The Amazon Associates program is my longest standing business relationship on the web. I've been with them so long that I remember when they sent us all T-Shirts. Mine wore out back around '98 (hint, hint). While the Associates program adds a couple hundred dollars a month to my bottom line and helps me promote my own titles on Amazon, I think my favorite part is the reports. I'm just a numbers freak, always looking for causal relationships and trying to reverse engineer systems from the outside. Just for a change, I thought I'd share my Associates sales of publishing books for the last quarter, April - June 2007. I'm leaving out titles that sold less than 5 copies, and were are a lot of them.
My top publishing book for the quarter was my own Print on Demand Book Publishing, as it better be! It sold 73 copies through Associates during the quarter, just under a copy a day, and essentially all of the sales were direct. A direct sale is where a customer clicks on my Amazon link and buys the book as a result.
My second and third best selling books of the quarter were both Aaron Shepard's. Associates logged 33 sales of Aiming at Amazon and 24 sales of Perfect Pages. In the case of Aiming, only a quarter of the sales were direct, which means most of the customers went to Amazon to see my book and then purchased Aaron's in addition, or instead. In the case of Perfect, half the sales were direct, the other half were probably split between people finding Perfect by way of my book and by way of Aiming.
Associates also logged 11 sales each of Steve Weber's The Home-Based Bookstore and Dan Poynter's Self-Publishing Manual. In the case of Weber's book, all 11 sales were direct, from my page about Amazon sales ranks. In the case of Poynter's book, all the sales were indirect, people arriving at Amazon by way of my book or one of the others, then buying the Self-Publishing Manual. Bringing up the long tail was Steve Weber's Plug Your Book with seven sales, all but one indirect, so I can't be doing a very good job plugging it.
On a lark, I went back and looked at the Associates report from my last pre-blogging quarter, April - June 2005. It turns out I only sold 26 copies of my publishing book through Associates that quarter, and I didn't sell five or more copies of any other publishing book. So I can credit the blog with tripling the Associates sales for that title and boosting publishing book sales in general. That doesn't mean that I'm selling more overall than I did a year or two ago, in fact, I know I'm selling less than last year. It just means I'm getting less bang for my force-multiplier buck on the Amazon site itself, thanks to a lot of new competition and the widespread use of on-Amazon promotion techniques I've stayed away from.