The 'Write' Information

Readers Beware: Amazon Best Seller’s Rankings

It’s the goal of every author to make a best seller’s list. In today’s market, a book being hailed in the top ten of any major ranking list can boost sales beyond its current potential. Unfortunately, that means there are also those who seek to abuse the system.

It is no secret Amazon has a lot of categories and an equally astonishing amount of books to fill them. Competition for the top spot is fierce. When you think of a best-selling book, authors the likes of Stephen King and J.K. Rowling might come to mind. You’ll normally find their books making permanent homes in the coveted top spots and rightfully so.

So, what, if anything, should readers be aware of?

My Answer: There are so many categories on Amazon that some are as empty as a ghost town. Being a top seller in such a category isn’t a difficult feat to accomplish. That doesn’t mean these books aren’t good – they very well might be the best books you have ever read. It does, however, mean they might not be ranked as highly in a different category that has ample competition.

To put this another way:

When one enters an artistic contest and competes with thousands of others winning means that person is the best of all of them. It is an accomplishment that sets them apart from the rest of the pack – something to be proud of. It also sets a standard by which the public judges your work.

The question then becomes: If one enters a contest and is the only entrant, does winning put them on equal grounds with those who competed against others? To be put simply, the answer, in my opinion, should be NO. Still, this practice happens every day and some are happy to reap the rewards without any remorse.

Next time you see someone claiming to be on top of the Amazon Best Seller’s List, do your homework before rushing to buy the book. There are some categories that have less than 100 books in them. To make the top ten list for these sometimes only takes one sale and that can be a purchase made by the author themselves.

If you are unsure of the validity of a genre or subgenre, check the book’s ranking in other categories as well. This information should be listed on the book’s Amazon page. Above all, read the description and make sure it interests you. If the information is too vague, check out the reviews. After due diligence, if the book interests you buy it. If you were only drawn to it by the promise of being the next big thing, you may want to think twice.

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