Thursday, October 14, 2010

Barnes and Noble Book Rankings

I recently did a 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.

5 comments:

Timothy Fish said...

You might want to look at http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=525376 which is the page where Amazon.com explains their ranking system.

Carol J. Garvin said...

Interesting to know how they calculate. Thanks for the info. I think the "need to know" probably feeds off our insecurities and the desire for approval, and it's universal. I check my blog stats and comments regularly, too, to see how many have searched out my words there. We just wanna know, right? :)

Richard Mabry said...

Carol, what struck me was the straightforward way B&N calculates: sales over a half-year period, not just in the past hour. And if there are no sales, no ranking. The frequent recalculation by Amazon certainly contributes to status-watching there. (And I do it as well).

Richard Mabry said...

Carol, what struck me was the straightforward way B&N calculates: sales over a half-year period, not just in the past hour. And if there are no sales, no ranking. The frequent recalculation by Amazon certainly contributes to status-watching there. (And I do it as well).

Louis Shalako said...

When I first got on Smashwords, it was enticing to post a link on Twitter and then check 'page-views.' The rankings feed our need for feedback. To promote with no feedback would be difficult. I check my rankings fairly often.