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Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is Amazon Sales Rank?
  • Amazon SalesRank is the ranking (lower is better) of a book on Amazon.com and is updated hourly by Amazon. NovelRank tracks these changes and notes when a book has sold.
  • How much does NovelRank cost?
  • It's completely free; no advertising either! The site is supported by author donations and affiliate income when book purchases occur from Amazon click-throughs on NovelRank.
  • Are sales estimates 100% accurate?
  • Book sales estimates are still estimates, and for books selling a low volume ( less than 100 copies a month for instance ) the estimates are most likely accurate within 1%. In the end, it is all based on sales rank changes rather than sales numbers, and NovelRank should not be used to dispute hard sales figures from publishers or Amazon.
  • Do I need an account?
  • No. You can view any single book's statistics or trigger Sales Rank tracking simply by interacting with NovelRank. An 'account' allows you to track multiple books and compare results. Accounts are created/accessed based upon your Facebook, Twitter, Google, OpenID, Yahoo, or Windows Live accounts (who needs a whole new login, right?).
  • Why is my book inactive and how do I reactivate it?
  • See this blog post on inactive books for additional information.
  • How long after a sale before it affects salesrank?
  • The change in sales rank will occur anywhere from 3 to 12 hours later. This is at the sole discretion of Amazon and may vary due to holidays, category, domain, and any number of other factors we don't know about.
  • What is an ASIN number or code?
  • ASIN is the unique product code assigned by Amazon to all of their products, much like a barcode for a product purchased in a store. For many books with a 10-digit ISBN, this is the same as the ASIN. However, it varies for Kindle Edition and for ISBN-13 books.
  • My book image is missing or wrong!
  • Images get updated by Amazon, and NovelRank checks for new images every month and updates the image on NovelRank automatically. If a month has passed and it is still not updated, simply email me with the link to your book on NovelRank and I'll fix it (usually within 24 hours).
  • What websites do you track Sales Rank on?
  • All Amazon domains (.com, .co.uk, .ca, .de, .fr, .co.jp, .it, .cn, and .es). Some other sites track BarnesandNoble.com as well, however Barnes & Noble updates are only monthly, providing little benefit (check out RankForest.com for B&N). Amazon updates hourly.
  • How many books can I track?
  • NovelRank allows you to track up to 100 books on NovelRank, as it is targeted towards small publishers and individual authors. If you need to track more than 100 ASINs, check out NovelRank Enterprise Edition.
  • Why doesn't NovelRank track Australia, Brazil, (insert domain here)?
  • Amazon controls their API, which is what NovelRank uses to gather salesrank information. If Amazon has not setup the API in those countries, NovelRank must wait till they do.
  • I think NovelRank sales data is inaccurate, how can I correct it?
  • NovelRank uses historical data to determine what constitutes 1, 2, or more sales based upon the change in SalesRank. It is a tool for showing real-time effects of marketing, type of sales (continuous, burst, etc), and not as an absolute sales number resource.
  • How do I remove my book from NovelRank?
  • Contact me at admin@novelrank.com and if you are the original author, I can remove it. However, be aware that it can be added again by anyone (I will not put blocks on tracking particular books).
  • Why did my SalesRank drop but it doesn't show as a sale?
  • Sometimes Amazon does a minor SalesRank 'correction', where SalesRank may drop slightly but will be a correction by Amazon for changing inventory, not an actual sale. This once occurred for 36 hours straight!
  • Once a book is added, is Sales Rank tracking ever ceased?
  • If a book's statistics have not been accessed in the past 2 months, it may be marked as inactive and only historical data will be available until it is activated again.
  • Can you add xxx feature?
  • I'm happy to hear about your feature requests to help make NovelRank better! You can email: admin@novelrank.com
  • How long will you hold historical data?
  • 18 months is the current plan for books that are actively listed on Amazon. After 18 months, old sales rank information may be archived and unavailable. Books that no longer have a SalesRank will be removed after 3-6 months of inactivity.
  • I didn't self-publish, can I use NovelRank?
  • Yes, of course. A common reason is if you do some of your own marketing or don't get real-time results from your publisher.
  • Are you breaking rules? Does Amazon approve of NovelRank?
  • No and Yes... NovelRank uses Amazon's API to get information from Amazon. NovelRank abides by all the terms and conditions set forth by Amazon when using their API.
  • What timezone is NovelRank data in?
  • Pacific Time. That is GMT/UTC - 8 unless it is Daylight Saving Time in the US, and then it would be GMT/UTC -7.
  • How often is Amazon Sales Rank updated?
  • NovelRank checks, by default, hourly. If there has not been a sale in a while however, the frequency will be reduced progressively to no less than once per day.
  • How can I contact the creator of NovelRank?
  • You can use facebook and twitter (Stay Informed section below) as well as email: admin@novelrank.com (Fastest)
  • What's your privacy policy?
  • If you ever provide your email address to NovelRank, it will only be used for communication related to NovelRank.com and will never be sold. Be advised that if you make an account, the books being tracked will be visible to others whom have your username and unique link to your account page.
  • Why not charge for a subscription?
  • I'm 99% sure a subscription model would generate more revenue. However, it would also add complication, create a barrier to entry, and even $2/month could be 20% of the total after-tax royalty a self-published author generates. I want to be wrong though; I want donations from appreciative authors to match a subscription model's revenue.
  • Who created NovelRank and why?
  • NovelRank was created by Mario Lurig after exploring options already available online for tracking Amazon Sales Rank. After all, I'm a PHP book author. Not being satisfied, I started playing with Amazon's API to get the statistics on-demand. After a while, I started tracking more and more for my own benefit. Finally, I sat down, decided what myself and other self-published authors would want, and outlined what would become NovelRank.com. My hope is not only to get information for my own benefit, but also allow an outlet for other authors to be more involved in the success of their book. The more successful authors that are using NovelRank are, the more they will give back in donations for what NovelRank provides.
  • Where did you get that cool black and white photo of stacked books?
  • Courtesy of the Creative Commons License and austinevan on flickr: books in a stack. There is also a small arrow icon on the site that is courtesy of Pinvoke.

Mario Lurig, through NovelRank, is a participant in the Amazon Europe S.à r.l. Associates Programme, an affiliate advertising programme designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.de, and Amazon.fr.


Are sales estimates 100% accurate?

Book sales estimates are still estimates, and for books selling a low volume ( less than 100 copies a month for instance ) the estimates are most likely accurate within 1%. In the end, it is all based on sales rank changes rather than sales numbers, and NovelRank should not be used to dispute hard sales figures from publishers or Amazon.... more FAQs