Book Sales Ranking and Tracking Tools for Authors

  • What events to record
  • What to record
  • 8 tools for monitoring and benchmarking sales

Book Sales Ranking and Tracking Tools for Authors

Book Sales Ranking and Tracking Tools for Authors

If you want to get serious about selling books and eBooks you need to benchmark your progress by monitoring and analyzing sales. Why? Because good marketers become better marketers when they can tell you what happened to sales when they:

  • Changed the price of their book
  • Bought advertising
  • Changed the cover
  • Ran an Amazon KDP Select promotion
  • Launched a publicity campaign
  • Initiated a blog tour

That's the why, what about what to track? This depends more on what information is available from the various stores but it can include:

  • Unit sales
  • Samples downloaded
  • Borrows and free copies
  • Print vs. eBook sales
  • Changes in Amazon sales rank

The challenge begins when you have lots of books in lots of stores. Visiting each retailer website on a regular basis to collect and post the data into a spreadsheet gets time consuming real fast.

Fortunately there are a number of tools available to help make this job easier. It's probably no surprise that most focus on Amazon. For one thing they are the largest book seller but they also make it easy to collect their data by publishing software specifications for programmers to access the data (called an API). That means that the Amazon sales information is the same for all of these. But then many take it further by adding their own twists like estimating future sales, consolidating sales from other stores, charts and graphs and alerts.

Five tools for monitoring and benchmarking sales

To help you get started, I've assembled a collection of the better known tools. Keep in mind that some charge and functionality is constantly changing. You might also spend time learning from other authors and experts (this article by Morris Rosenthal is a good start). Also become familiar with and use Amazon's new Author Rank tool introduced in October 2012.

The sooner you start, the more valuable the results

Valuable historical information doesn't begin to accumulate until you register the books you want to track (including competitive books). Don't wait because you can always abandon your use of a tool. Most are free or free for a limited period of time so register and see which works best for your situation.

(Listed in alphabetical order)

  1. Amazon Author Rank/Author Central
  2. NovelRank
  3. rankforest
  4. RankTracer
  5. TrackerBox

23 thoughts on “Book Sales Ranking and Tracking Tools for Authors”

  1. Gittanjali Elizabeth Mordecai

    I am a published author. The name of my book is …. AND GOD SPOKE IN NUMBERS…. My name is Gittanjali Elizabeth Mordecai . The first edition of my book was published in 2009, the second edition in 2011-12. I know my book is selling very well internationally and yet my royalty is a pathetic sum. How can I track the sales of my book since 2009? Please guide me for I have no more than the Publishers word. My Publishers are: Jain Publishers in New Delhi.
    Thank you

  2. This matter is between you and your publisher. Many contracts have an audit clause which permits you to review records.

  3. Im a self published author and I believe the company that published my book are not being honest with me about my book sales. Nobody owns the right to my book.I want to know how can I track my sales by my Isbn number on and Barnes and Noble websites?

  4. Nikki, those numbers are reported to the company or individual authorized to publish the book. In this case Outskirts Press, it looks like. The retailers will only deal with them. I know that isn’t the answer you want to hear. If you do another book, consider setting your own publishing company. You’ll pay about the same as you did with Outskirts and you’ll own and CONTROL everything. That’s what my company specializes in but you need to leave Outskirts or start fresh for us to help you. -David

  5. I understand paperback and hardcover editions of a book have separate isbn numbers. Are sales from both editions looked at in the industry to determine how a book is selling?

  6. Is there any way to track the global sales of a book from its ISBN number? I am getting very good reviews, but the royalties are dismal…

  7. Hi!

    I found new book sales tracking app which is completely free…

    It’s called BookCore and the app is pretty good. There is also demo which does not require any registration or anything. You can just try. The website is

    Hope it’ll save some of your time and effort 🙂

  8. Hi guys
    I use for OA they not only provide sales of books but they also provide the Avg. sales rank the sales history of each book. This tool is a great help for booksellers like me who don’t have time.

  9. Thanks for the information.I’m selling books part-time on Amazon.When it comes to sourcing book it really needs some effort and time.I source books which have a good sales rank and sales history for that I have to understand the Keepa graph which is really difficult but last month I found a free statistical search engine for books . it easy to understand and saves a lot of time.Hope this will help books sellers like me.

  10. Thanks David for the great article.

    Just wanted to introduce you to Authicist ( as another option to consider. We offer a desktop and mobile app for tracking Amazon rankings, ratings and reviews.


  11. Ms. Haileigh Carlin

    My grandfather is a published author and has passed away. Me and my brother have been wondering about money now that we are older and he is about to have a child how do we find out if there is money from the book sells somewhere?


    Where to check my Royalties as an Author of The Unspoken Journey Of Life by Lerato Nthati Dorah Tsamai

  13. Catherine Estelle Walker

    As a self published author— is there a way to track sales in real-time without checking KDP every 70-90mins?

  14. Hi David,

    I sell print books, e-books and (one) audio book via KDP, Ingram-Spark, iTunes, B&N, Lulu and Kobo. Are there any websites that aggegate sales across all companies.

  15. You need to get all the books/formats in a single service for this, like at PublishDrive or Draft2Digital. A software program like Abacus might do this. Publishers use software to do this but I couldn’t tell you the names of those programs. Probably several.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *