do. I know that I will occasionally sneak over and look to see what the rankings of my books are. I get down if the number is high (ie, there are that many other books selling more copies than mine--at least, during that time period). When the number is low, I celebrate--momentarily.
There are multiple theories about how Amazon ranks books, and since Amazon isn't saying, all we can do is conjecture. I noticed that Barnes and Noble posts rankings on their website, so I decided to ask them if they'd explain how they do it. Do they rank every hour, every day, every month? I've even heard that Amazon recalculates their rankings at different time intervals, depending on the popularity of the books. I imagined that B&N would have something equally as complex, and frankly I despaired of getting a straight answer. But I did. Here's their reply, in its entirety:
The sales rank of a book on our website indicates the popularity of that book. For example, a book with a sales rank of 1 is the number one selling book at BarnesandNoble.com. A book with a sales rank of 10 is the 10th highest-selling book on our website.
Rankings are based on sales for the last 26 weeks. If a title has had no sales online or in our stores for the past 26 weeks, there will be no sales rank listed on that product page.
There you have it. Total sales over the past half year. Simple and straightforward. Thanks Barnes and Noble.