What Amazon Could Do For Authors

What Amazon Could Do For Authors

Could Amazon do more for self-published authors?

It goes without saying that Amazon has given writers a fantastic publishing platform and have removed the shackles that once bound the book publishing industry. With Kindle Direct Publishing and Createspace, Amazon allows any author or small publisher to get their books to the market easily, efficiently and economically.

At the same time, it’s a two-way street. The popularity of self-publishing and the acceptance of it by readers has given Amazon a huge chunk of the book market and has underpinned the success of the Kindle e-reader. So could Amazon do more for authors?
Amazon ebook market share

From this, logic would dictate that the more successful and saleable authors become, the more profit will be made by Amazon. If this is the case, however, Amazon could do a lot more and give more support to authors that are helping Amazon reap the profits.

Amazon is famously, or more likely, infamously known for their lack of transparency and secrecy. This attitude creates a handicap when it comes to trying to analyse book sales. For those who are self-publishing via Amazon in paperback or ebook, the amount of sales data available could best be described as minimalist to the extreme. Basically it’s just units sold and royalty received.

Without breaking their ‘code of silence‘ or privacy rules, Amazon could be a little more helpful and in doing so would assist publishers increase sales and therefore increase Amazon’s profits. While the following ideas will surely never be forthcoming, it would make for a better publishing world if Amazon helped out just a little.

Book sales by region.

Book sales originating from Amazon US come from many countries not serviced by an Amazon Store. So without this information breakdown, it is impossible to know if a book is more popular in Greece, New Caledonia, Kenya or Thailand. For US sales, having data that differentiated sales by state or city would also be an advantage. Learning that a title is more popular in New York, Chicago or Los Angeles would be very helpful book marketing data.

Returning customer book sales.

Do readers return to buy other titles by the same author? If they buy one particular title, is there a trend as to which book they buy next? This information would be invaluable in knowing which titles to promote more heavily. Even the most basic data about returning buyers would be very useful.

Book sales by time of the day.

When do people buy books? Morning afternoon or evening. Do they buy more books on the weekend? As social media plays such an important role in book marketing, this would be extremely useful information.

Free ebook promotions data.

So little data is available for a KDP Select free promotion. While a little is given during a promotion by listing the book’s ‘free bestseller‘ rating, this information disappears immediately and is lost forever. It makes this form of promotion really ‘hit and miss’ and leaves one using guess work in trying to decide when, how long and how often to use free book promotion.

A longer bestselling list.

All of Amazon’s bestseller lists are based on only one hundred books. With the number of books available now, surely one thousand would be a better list so that more books could get some extra exposure.

Easier to find sales rank data.

Unless your book is in the top one hundred in one of its genres, it’s a pain to have to use external sites to ascertain a book’s Amazon ranking for all categories a title is listed under. Surely Amazon could give this information to authors in an easy to find location.

So, what’s on your Amazon wish list that they could do for authors?

Derek Haines

Derek Haines is an Australian author, living in Switzerland.

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