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What does it take to be #1 on Amazon.com?

Not much, apparently. I’m still trying to get my arms around the enormity of this information (thanks to  Bovril):

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This is a chart of sales by Amazon.com of Jerome Corsi’s book, Where’s the Birth Certificate? The book was reported as the #1 non-fiction bestseller at Amazon.com in April, and according to the chart from  NovelRank.com, the book pre-sold a total of only 837 copies that month! The book was released in May where it sold a whopping 2,232 copies on Amazon, making it a national bestseller (perhaps with the help of bulk orders from other retailers as reported by the NY Times). Sales ranking at Barnes & Noble lagged far behind those at Amazon.

Perhaps this explains why used copies of WTBC? were so scarce. I finally got my used copy yesterday. I never thought it would be a collector’s item.

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18 Responses to What does it take to be #1 on Amazon.com?

  1. avatar
    Dave July 28, 2011 at 3:37 pm #

    After perusing the FAQ at novelrank.com, I am left with very little confidence in their estimates.

  2. avatar
    J.Potter July 28, 2011 at 3:52 pm #

    it’s still in bookstores here, every one of them seems to have the required 2 copies on the shelf in the current events section. Way off the new release table.

    Of course it will be a “collector’s item” … for collectors of delusionalia.

  3. avatar
    Sef July 28, 2011 at 4:22 pm #

    J.Potter:
    it’s still in bookstores here, every one of them seems to have the required 2 copies on the shelf in the current events section. Way off the new release table.

    Of course it will be a “collector’s item” … for collectors of delusionalia.

    Could this have been the reason Borders couldn’t find a buyer? No one wanted to be stuck with that book?

  4. avatar
    Bovril July 28, 2011 at 4:52 pm #

    Dave,

    If you are not happy with the absolute numbers I suggest you look at the comparable numbers for other books released at, or around the same time.

    This will allow you to see how it compares in sales as an aggregate across classes and as someone who HAS done that exercise it stills shows shite sales for the book.

    The simple fact that it is now available as effectively a remaindered book for $4.95 or less at WND tells you all you need to know about its sales figures.

  5. avatar
    joyeagle July 28, 2011 at 5:06 pm #

    I got mine on the Nook … not sure that counted towards his numbers.

  6. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy July 28, 2011 at 5:35 pm #

    What concerned you in particular?

    Dave: After perusing the FAQ at novelrank.com, I am left with very little confidence in their estimates.

  7. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy July 28, 2011 at 5:48 pm #

    Nook wouldn’t count towards Amazon’s numbers, and I doubt Kindle sales would count either.

    joyeagle: I got mine on the Nook … not sure that counted towards his numbers.

  8. avatar
    J.Potter July 28, 2011 at 5:59 pm #

    Amazon maintains separate rankings for Kindle stuff. WTBC? is currently:

    #13,128 in Kindle Store

    Dr. Conspiracy:
    Nook wouldn’t count towards Amazon’s numbers, and I doubt Kindle sales would count either.

  9. avatar
    J.Potter July 28, 2011 at 6:02 pm #

    Well, there is this:

    “Book sales estimates are still estimates, and for books selling a low volume ( less than 100 copies a month for instance ) the estimates are most likely accurate within 1%. In the end, it is all based on sales rank changes rather than sales numbers, and NovelRank should not be used to dispute hard sales figures from publishers or Amazon.”

    Dr. Conspiracy:
    What concerned you in particular?

  10. avatar
    Dave July 28, 2011 at 6:11 pm #

    Dr. Conspiracy:
    What concerned you in particular?

    Here’s what I found in their FAQ. The estimates are “based on sales rank changes rather than sales numbers…” Elsewhere it says “NovelRank uses historical data to determine what constitutes 1, 2, or more sales based upon the change in SalesRank.” That’s everything I can find about how they make their estimates.

    This leaves unanswered what historical data they’re talking about, how much data that was, and most importantly how good the correlation was on the historical dataset they calibrated it with. If you think about it, there’s no fundamental reason why sales rank should correlate well with sales, since it only tells you how well books are selling relatively. I can’t rule out that it might work well anyhow, but that would have to be demonstrated.

    So I guess I’d summarize my concern as, they just want you to take their word for it that their method works.

  11. avatar
    ZixiOfIx July 28, 2011 at 6:14 pm #

    I can’t wait for the lawsuit WND has against Esquire to make it to court.

    Esquire’s attorneys have every right to ask for and to receive WND‘s records of how many books were sold to individuals and exactly how many were bulk purchased by WND or a related entity, as those numbers directly relate to whether or not there were actual damages and how extensive those damages (if they exist) might be.

    Those numbers might have been hidden forever, but for the fact that WND‘s lawsuit will force them into the open air.

  12. avatar
    J.Potter July 28, 2011 at 6:24 pm #

    … unless it’s dropped.

  13. avatar
    Bovril July 28, 2011 at 7:19 pm #

    Which is way Dave I said….

    Dave,

    If you are not happy with the absolute numbers I suggest you look at the comparable numbers for other books released at, or around the same time.

    This will allow you to see how it compares in sales as an aggregate across classes and as someone who HAS done that exercise it stills shows sh*te sales for the book.

    The simple fact that it is now available as effectively a remaindered book for $4.95 or less at WND tells you all you need to know about its sales figures.

  14. avatar
    J. Potter July 28, 2011 at 7:33 pm #

    WND started the $4.95 special at the end of May. It’s tied to a 3-issue trial of a $40 newsletter subscription. One that starts billing unless the customer takes action to cancel. A sales technique I usually see coming from satellite TV networks … and less reputable places.

  15. avatar
    Dave July 28, 2011 at 8:58 pm #

    Bovril — I am not disputing that nobody bought Corsi’s book. I just think the numbers from novelrank.com are questionable. As you say, there are plenty of other indications that Corsi’s sales were terrible.

  16. avatar
    AnotherBird July 28, 2011 at 11:43 pm #

    Dave, you started out doubting the numbers on NovelRank. NovelRank uses a very specific methodology in order to determine the number of books sold. This methodology is uses information obtained from Amazon. They do welcome “for-sure sales numbers for a particular month.” Unless, someone can produce numbers directly from Amazon, or the publisher to dispute these number then we have no choice than to accept them.

  17. avatar
    Loren July 29, 2011 at 9:58 am #

    J. Potter:
    WND started the $4.95 special at the end of May. It’s tied to a 3-issue trial of a $40 newsletter subscription. One that starts billing unless the customer takes action to cancel.

    And those three issues are not spread over three months.

    Instead, they send all three issues with the book (they’re all leftover backissues), so you have less than a month to cancel before the next issue ships and you get charged.

  18. avatar
    Dave July 29, 2011 at 10:45 pm #

    You can’t be serious when you say “we have no choice than to accept them.” We have the choice of ignoring them. Since novelrank.com gives no reason to suppose their “estimates” have any relationship to reality, that would be a good choice.

    AnotherBird:
    Dave, you started out doubting the numbers on NovelRank. NovelRank uses a very specific methodology in order to determine the number of books sold. This methodology is uses information obtained from Amazon. They do welcome “for-sure sales numbers for a particular month.” Unless, someone can produce numbers directly from Amazon, or the publisher to dispute these number then we have no choice than to accept them.