Amazon Shorts Sales and Yesterday's Sales Rank for E-books

As I continue with Amazon homecoming week, I've found I already have to revisit a post about

As I continue with Amazon homecoming week, I've found I already have to revisit a post about Amazon Shorts that I wrote 48 hours ago. I said then that nobody outside of Amazon had any idea how well or how poorly Amazon Shorts were selling because Amazon had given them their own sales ranks, ranging from 1 to 65. Today, I took a look at the Top 100 E-Books and E-Docs on Amazon and saw for the first time that the Amazon Shorts were listed right in with all the others, even though the ranking systems don't align! Ten of the top 100 E-Books and E-Docs were Amazon shorts when I just checked, including the number one seller, "Bubble after Bubble in the ongoing Bubble Boom" by Harry S. Dent. To reach #1, it passed the long-time leader in E-Books, "eBay Secrets" by Stephen Ellis White and Bryon Krug.

The "eBay Secrets" E-book has a sales rank in the low thousands, the lowest consistent rank I've ever seen for an E-book on Amazon. That means it's selling on the order of 10 copies per day. It also implies that the 64 Amazon Shorts ranked behind it are selling less than 10 copies a day. My rough estimate is it takes around two sales a day to maintain a position in the Top 100 E-books and E-Docs list, which means there's a lot of turn-over in the list, particularly outside the Top 10, since it only takes a sales burst of three or four copies to get a high rank for a couple of hours. So, if I had to take an off the top of my head guess based on these assumptions, I'd say that Amazon Shorts sales for all 65 titles combined is running at two or three hundred copies a day. Call it a total revenue stream to Amazon of about $150/day, from which they have to pay author royalties. Not a huge win for anybody.

In the meantime, Amazon has continued the Also Bought linking to E-books that I discussed on Tuesday, and introduced a new twist in the sales ranking of E-books and E-Docs. Amazon now shows a sales rank for Yesterday right below the sales rank for Today. The funny thing is that the rank for Today continues to be updated every hour, while the rank for Yesterday remains constant. I haven't figure out yet whether the rank for Yesterday is an average or just the last rank before midnight, but the important idea here is that Amazon has been working actively on their E-Books presentation, trying to make it more exciting in some way.

The truth is, I find my conclusion about Amazon Shorts sales being so low, somewhat depressing. Selling E-Books through Amazon adds around $500 a month to the bottom line of my publishing house, and I'd hate to have them give up on the concept, like Barnes& did a couple years back. Hopefully, these changes represent an ongoing investment and not a last gasp before they decide it's not worth the bother.

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