How you get onto that first page of 60 results really depends on how many reviews you’ve managed to rack up. Your customers won’t see those reviews at first, but Amazon will be using them to determine where your book belongs in the rankings.
And don’t forget that there are still Top 100 lists for both paid and free books. These lists will often behave completely differently than the other search list results will. So let’s get ready to see exactly what Amazon is like these days, and how it can affect your sales.
A Generic “Fantasy” Search
The important thing to remember is that reviews and/or purchases are putting these 60 books on this first page. Now, let’s take a look at the reviews first.
Reviews & Prices
- Reviews: There are 60 books listed. The book with the lowest amount of reviews only has 7 reviews while the book with the highest number of reviews has 5,713. The average number of reviews for these 60 books is 356.
- Prices: Again looking at the 60 books listed we can see that the lowest price is $0.00, which occurs on a whopping 47 of the books listed. That means that just 13 books require readers to pay, or just 21.6% of the books on that first page. Of those paid books, the lowest price is $0.99 and the highest is $7.59, for an average price of $0.76 with all the free books thrown in.
So What Does This Mean?
- Unless you have reviews you’re not going to be coming up on the first 6 pages;
- Most people looking for fantasy books will probably only look through the first 2 to 3 pages;
- Your cover is now the first thing customers see and the only thing that’ll get them interested.
Another thing to consider is that these results are listed based on ‘Relevance.’ You can choose another search option, such as “Avg. Customer Review” or “Price: Low to High” and get completely different results. The “Relevance” search is what Amazon will automatically do, however.
Many of the books that are doing well in the categories won’t be doing that well in the general genre search, which in this case is “Fantasy,” Also, some books that are performing worse in the categories will be doing better in the general search.
Why is this? I’m not sure. It doesn’t seem to be the reviews that are doing it, so it could be the downloads or sales. Still, you’d think that would cause that book to come up higher on the general search results. That’s not the case, so who knows what’s going on exactly?
Top Fantasy Books on Amazon
But how is it doing in its categories? You’d think that if this book is coming up as the top search result for “Fantasy” it’d be leading in one of its categories as well. This just isn’t the case, however.
- Fairy Tales – #30
- Sword & Sorcery – #30
- Epic – #34
So this book isn’t even cracking the top 20 in any of its particular categories. But it is still coming up as the first result when you search the much broader category of “Fantasy.”
- Sword & Sorcery – #10
- Epic – #11
So why is another book that has lower category rankings coming up before a book with higher category rankings?
Deacon has 637 reviews compared to Knight’s 76. The average review is also higher for Deacon than it is for Knight, coming in at 4.3 vs. 4.1. Both books are free so we can’t compare them there, although Knight was published more than a year later than Deacon, which doesn’t seem to have any bearing on the ranking.
I think it’s therefore safe to assume that Knights is simply getting downloaded more often than Deacon, even though Deacon is beating it out in 2 categories. Interesting, and not very helpful!
Top 100 Fantasy Books on Amazon
There are 2 main Top 100 lists: Paid and Free. Let’s take a look at each of those:
- Top 100 Paid: When you do a search of a category such as “Fantasy” and look at the Top 100 books you won’t see any that showed up in our first search. Well, that’s not quite true: the 9th book in our first search is now the 2nd book in the Top 100 Paid Search. The 1st book in the Top 100 doesn’t even show up at all in our original search results. Of the Top 5 the highest price is $14.99 and the lowest is $0.99. The highest number of reviews is 4,017 and the lowest is 78.
- Top 100 Free: Once again, none of the books we saw in our original search are showing up in the Top 100 Free, not a single one. The highest number of reviews here are 214 in the top 5 and the lowest is 32, which just happens to be the number the 1st book has.
There are a few things you can take away from the way that Amazon now lists their books. Some of them may make it easier for you to sell your own books, and some might make it difficult.
- Cover: Your cover is now more critically important than ever. When a customer does an initial search they’ll be presented with 3 things: your cover, your title, and your price. If they’re interested in one of those they’ll hover their mouse over the cover image, which will show them the number of reviews you get. Of all the things that you can do to sell your book, I think the cover is now the most important based on how the search results are now shown.
- Reviews for You: Reviews aren’t as important from a reader perspective, at first. You see, customers won’t see those reviews unless they hover over your book. If they do that they’ll see, but the cover will be the only thing to make them do that. Well, your title could pull them in too, but I don’t think it happens as often.
- Reviews for Amazon: Reviews are critically important as far as Amazon is concerned. If you don’t have any reviews, an average of at least 356 according to our analysis, you won’t even be showing up on that first page of 60 books. If you have no reviews you’ll be pushed back to page 7 at the least, and probably much further back than that.
- Price: Your price is important, although not that critical. The book with the highest number of reviews in our “Fantasy” search also had the highest price. Books priced at $0.00 were getting onto that first page of 60 results more than books that you paid for were. In fact, nearly 80% of those first 60 books were free!
- Title: Your title is important, as it’s one of the first 3 things that readers will see besides your cover and price. It’s probably most important for how it looks on your book’s cover, however.
Hopefully this analysis gives people a little bit to think about when it comes to choosing a cover, price, and title. There are many ways to sell books on Amazon, but if you study how the top books are selling, and why they’re coming up first in the search results, you’ll be in a much better position to sell your own books.