Thursday, December 13, 2012
WHY AMAZON RECOMMENDS ONE BOOK AND NOT ANOTHER
I asked the ghost of Albert Einstein to explain Amazon's algorithms.
He said, "The mysteries of the universe you should ask me about?" Then, he walked away grumbling.
1.) THE BESTSELLER LIST:
The bestseller list is essentially a gauge of how many copies a book has sold over the last 24 hours.
It takes longer-term sales into account to a degree, but the last 24 hours are far and away the most important factor.
A book can rise and fall extremely swiftly on the bestseller list.
2.) THE POPULARITY LIST:
Quit grumbling over there, Dr. Einstein. There is a method to this list ... I think. Still, it is complicated.
The popularity list is the accumulated sales of a book’s last 30 days compared to those in its category
–but free books given away only count for roughly 10% of a paid sale,
and price is factored in as well, in that the higher your price, the more each sale counts for on the list.
Lastly, borrows aren’t counted as sales for purposes of popularity list rank. So consider carefully before enlisting in the KDP Select plan.
The higher your price, the fewer books you’ll have to sell to do well on the popularity lists.
When Amazon sends out emails along the lines of “You might enjoy these other books in X genre,” the links they include take you to the popularity list for that category of books.
3.) WHAT DOES THE CHANGE IN ALGORITHIMS MEAN FOR YOU THE AUTHOR:
$0.99 books have been pretty well massacred.
$2.99 books can still place well (particularly when they’re boosted by giveaways), but they’re at a noticeable disadvantage.
$5.99 – $12.99 looks to be the ideal range at the moment.
Affordable enough for people to buy in droves (if the quality is there), but with a high enough price to hang with all the high-priced traditionally published books.
4.) SO we up our prices to $7.99 right?
If you are Neil Gaiman or Stephen King, yes.
If you want to entice new readers to take a gamble on you, no.
$2.99 now seems the price to suggest quality, yet still be low enough to take a chance on a newbie.
5.) Mark Corker of Smashwords seems to think we are underpricing our books. He may be right:
His conclusion is that if you are going to earn the same amount of income selling a $2.99 book as a $9.99 book, you should seriously consider the $2.99 price point —
you’ll reach more readers because you’re going to sell more units at that lower price.
Those extra readers are a long-term asset that will yield dividends forever.