Top Menu

Best Sellers That Do Not Sell

The Author’s Dream

June 12, 2024

--- Isn’t it every author’s dream to land a top best seller? Most authors would agree. E-book publishing platforms such as Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) have made it incredibly easy to publish a book and claim “Best Seller" status. So what is the issue? 

140701 Best Sellers That Do Not Sell

Kindle Best Sellers – The Buyer’s Perspective

When you visit the Amazon Kindle store and click on the link ‘Best Sellers’ you will find two key pieces of information:

1. The book covers of the first twenty book titles in the Top 100 Best Sellers list

2. On the left sidebar, a list of the 28 main book categories, ranging from Arts & Photography alphabetically to down to Travel.

If you click on any such category on the sidebar, Amazon shows you the ‘Best Sellers’ for that category, whilst the sidebar breaks the category you just clicked down into further sub-categories.

For example, click on Sports & Outdoors, then on Rodeos and here you are – Amazon displays a list of “Best Sellers in Rodeos." Now, click on the Number 1 Best Seller. (At the time I do this it is the book “Casey Tibbs - Born to Ride” by Rusty Richards).

As a potential buyer, you may scroll down to obtain further information on the book. You read a couple of good reviews and then see under product details:

“#1 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Nonfiction > Sports > Rodeos

You tell yourself “Great, a #1 best seller,” and buy the book.

Kindle Best Sellers – The Author’s Perspective

Rusty Richards, the author of the book, was perhaps thrilled to learn about his #1 Best Seller status. But he was probably soon disheartened, since here is another important piece of information on the Amazon web page:

Snipped from an Amzaon Kindle page from Kindle Store showing the Amazon Sales Rank of a book.

“Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #130,995 Paid in Kindle Store”

So, relative to all other books in the Kindle Store, Rusty’s book ranks only number 130,995 (and this may fluctuate significantly on an hourly basis).
This sales rank translates into roughly 0.5 books per day or about 180 books a year – provided Rusty’s book maintains that Amazon Sales Rank all year. At the selling price of $9.95 and a commission level of 70%, Rusty would make around $1,300 US pear year. This does not quite make the cut if you want to get rich or at least make a good living at writing books.

How Amazon Book Categories Can Do Their Magic For The Author

We are not here to judge whether Amazon’s practice of display such books as best sellers is good or bad for the consumer. This world is about marketing and selling. And Amazon is very good at that. And there is no false claim whatsoever. The book is a bestseller on the Amazon Kindle Store in the genre “Rodeos”. Fact. And the categories help the consumer to find what he or she is looking for.

If you get a thrill from being a “No. #1 best-selling author” but just want to impress a few friends and relatives, the strategy is easy. You find a very small book category, get a book out, get a few friends to give you good reviews, do a free promotion on Amazon Kindle and do a bit of social marketing, and you will have your "Number One Best Seller."

If you are serious about making money on Kindle, you will have to know better. Can you answer the following questions?

  1. What are the expected sales per day of the book category you want to target?
  2. Is the category trending up or down?
  3. What is the degree of competition in those categories?
  4. At what price level do the books sell?
  5. What are the hot topics within the category?
  6. And when you made your selection, how does your category fare relative to all other categories?

There are many book categories or genres. On the Amazon Kindle Store:

  • 30 main book categories (29 including Foreign Titles) - Level 1
  • 426 book sub-categories - Level 2
  • 2,500+ sub-sub-categories - Level 3

One can make a lot of money in the eBook publishing market. But it is a jungle. Your book must be found and rank in a category--one that consumers are interested in. You need a map. K-lytics provides you with this map.


The monthly K-lytics PREMIUM Reports revealed, that "Sports & Outdoors > Rodeos" was the worst selling book category of all the 426 Level 2 book categories on the Amazon Kindle Store. And, course it tells you all the best selling categories (i.e. that what we are really after), too.

, ,

Share your thoughts

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply