Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Amazon Sales Ranking for Kindle Books - Are Print and Kindle Versions Linked in Search Results?

My sole Kindle book at the moment, The Game of Basketball, sat alone on top of the search results for Kindle books about "coaching basketball" last week. I was excited to check sales for the week and to see I had sold 16 copies in a single day.  Sadly, it has fallen a few places to 6th, but I am still happy with how the Kindle version of the book has taken off.

How did the book get to this position so quickly in the all important Amazon search results? I am pretty sure two forces combined to create the success of the Kindle version of the book. The first factor is the introductory price of $2.99. The POD version sells for $17.95 and Amazon seldom discounts the book.

The second factor is a concentrated marketing effort in my weekly coaching newsletter.  This approach involved promoting the release of the Kindle version, the availability of FREE apps to download to various electronic devices to read Kindle books and the fact the introductory price is going to go up February 1st.

I consistently give away free content that is valuable to coaches, including excerpts of the same book when it was available in a print version only. It is my belief I have built up credibility with the readers of the newsletter via the free valuable content as well as my other coaching books being filled with useful and valuable content. I also have concluded the low price combined with a get it now or pay more later marketing promotion prompted a lot of sales in a very short period of time.

There have been some added benefits as well. The Kindle version has drawn an additional 5-star review praising the content and the dismal sales of the print version have improved. So much so that the ranking of the book in the all important search results has jumped in the past week from 120 to 18. 

I have never believed the hype that someone who buys a Kindle version will buy a paper version as well. Why would a customer do that? The point of having a Kindle for many readers is the savings over time in the purchase price of the books.

Could it be Amazon is beginning to link both Kindle sales and print sales together for the TITLE and not the version of the book? It would make sense for Amazon to do so. A popular title available for sale in both a Kindle and a print version gives the customer a choice, and Amazon is supposed to have as its driving force a customer first mindset. 

Promoting popular titles that offer a choice of how the title will be delivered makes sense. Combing the two versions sales data to further drive the popular title higher in the search results is customer friendly and would allow both Amazon and the author to take advantage of the long tail factor, thereby increasing sales.

For those of you who read this blog who are data and math inclined, please shed some light on how tracking sales of versions of a title could prove, or disprove this theory that the versions have been linked in the Amazon search results. What data would need to be tracked, for how long and how should the data be analyzed. Math minds better than mine will be required to solve this puzzle.